Header art by Elthar Nox
New World is the newest MMO on the block. We take a dive into the closed beta to take a look at what all the fuss is about. As I’m writing, the Beta already had 190k players – yes, you read that right. One hundred and ninety thousand concurrent players are involved in the beta phase. Suffice it to say, this game aims to be huge, so let’s see whether it’s worth the hype.
The Obligatory Choices of “Look”
Before we jump into this adventure, I want everyone to know that I am not a Meta gamer. If you’ve come to this article looking for the latest tips and hints to get a headstart in New World, check out Jurius Doctor’s upcoming article which digs far deeper into the game’s mechanics. The games storyline starts as many of these games do, with a story about a ship lost at sea and a daring captain. We first meet our avatar onboard this ship in the underdecks. Character creation is ok. I won’t go as far as to say it’s everything an RPG enthusiast is after, but it’s not bad. There are around 20 different face options, 30 or so hair types, lots of colors etc – it isn’t full body like Elder Scrolls Online, but it’s certainly better than older games like WoW or SWTOR.
So, say hello to Elthario Nox – daring swashbuckling magic user, most likely stealthy thief archer (as my Skyrim playthroughs come back to mind)! As expected, the ship is swallowed in a storm and we land on a mysterious island – mega shock. But we are thrown straight into a simple tutorial phase. The controls are quick to pick up, nothing too complex as chopping through zombie sailors becomes the theme for the introduction phase.
Chop That Wood!
Once we learn how to chop wood, collect flint, skin boars (the familiar fantasy MMO setup) we finally get off the beach and head inland to the island of Aeternum. The scenery is pretty decent, although running anything above High graphics on the Beta seems glitchy, with textures not loading at a decent pace. For context, I run Cyberpunk 2077 on Ultra with zero dramas (also I play EVE with max graphics and sounds!)
As our valiant avatar levels up, we become introduced to the menu system. There are five primary attributes that gain points as our level increases and these contribute to the primary stats of our weapon types. Each weapon can be levelled separately and there are a variety of special abilities associated with each. I haven’t quite got to grips with which weapon does the best damage, so for now we are sticking with the trusty sword/shield combo. One thing that I found frustrating early on was the second weapon you receive – a warhammer. This weapon is enormous! I’m not saying warhammers aren’t big, but in a world that is so far seemingly realistic, seeing Level 2 players run around with a novelty-sized item at the start is already immersion-breaking.
As we reach our first town, the number of players becomes clear. This is one of eight EU servers and there are servers spread throughout the world. There are hundreds of players already here. However, this is one of the starting towns and the map is vast, so I am sure everyone will disperse as I travel further inland. At around Level 5 we are still very much in the tutorial phase. As we advance in level, we can use different weapons, craft more advanced armors, and play around with the marketplace.
Three Warring Factions . . . Much Like ESO
Before departing the first town, the player is instructed to join one of the three warring factions of Aeternum: the Covenant, an order of fanatics and heretic hunters; the Syndicate, a secretive order of mystics; and the Marauders a group of land-pirates intent on creating a free world. Naturally, I joined the Marauders (yaarrrrr!). It is here we get our first shot at PvP. New World uses a flagging system to show who is eligible for PvP and who isn’t. Once you have declared that you want to take part in the Faction warfare, there are number of options available, including being able to claim territory or participate in “Outpost Rush.” But we aren’t there yet.
I ventured forth on my first PvP quest, musket and spear at the ready. I shot at a few passers by, but they were not fighting. Once I got to my objective, another player was moving through the scrub. We both paused and then suddenly engaged at range with our muskets. I tried to get closer into spear range, but my health was slowly dropping. And then it happened: my first PvP death.
Balancing Yet to Be Done
There have been many comments on the balancing of PvP on New World, with lots of streamers and other Beta users stating that ranged attacks are too powerful, leaving almost no option to get into melee. I’m sure Elthario Nox will get there eventually. In the next installment of INN’s coverage of New World we will jump deeper into the game’s features, explore some harder PvE and try to get our first PvP kill.
But at this early stage, New World looks like the real deal.