Posted in New World

How fast should we be consuming New World?

As I write this, it’s been two weeks (three when you read it) since New World launched to reasonable acclaim and success. Personally, I’ve only been able to put in around four or five hours in a week on it due to other games and priorities, but honestly, I’m not crying over that. I haven’t even really left the first zone, taking my time to figure out the game systems and work on skills and experiment with weapons (I’m currently rapier/ice gauntlet, although that can always change).

What I’ve been observing, both inside and outside of the game, is the speed and intensity at which people are consuming the game. As this is one of the first big-budget MMO releases we’ve had in a long time, it has the air of a feast suddenly being rolled out to a pack of malnourished souls gnawing on the bones of yesteryear. Heads pop up, tummies growl, and suddenly it’s a pile-on as bits of food fly into the air and yells are heard to pass the butter.

[Syp pauses for a few minutes to enjoy this mental tableau. Nom nom nom.]

And far be it for me to tell you or shame you in how you play your game. Some people go hardcore — even no-life — when a highly anticipated game comes out. That’s how they’re wired, they enjoy the feast and don’t want it to end. Others are in a race to get to endgame or max out everything or reach lofty goals. Within two weeks, I’ve seen so many people at the level cap wandering around the cities, which kind of makes me want to put a sticker over my own level number. Don’t look down on me, a mere lowbie! You were once like meeee!

So while I’m cool with you playing a game hard and fast if that’s how you like it, I’m not really going to sit here and give you much consideration when you suddenly announce that you’re bored and the game is boring and there’s nothing left to do. Whenever I’ve heard people say this about New World, I get inescapable flashbacks to when my kids eat food too quickly and burp and go, “Is that it? I’m still hungry!” Son, if you’d eaten at a measured pace like a civilized creature, this would be a filling meal. As it is, your stomach is distended and you’re not satisfied.

The race and the rapid consumption of new games (or expansions) always seems counter-productive to staying interested in a game over a long haul, particularly if you’ve ignored aspects of the game in favor of getting progression tunnel vision. Again, you do you if this is your style, but I’m not going to let that become some sort of peer pressure (real or imagined) to push me along faster.

Posted in New World

What’s coming next for New World?

Progress and adventures in New World have been much slower than anticipated these past two weeks, largely due to a busy schedule, full queues, and juggling multiple games. And you know what? That’s actually totally fine for this game. Probably the worst thing that could’ve happened would be to get so sucked into it that everything else would suffer, and the second worse thing would be if it was a straight-up terrible game.

Instead, I’m having a good time when I do log in, I can slowly pursue various goals, and I don’t feel any urge or pressure to rush. It’s not like we all have to get this MMO finished because there’s a brand-new triple-A big-budget title coming out next week or anything. Sip and savor rather than gulp and then look around while belching and going, “Eh, what’s next?”

One of my big goals was to hit level 15, to be able to equip the first tier of faction gear. I managed to buy a coat with faction currency, and I really wasn’t disappointed with how it looked. Very swanky and cool all around. I also spent an evening figuring out how to get materials and then craft iron cartridges for my musket. Did that, but man, that might be more trouble than it’s worth.

My next goal is to continue to try out all of the different weapons. The rapier looks so amazing, but I’m not going to be so stubborn as to not see what else is out there. Hatchet time, anyone?

Meanwhile, the big question lurking at the back of my head is what is coming next for New World. Right now, Amazon has its hands full weathering this chaotic launch and shoring up various problems — both from people and the game itself. But sooner or later, things will calm down and the studio’s going to need to announce what features and content it’s working for the first big patch (and beyond).

This will be very telling, whenever they reveal this, because it’ll show where the team’s focus is and how it’ll be handling the growth and expansion of the game. As we talked about on the MOP Podcast last week, the general consensus among us is that we would much rather have Amazon focus on features for now, especially ones that are not working that well or are missing entirely. It’s getting a whole lot of feedback now that the game’s gone live, and that’s going to show what’s rising to the occasion and what needs to be fixed or cut.

Here’s hoping, with fingers crossed, that this won’t be a stubborn and prideful studio that is above acknowledging its faults as a novice MMO developer and being willing to go back to the drawing board to figure out the problem areas and the quality-of-life improvements that would make what is right now a good game WAY better.

Posted in New World

Is New World a totally chill MMO experience?

Thanks for asking, header! Why yes, yes it is!

I’m very glad that I didn’t place all of my interest and stock into New World last week, because I would’ve been very frustrated with the incredibly long server wait times. Instead, my attitude was that of the seasoned MMO veteran — that is, “This is typical, I’ll play if I can, and if I can’t, there are other worlds than these.”

That said, I did get in a few sessions, and the game ran great for me when I was in there. I really enjoy the North American-ish feel of the starter zone, with its forests and farms and luxurious beachfront condos (read: shipwrecks). It’s a good place to slowly run around, which is fortunate because there’s no faster way to get to where you’re going. Usually.

While New World is getting compared with ESO a lot, I definitely see a whole lot of Secret World in this, too. It’s hard not to get New England flashbacks here, and you can’t tell me that the Corrupted isn’t the Filth 2.0. But New World is its own thing, too, pulling in a lot of other game concepts and fashioning it into a remarkably chill experience.

I think this is the only way you really can engage with New World and not be frustrated. If you’re trying to advance quickly, it’s going to be way more stressful than a typical MMO. I don’t see it designed this way. Instead, you can pick objectives and work on them, gradually leveling up different skills, and smelling the roses along the way. Some of my objectives last week included figuring out how to procure cartridges for my musket, grinding out faction quests for gear, leveling up mining and woodcutting, and learning how to effectively use my rapier in combat.

To that last point, I think I’m getting a whole lot better. It really is more about positioning and timing, and I particularly enjoy using riposte to counter attacks and smack a foe backward.

I’m most eager to hear Amazon speak as to what it’s working on for the future, because while New World is good, it’s got a lot of potential that needs to be tapped — and some glaring issues to be addressed. Probably the weakest part of it, from my early experiences, is the story, which is so vapid that I can’t recall much of anything that’s happened. I feel like a soldier, blindly following the orders that show up in my journal, while thinking of the next time I can go fishing. So I hope we do hear and then see some good improvements on this and other fronts.

Posted in New World

First thoughts on New World’s first night

Yesterday was a ball of launch day craziness. Nothing unexpected — lots of excitement, huge queues — and happily, nothing gamebreaking. After sitting in a queue for a couple of hours, I was able to get in yesterday evening to enjoy a few hours of New World adventuring. And it was good!

Jumping to my overall conclusions first, I have to say that New World has solid and engaging gameplay that I can see keeping me busy for a long time to come. If I had a complaint here, it’s that there almost seems to be TOO many choices at any given moment: Regular quests, faction quests, town quests, gathering mats to level up tradeskills, fishing, crafting, rare hunting, and so on. It kind of feels like a bit of a sandbox, where you pick a direction and focus on that for a while instead of trying to Do All The Things.

So I created my swashbuckling muskateer, Syppi, and started her on her journeys into this mysterious island. I felt that the tutorial was adequate and allowed me enough space to get used to these slightly unorthodox controls. While I generally like the UI, which is clean and attractive, it took me a while to figure out some settings. I’m also not a big fan of the chat feed, as it’s not quite as easy to read and can get to be overwhelming if you don’t shut off some of the channels.

My big goal of the night was to level up through quests to the point where I could pick my faction (Syndicate) and join Belghast’s casual Greysky Expedition company. That took a few hours, but it finally happened, and I felt at that point I could throttle back and enjoy myself instead of pushing hard. I do think it’s kind of silly to keep players out of guilds from the get-go, but I understand the setup here.

Despite being action combat without any sort of target locking (oh, how I wish this game had target locking), I generally enjoyed fights. You know, as long as I was pointed in the right direction and not slicing up air while a mob sidestepped me to attack my spleen. I eventually crafted a nice rapier and was able to start leveling up that skill line. I absolutely love the rapier — the quick animations and stances are fantastic — but the flurry skill was tricky to learn. It makes my character lunge forward and do a quick series of attacks while locked into that direction, and I lost track of how many times I’d overshoot a mob or have that mob move at the last minute to avoid it.

New World is definitely heavier on the crafting side of things, so I leaned into that and made sure to slow down and gather up all the stuff I could find. Making frequent trips back to town to drop off mats is vital to not overloading one’s inventory, I found. I like how friendly to use the crafting interface is, and I made some basic weapons and food items for my expeditions.

With all of the sheer amount of gathering nodes in the world and the number of them you need to do to level up your skills, I felt that this game was kind of like Fallen Earth in that I could take forever going from point A to B while constantly gathering. So I had to limit myself — do 15 minutes of gathering, then some questing, then back to town — so as to not get sucked into a neverending well of hoovering stuff up.

The starter town I got put next to, Windsward, is fantastic. I gawked around there like a total tourist and kind of fell in love with the inn (above), which looks so dang cozy. A starter house in the town looks to set me back by 7,500 coins, so I’ve got a ways to go before affording one. That’s definitely on my list of priorities.

I mean, there’s plenty of smaller things to criticize here. The jumping is pathetic (is gravity heavier on this island or something?), the nameplates are an unreadable abomination, and I got very frustrated having to compete with others for mobs in certain faction quest areas. But so far, the good vastly outweighs the drawbacks, and I’m excited to settle in and explore this island over the fall season.

Posted in New World

It’s a whole New World for MMOs

It’s always surreal when, after waiting and waiting for something, you wake up and it’s the Day Of. That’s exactly how I felt when I rolled out of bed on Tuesday morning and saw my Twitter feed lit up with lots and lots of chatter about New World. It finally clicked in my muzzly head that this is the actual launch day. I had to sit on the toilet for a long time to ponder the importance of that moment.

It’s just been such a long time since we had a brand-new, big-budget MMORPG launch that had the attention of a whole lot of people. That was a capital-E “Event.” And I was there for it, because it felt like the old days when we had two, three, sometimes four of these major MMOs launch in a year. When people would be watching the clock to the minute until it was time to log in and snap up your character name.

It was also weird because I personally was so unprepared. It felt like a lot of people were, too, because I wasn’t alone in last-minute scrambling to settle on a server and a company (guild). I thought I had one from a few days ago, but when I went into the guild’s Discord, it was a whole lot of crude immaturity that signaled that perhaps I should look elsewhere. Frantic late-night and early-morning tweeting later, and a group of us blog and Twitter people decided to join Belghast’s super-casual server on the Minda for the Greysky Expedition company. If you’re looking, here’s the info on it (you can look me up in game as Syppi for an invite):

  • Server: Minda NA East
  • Faction: Syndicate aka Team Purple
  • Company: Greysky Expedition

Another weird layer was the fact that I was both sick and wasn’t going to skip out on a work day just to sit in a queue (the queue would come later, of course). FOMO kicked in that morning as I tried to get work done and shove out of my mind the thought that others were getting in and getting their adventures underway. Patience is never my strong suit on launch days.

While I didn’t get my name of Syp, I was able to snatch Syppi for a character name and made up my Muskateer-in-training. While the character creation options aren’t endless, I felt there was enough of them to have fun making a nice character without having to fiddle with sliders. I may have compared this to my recent journeys in Elder Scrolls Online.

We also had fun in the MOP office watching the Steam charts track the rising concurrency numbers of players + players in the queue. It was insane, and a good sign that MMOs may not be as dead of a genre as some video games media outlets like to claim. All of the servers filled up and over by early morning, and so for a lot of people wanting to play, there wasn’t anything to do other than to join in the conversation outside of the game.

I think it’s a terrific idea to offer free character transfers over the next two weeks, because no doubt it’s going to be messy until everything settles down.

Anyway, that’s all for today — hopefully tomorrow I can report actual play and adventures and all that.

Posted in New World

My New World launch plans

I’ve always done this thing where, when I’m really excited about an upcoming event but have a hard time waiting for it, put it out of my mind as much as possible. I think I’ve done admirably well with the months and weeks leading up to New World. I’ve busied myself with other projects and games. But in these last few days, it’s getting much harder to ignore it.

So I might as well give in? Just torture myself with the wanting while I can’t have it. That’s fine. When I can’t ignore the hype any longer, I go to my reliable Plan B, which is to start making plans for the first week in the game. What do I want to do? What goals would make me pleased to accomplish?

The first thing to do, and the one I’m doing right now, is hunting around for a good guild (company) to join. Since my faction will be impacted by that, I need to know this now versus later. I *really* don’t want to have to reroll just because I found a great group of folks that isn’t in my faction.

I’m not clearing out the day or anything like that — I kind of wish I could do that, but honestly, I know how launches go and would always counsel anyone to take a day off later in the week to play versus on Day One. But for me, it’ll be shoehorned into my regular gaming hours and that’ll be that.

As always, I do want to take my time and really get to know the game. Since crafting is such a big part of it, I want to get on top of that from the start and stay caught up with it, even if it means that I won’t progress in levels as fast as others. I’ll also be working toward saving up for a house, so that’s a long-term goal that requires frugality from the get-go.

I know my character will use the rapier as a main weapon, although I’m going back and forth between the idea of an ice gauntlet or a musket as a secondary. I feel I need a good ranged option, and both of those work for that. The gauntlet shares a nice stat with the rapier, but the musket fleshes out that “three musketeers” vibe. I’ll probably do the musket, but it’s a close call at this point.

In any case, I’m raring to go! It’s been a looooooong time since we had an MMORPG release of this caliber, and I’m glad it’s a game that personally interests me. I really hope it’ll go the distance, but that’s going to depend on factors far beyond my control. So I’ll enjoy it and see where it goes.

Posted in New World

65 tips and tricks to help you get a great start in New World

Now that we’re finally counting down to New World’s launch, I’ve realized just how little I know about the ins and outs of the game. So I figured I’d do a lot of research covering things players should know starting out in the game. And since I’m watching through a lot of videos on this, I also figured I’d compile a quick list of 65 tips and tricks to pass on. If you’re like me, you’d rather have a written list than having to slog through hours of videos, right? Right.

Questing and adventuring:

  1. Your primary source of XP will be questing.
  2. There are four types of quests: Main questline, side quests, faction quests, and town projects.
  3. Ignore sheep town quests. They’re too hard to find.
  4. Make sure to pick up faction quests (very important) and town projects (not as important, but nice for bonus XP) while in towns.
  5. Make sure you have a food buff active at all times. Eating rations will provide health regen and other nice effects. These have a 10-minute duration.
  6. Rested XP does accumulate in towns when you log out.
  7. The first three quests that you do every day for your faction handler will grant you bonus XP.
  8. Campsites can be placed with the “Y” key to rest, cook, craft, and resurrect.
  9. You can only pick guilds and companies based on the faction you’ve chosen. You also can’t place these in landmarks.
  10. You will choose a faction as part of the main story quest around level 8-10. It is mandatory.
  11. Enable PvP mode to get extra 5% XP while leveling. You can only activate this in towns.
  12. Higher territory standing levels get you really good XP, so focus on a single town to increase this.
  13. Pick up the little glowing blue lore documents for extra XP. XP on successive documents ramps up.
  14. There are four starter zones which should get you up to 20-25.
  15. At level 25, you’ll head from your starter zone to Brightwood. After Brightwood is Weaver’s Fen and Cutlass Keys.
  16. Corrupted portals are best done in groups.
  17. Elite zones are areas on the map with unique monsters. Faction representatives will give quests for these, and the named mobs have better-than-average gear.
  18. Trading posts (auction houses) are not linked, so use ones in higher traffic areas.
  19. Keep an eye out for supply crates and chests with extra goodies out in the game world.

Character progression:

  1. New World is a classless, skill-based game, so experiment with different weapons, builds, and armor weight tiers.
  2. Every 50 points spent in a specific attribute, you’ll unlock a perk for that track.
  3. You can respec for free before level 20.
  4. You get 3 attribute points per level (108 from leveling by level 60), and the rest of the attribute points come from gear bonuses.
  5. Each weapon mastery tree has two main options per weapon type. You’ll get 20 points to spend in these max, so you can pick one tree over the other or go hybrid. Mastery points are only gained by using the weapon in question.
  6. You’ll pick a faction at level 10. You then have to wait 120 days to change factions, so pick wisely.

Combat:

  1. There are 11 weapon types in the game right now: sword, spear, bow, fire staff, rapier, great axe, musket, life staff, hatchet, war hammer, and ice gauntlet.
  2. There is no dual wielding, daggers, pistols, halberds, or wands.
  3. Sword is the only weapon that can be paired with a shield.
  4. Dodging makes you invincible for a very short period.
  5. Combat is more about avoiding damage (blocking, dodging, etc.) and then striking back.
  6. Damage numbers are colored according to different attacks: White is normal, blue means the enemy is resisting that damage type, yellow means the enemy is weak to that damage type, and orange is a crit. This is why you should have more than one weapon to swap between.
  7. If you hit an enemy in the back, it’s an automatic crit.
  8. One option to consider is “show extra ability cooldown” in the gameplay settings tab. This will add countdown timers on the HUD next to your character so you can know when certain abilities are ready without having to look down and over at your ability bar.

Gearing and inventory:

  1. Faction gear is the best leveling gear, by and large. Buy your first set at level 15. Do trials (which are part of the main story quest) to increase faction tiers to gain access to better gear.
  2. Salvage all your stuff for repair parts. Not really worth it to sell to other players.
  3. Light armor gives you 20% bonus damage and a big dodge, medium is 10% bonus damage and a medium dodge, and heavy is no bonus damage and a small dodge. However, heavy armor does give you 15% bonus blocking. Additionally, medium and heavy armor tiers offer longer debuffs.
  4. It’s totally OK to mix-and-match armor types, although you’re probably going to want all heavy if you’re creating a tank.
  5. You get three bag slots, which allow you to increase the amount of weight you carry before becoming over-encumbered.
  6. Town storage is your bank, which allows you to offload mats and items. However, town storage sheds are NOT connected, so your stuff won’t be shared between settlements.
  7. To hide certain gear visuals, right-click on the item equipped, select “change skin,” and then change it to none or another cosmetic option.
  8. Take off your shield when you’re not tanking, as it seriously adds to your armor weight value.

Travel:

  1. There are no mounts in the game.
  2. Fast travel options: Recall to inn (free, one-hour cooldown), using Azoth to fast travel to town locations or recall shrines, or hitting “respawn” in the game menu to go to your camp or nearest settlement. This last option causes your gear to take durability damage.
  3. Fast travel Azoth costs are calculated by distance, faction ownership, and encumberance.
  4. Place camps often to make sure you don’t have a long run back after deaths.

Crafting:

  1. New World has five gathering skills, five refining skills, and seven crafting skills. A player can level all of these if he or she chooses.
  2. Specific attributes are attached to specific harvesting skills (strength and mining, for example). Higher attribute scores will speed up harvesting and even increase its yield.
  3. Crafting is not that important at the start but increases in relevance as you level to 35 and beyond.
  4. New World Map is a helpful site that lists the locations of all resources.
  5. If you want to know what a harvestable resource looks like, open up the tradeskill menu to Harvesting, and you’ll get pictures for each one.
  6. Saltpeter is in caves/underground.
  7. Hemp (for linen fibers) is found in grasslands outside of towns.
  8. Azoth is an important resource for crafting. You’ll get Azoth from the main questline, certain mobs, certain drops, or a perk on tools that give you Azoth from harvesting.
  9. Azoth can be used while crafting for a chance at rarity increase or to add a gem slot.
  10. Get fish fillets and fish oil by salvaging the fish after you catch them.
  11. While campsites do offer some crafting options, you get a wider variety of services and bonuses by going to town and using those crafting facilities.
  12. Make sure you grab all of the herbs you see (purple flowers). They’re not always that common to find.
  13. To learn recipes that you find, you have to salvage them.
  14. Secondary crafting ingredients are found in chests or on mobs. You can also use a “common material converter” to transform one mat into a different one.

Social:

  1. Guilds are called “companies,” can have up to 100 players, and are led by a “Governor.”
  2. A company only has players from a single faction.
  3. Companies can fight for and claim land.

Housing:

  1. You can have a house in any settlement. There are no conquest requirements for this.
  2. You do need to meet a minimum faction standing requirement and enough gold to buy and upkeep your abode.
  3. Housing isn’t just decorative; it provides benefits as well. Trophies provide buffs, and players can set down additional storage.
Posted in New World

New World delayed again? COME ON!

At least, that was my knee-jerk reaction to hearing last week’s news that this MMO just announced its fourth delay — and this coming shortly after the beta concluded and just weeks away from launch.

If it’s needed, it’s needed. The beta had pretty strong word-of-mouth, but there were concerns over balance and the game bricking graphics cards and some other issues. I get it. I get that you only get one first impression and that Amazon has yet to launch an actual successful game. They’ve got to be second-guessing everything over there. I’ll trust that this was a good call, just like many other MMO delays of past game launches, and hold back from raging out.

Still, on a personal level, this really stinks. Right here, right now is the perfect time of the year for an MMO to launch for me. Fall’s only going to get more busy, both in my work and with gaming. There’s Endwalker and Gundabad and Legacy of the Sith coming up, and now we’re shoving New World into this fall corridor. It’s going to be an awful lot within the last three months of the year. It’s going to be really tough to carve out time for all of them.

So yeah, ideally I would’ve loved to have New World already launch and have August and September to enjoy it properly without feeling rushed of crowded. But there’s no use crying over it now.

This means that I’ll just keep on trucking with LOTRO and FFXIV this month, with a side dish of Book of Travels and Ship of Heroes. Here’s hoping — REALLY hoping — that New World uses this extra month to get extra good and ready. Because I’m not going to brook another delay, let me tell you, and I’m going to expect it to be top shelf.

Posted in New World

Counting down to New World’s release

While I’m looking at a few months spent at Outland Summer Camp for Brave Kids, I’m sure that by the end of summer, I’ll be ready for a change of pace. That’s why it’ll be the perfect time for Amazon to release its much-delayed New World.

If I had to put my current hype level for New World on a meter, it’d be a… six? Six sounds about right. I’m excited, but in a “it’ll be nice when it comes” kind of way rather than “I MUST HAVE THIS NOW AND WILL GO ON A FISH-SLAPPING RAMPAGE TO MAKE IT HAPPEN” spree.

Part of those tempered expectations are the fact that Amazon’s yet to release any online game that it’s kept running. Plus, while I generally like the setting and theming, the whole package looks like a generic if well-rounded MMORPG. I don’t see a whole lot here that’s standing out in an innovative or exciting way.

So I expect that it’ll be a good time when it arrives, and if the actual experience exceeds those expectations, then all the better. I keep getting a bit of a Secret World vibe from the screenshots and my time in the demo, which definitely doesn’t hurt.

If Amazon does have a solid product here, it has a great opportunity to strike it big for MMO players starving for big-budget, high-profile releases. It’s not as if it’s going to be fighting off other new competitors, and that end-of-summer launch window is a historically great time for MMO releases.

As long as I get to shoot ghosts in the face with a Revolutionary War-era musket, a good part of me is going to be satisfied. And if I get to move into a cabin and put my feet on top of a bear rug in front of a roaring fireplace. I may or may not be talking about a video game at this point.

Posted in New World

New World, I’ll wait for you!

If I wanted to chart out the bouncy rollercoaster of opinion that I’ve had on Amazon’s New World since its first announcement, it would show you that my feelings toward it have been all over the place.

Initially, I was stoked to see Amazon enter the MMORPG market and bring big guns and big budget to bear on a project. I also really liked the idea of an MMO set in a fictionalized version of the Age of Discovery, giving us a blend of muskets, magic, and maces. But then I soured on the whole thing when I saw how hardcore they were pushing PvP and how ludicrously soon the studio expected to push the product out the door.

But then they delayed and decided that PvP-only wasn’t the way to go, so a complete game revamp started to happen. Syp’s mood and opinion of the project increases. Some of the dev blogs look promising (hype up) and some look painfully generic (hype down). Then Amazon does a huge delay until 2021 (major mood sinker), which is not usually a good sign for an MMORPG.

Except that in this case, it looks like it is a good sign. From reports coming in, including the no-NDA-attached test this past week, New World is actually shaping up to be a good MMO. It just needs more time to develop features and flesh out content, which is understandable considering how greatly the game’s changed in the past year.

So now in my internal rankings of MMO projects in development, New World has bubbled up near to the top. It seems like it has a lot of necessary pieces in place for a solid launch, and with another six or so months of development, this could get off on the right foot.

So yeah, New World, I’ll be waiting for you in 2021. I would love nothing more to see a big budget MMORPG launch to good reviews and an enthusiastic community, because I think a lot of us are very hungry to see just that happen.