New World Review by RubyRose (2022)

A no-story-spoilers review of Amazon's MMORPG New World. Originally intended as First Impressions, this turned into a full Review of the game!

In this article, we talk about our first impressions of Amazon’s upcoming MMORPG, New World. We’ll be covering the majority of the features and content the game has, reviewing it, and sharing how we think they will land in their current state, based on the 100 hours of playtime in the July Closed Beta Test period. It’s worth noting the July CBT was our first experience with New World.

Table of contents

  • Combat
    • Enemy Variety
      • Wildlife
      • The Drowned
      • The Lost
      • The Corrupted
      • Angry Earth
    • Combat Fluidity
    • Visceral Impact of Weapons
    • Additional Thoughts on Combat
  • Weapons and Balance
    • Weapon Types
    • Weapon Skills and the “Berserk Problem”
  • Story and Quests
    • Main Story Quests
    • Side Quests
    • Faction Quests
    • Town Job Boards
    • Thoughts on Quest XP
  • Exploring Aeternum
    • Default Movement Speed
    • Fast Travel
    • Camps, Houses and Inns
  • Gathering and Crafting
  • New World Review Conclusion

Combat

Starting off with Combat, as it’s a very large part of the game and influences a lot of things. In general it feels pretty good, though there’s still a lot to be desired. There’s a bit of a sluggish or less responsive feel than what I’d have liked. Weapons also seem to just lack that visceral, impactful feeling that most RPGs of this style opt for; though I have an idea as to why.

The combat itself feels a little hollow, I didn’t try much of the PvP (Player Vs Player), but from what I did try it felt better than the PvE (Player vs Environment). This makes sense as most of the PvE elements were added later, when they shifted development away from being just a PvP Sandbox to a PvX (PvP/PvE) Sandbox. Since it came later in development, it just feels behind as a result.

Enemy Variety

There’s not a very huge variety of enemies, but enough to keep things interesting. They all have pretty clear indicators of when they’re going to attack, and generally who they’re trying to hit, assuming it’s not you. They all fall into one of the four general enemy categories or factions, which change what elements are strong against them and which ones they resist.

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Wildlife

You have wildlife, which appear in both Predator and Prey variation. Predators usually being aggressive, unless you’re at least 10 levels above them like other aggressive AI. They’ll still attack on sight regardless, but their range at which they will do so drops significantly if you’re over their level. These seem mostly limited to Wolves and various Wildcats, which all share similar attacks between them. These typically offer more XP and Weapon Mastery as opposed to Skinning XP.

Prey typically will flee on sight, often being significantly faster than the player and require ranged weapons to take down. In the case or Boars and some others, they will fight back, but are fairly weak. These often are better in terms of Skinning rewards, but give much less XP.

The Drowned

Then there’s the Drowned, which are essentially drowned sailors. They appear mostly as undead and have some of the largest variety of the existing enemies. They often favor pistols and shields, but are also seen using daggers if you get into melee range. There are also some larger Berserker types that use a Great Axe or Polearm-like weapon. At later levels there’s even a grenadier-type enemy.

If there’s one thing I don’t see enough of with this faction is the frequency at which each enemy appears around a landmark. The Berserker types are very uncommon, only having maybe two or three in an entire landmark area. There’s very few instances in the open world where you can end up trying to fight a Berserker and have Pistoleers shooting at you while you fight. Those are often some of the most fun combat, because you actually have to think about more than just the enemy right in front of you.

The Lost

On top of drowned sailors, there’s also the general undead and zombie like enemies that you’ll come across which are known as the Lost. Among these types are the general melee units, Disease-inflicting Ranged enemies, and even abberations which are faster melee units that also have some ranged attacks.

These are honestly the more boring set of enemies to fight, as most of them are melee-oriented and leave a lot to be desired. Though they seem to be less common at higher levels, so it’d make sense for a common early enemy to be pretty simple.

The Corrupted

These are the main antagonistic faction of the game. They’re also another fairly diverse set of enemies with a good mix of ranged and melee units. The only real shame is that you won’t see this faction too much outside of Corruption Breaches, and when you do it’s often limited to the very basic units.

Angry Earth

This group in particular you don’t see much of until later in the game. They often tend to be a mix of the other factions’ enemies, or somewhat similar. They imitate Wildlife and the other humanoid enemies to some degree. Though I fought very little of them during my time in the beta to really say how they feel as a faction or what combat with them is really like.

Combat Fluidity

It can feel a little sluggish in combat though, especially when you’re trying to quickly swap weapons, use an ability and then swap back. There’s the odd delay that also prevents you from queuing up a weapon swap if you’re in the middle of any attack animation. Often times I found myself just sticking to one primary weapon and only really swapping to use the other weapon’s abilities to apply debuffs. I just wasn’t able to get it to react or swap fluidly enough.

As a game that does let you cancel some animations, I’d like to see some skill expression come from properly using two weapons, instead of focusing on just one. Right now though, it seems like far too much effort to try and juggle them when they barely swap when I would have liked them to.

Visceral Impact of Weapons

As for weapon impacts, there’s a visual element to it, but the enemies barely seem to react to hits, even harder hits which you’d expect would stagger them back a bit. This is likely the result of a disconnect between player feedback and how Amazon Games Studios acted on that feedback.

I’ve heard several mentions that every attack had a bit of stagger, but some weapons specifically were really strong with it. Though it really only seemed to be a problem in large scale PvP, and for new players from what I could find. Their fix seems to have made smaller scale PvP and PvE feel lack that visceral impact you’d expect from most MMOs or other RPGS that use a similar combat system.

In terms of PvE though, I can see more potential for them at least giving more ways to interrupt enemies. Currently it can feel awful to try to use an impactful or powerful ability on for any enemy hit to interrupt it. Not saying every attack should be able to, but certain hits of a Light Attack Chain or Heavy Attacks should be able, which can and should vary by weapon.

We’ve got a helpful starter guide to weapons in New World, which you should check out before you start your adventure to get yourself familiar with how each one works and which are their strong and weak sides.

Additional Thoughts on Combat

Overall, in spite of everything, the combat does still feel pretty good. Every weapon has its own style and rewards you in its own way. Hopefully they can manage to make weapons feel more impactful, at least in PvE so it can be more dynamic than soak or evade damage while praying you have some means of interrupt.

Combat definitely needs to reward more skills than just getting Backstab bonus or evading attacks. Blocking especially could use more skill expression. Like reduced incoming damage for a better timed block. If Ranged Players get Headshots, and Melee Players get Backstabs, I don’t see why Tanks couldn’t get rewarded for better blocking.

If there’s something you don’t quite understand with the game’s combat; we do have a Beginner’s Guide to Combat that can help make sense of things. It teaches the basics of combat while giving you plenty of information to help you know what to look for.

Weapons and Balance

Honestly, from what I could tell in the beta every weapon seems to have its place and uses. I won’t go as far as to assume they’re perfectly balanced, because there are a few low outliers, depending on whether you’re talking PvE or PvP. Plenty of people also think there’s outliers on the high end as well, but I think it’s a little too early to say such.

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Weapon Types

One handed weapons seem to exclusively be DPS weapons. Sword and Shield is the exception here, being more Tank than DPS; as well as maybe some off-tank Rapier or Hatchet build, or something along those lines. Regardless, they’re all capable of relatively high and consistent DPS. Though compared to two handed weapons they lack crowd control and interrupt power.

Two handed weapons you would think would be the premiere Tank options, but no, the Sword still takes that due to the more limited access to taunts . They are however great at mobbing, and offer a lot strong Area of Effect options compared to one handed weapons. They also have a fairly high amount of crowd control and interrupt power, compared to one handed weapons, which can make them excel in PvP (and some PvE situations) when used properly.

Ranged weapons are slower, long range, heavy hitting weapons that require precision to get the most out of them. Both the Bow and Musket use Ammo, which needs to be crafted. For some this can be a pain, but the ammo is made in high quantities with a small amount of fairly common resources. These weapon also tend to be more leaned towards PvP, but also can do just as well in PvE.

Magic weapons are highly versatile weapons, generally having a lot of AoE potential as well as a lot of utility for PvE and PvP alike. Magic weapons also use Mana, which often means dedicating a recovery item slot or two to mana consumables to help manage your mana pool.

Out of the two ranged options, Magic Weapons are often what I preferred. The biggest reason why is there’s more support for them in the game, thanks to Gems. Gems that convert a portion of damage of any weapon to scale with INT or FOC is what made them incredibly versatile. While Bow and Muskets could really only use melee weapons with Dex Scaling, which is all the one handed weapons and the Spear. To be clear this is still a wide variety of options it’s just not as versatile as being able to slot a gem and have a decently effective weapon.

Out of the melee weapons, One handed weapons tend to slot better into more weapon pairs. Though this fine in a lot of cases, because the heavy weapons are more effective when paired with a one handed weapon as compared to a ranged option. Though, due to gems, the can be paired with a Magic weapon and also be relatively fine.

Weapon Skills and the “Berserk Problem”

A lot of the Weapon Skills seem reasonably balanced, there are a few things that I believe to be outliers though, especially in PvP. There are a few outliers in PvE as well, though much more limited than PvP.

Many weapon skills usually have upgrades that inflict some kind of status. However in terms of PvP one of the more impactful statuses that could be desired and help balance PvP a bit more is Disease. Disease reduces incoming healing and recovery. However there’s currently only one weapon that has access to it, the Hatchet. This is also ironic as the hatchet has one of the highest self heals in the game, short of using a Life Staff. In addition to the mentioned weapons, people use a lot of recovery items in PvP, which is a huge point of contention in general.

Though in general, in terms of PvP there are weapons that have a lot of “catch power”. Or rather they excel at slowing people down or preventing them from escaping. The biggest on for this is the Great Axe, having both a range option that can hold people in place or slow them down, and the ability to pull them to you.

A lot of people like to cite certain skills and weapons sets as broken or overpowered. Though my PvP experience is minimal, I don’t think things are that unbalanced. There were plenty of vocal players, but a lot of these same players also don’t think about how to counter things, because in a beta you’re not going to really take the time to think about that.

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One skill in particular that’s constantly (and incorrectly, in my opinion) cited as a problem is the Hatchet’s Berserk Skill. Which when fully boosted with it’s upgrades and perks grants does the following things. It will cleanse of you any crowd control effects on activation, Increase your damage output by 20%, Heals your for ~10% of your Health every couple seconds, increase your Movement speed by 20%, and makes you unable to be staggered or interrupted while attacking.

At face value this sounds really overloaded, and it kind of is. However, since there’s no hit-stun or stagger on most weapon attacks, that last part of it is basically useless outside of PvE. The cleanse only works on activation and the skill doesn’t prevent other crowd control effects after, so Slows and immobilizing skills still counter the movement speed fairly well; Weakness can still counter the damage boost. The only real thing it gives that’s harder to counter is the healing. With the lack of Disease access on most weapons, your only real option is Rend, which increases your damage output.

I’m still not comfortable giving a detailed opinion on PvP, as my experience was rather limited. Everyone is going to feel differently about different things, Though even the things being called out as problems don’t seem like a problem to me. I think people need to just actively think about things more, because just rushing in, dying and claiming something is overpowered doesn’t seem like it will help anything.

Story and Quests

New World has a few bigger categories of quests that are available. Those categories are Main Story Quests , Side Quests, Faction PvE Quests, Faction PvP Quests and Town Job Board Quests. Each of these serve their own purpose, but are not all rewarded the same. Some can be much easier than others, while some can be a time consuming slog if you don’t know where things are.

Main Story Quests

Main Story Quests are the big ones that progress the story. The Story of Aeternum is fairly basic and straightforward. For a quick summary of the story, read the next paragraph. If you don’t want the vague spoilers it provides, feel free to skip it.

Your player character sails as a subordinate to a ship’s captain. This captain decides to go after a treasure that nobody has ever returned alive from setting out to find. As you near the Isle of Aeternum a supernatural storm occurs, sinking your ship and taking your crew. You soon come to find out, the same fate happened to many others; as much like them you’ve become immortal. Others weren’t as lucky, becoming the Lost or Corrupted, the primary enemies of Aeternum. It eventually becomes your mission to find and destroy the source of the corruption.

These Main Story Quests provide decent XP and get you exploring the world, or at least certain parts of it. They also unlock a few features like Camps, the Azoth Staff and Expeditions. These are all very useful things to have, as the Azoth Staff especially opens up a lot of the more interesting open world PvE content, including Expeditions.

Main Story Quests also happen to be fairly light on XP as well towards the middle stages of the game. Despite having also leveled many Gathering, Refining and Crafting Skills to 100 or higher; there’s still very huge gaps in XP that you need to grind out by other means. Most of the options to simply grind XP in New World are super limited.

Compared to many other MMORPGs, where there’s other things that can be done like dungeons and such to remedy these gaps, New World just doesn’t. While Expeditions do exist, they’re fairly inconsistent and can be tedious to run them consecutively without making a dedicated group to get as many done as possible. The only decently quick and rewarding option often being Town Job Boards, but there will be more on those in a bit.

Side Quests

Side Quests are extra missions you can take on, which can also have additional benefits, like upgrading your Camp and other small bonuses on occasion. For the most part, they are just a small bit of XP and more reason to explore otherwise less visited areas of the map.

Unfortunately, they’re often not worth doing for XP as many are a decent bit out of the way and the rewards for completing them are not high enough to bother giving them the time of day. A lot of them are also level-locked, and can’t even be started until those levels, where you’ll usually end up getting less XP and Weapon Mastery than you would fighting enemies that are a bit tougher

Faction Quests

With New World using a Faction-based PvP model, it make sense that there’s faction quests as well. The majority of their quests are repeatable for small rewards, and many encourage you to explore some areas that even Side Quests don’t. These are also split into PvE and PvP missions.

PvE Faction Missions are fairly rewarding granting both XP and Faction rewards, though time consuming as most of them will be sending you to landmarks areas that are often 1km or more away, which generally means at least 10 minutes of traveling, outside of using other less practical methods of travel, and only running missions from certain landmarks or groups of landmarks. Some will even send you into nearby expeditions as well, like Windsward often sending you into Amrine Excavation.

These Faction PvE missions are split into three Categories: Assassinate, Eliminate and Procure. While most landmarks have at least one of these mission types, there are a few that have all three like the Expedition focused ones. These are often the areas you’d want to focus on, as you can get many done at once. Going forward, every area should at least have Eliminate and Procure options, as well as a higher chance of quests to the same area appearing in the selection.

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PvP has three fairly static objectives, but what areas you need to go to depend on which territory you do them in. The main reward for these is progress on contesting a territory for your faction. In addition to that, you also get fairly good XP, from both the PvP itself and a bit from the quest; as well as the faction rewards but at a higher rate than PvE.

Town Job Boards

Finally there’s the Town Job Boards, which are a very mixed bag of objectives. It can be as simple as deliver a certain amount of materials, to procuring key items from a landmark in the territory. Starting out, there’s only three options, but once a Company takes a territory, this number is increased to twleve. However these new sets are primarily to focus on upgrading the forts and crafting stations in the territory, as well as activating certain buffs.

However, with the ease of the large majority of these missions, they often were cited as the most efficient XP source. Though, what people failed to mention is that they’re only incredibly efficient if you exploited the heck out of them. Thankfully the known exploits were patched by the end of the beta, and they’re now just an okay source of XP.

The biggest thing with these Town Job Board Quests though is that they also can provide a good amount of crafting/gathering XP, during the process of making or obtaining the required items.

The painful thing is how unbalanced some of these still are compared to other Board Quests and other quests in general. Why would anyone choose to take “Hunt X Animal” over “Craft Armor or Weapons” or “Deliver X Gather/Refined Material”? You’re more likely to have the crafting stuff on hand after awhile, and the Hunt Quests don’t even mark a general area to make use of. The reward for repeatable quests that refresh every half hour is still higher than that of Main o even Side Quest XP.

Thoughts on Quest XP

I think for these to ultimately be balanced, Main and Side quests need to be FAR more rewarding as they’re one-time only quests. When the Main Quest chain that starts at Level 30, barely gets me a level, then the following Main Quest chain after starts at level 40; that’s not a good sign. These quests should be giving you at the very least a few levels throughout their duration.

I personally think Job Boards are in a good spot as-is after the exploits were fixed, but they could also be bumped up to their previous values and still be balanced as well. Faction Quests are okay, but could also use a small bump as well.

Exploring Aeternum

Honestly, when I started I thought not having mounts or any other means of getting around faster was going to be a huge pain. It’s definitely different, but not as bad as I had originally expected. Between Camps, Inns, and Fast Traveling, there’s enough ways to get around, though they take a bit of creativity. We cover a few of those options in our Dos and Don’ts Beginner Tip Guide so people don’t miss out. However, getting from landmark to landmark can still be a time consuming ordeal.

Default Movement Speed

While the current movement speed definitely encourages going off the beaten path to both shorten travel time and be able to gather additional resources for later use, it’s also really slow to get around until you can actually start using Fast Travel and the other means of travel. Fast Traveling itself is limited to basically territory to territory, but there’s Inns and houses which can fill in some of the gaps.

It’s okay the way it is really, but without making use of the other tools, it wouldn’t be enough honestly. It be be incredibly tedious to go back and forth for a Main Story Quest, and they seem to be fond of it, having done it twice before level 40. Travel seems heavily weighted towards making use of everything to get around quickly for questing, and if you don’t it can hold you back a bit. This goes doubly so for gathering.

Fast Travel

As stated previously, Fast Travel is limited between territories as well as Spirit Shrines. You have to be in a town or at a Spirit Shrine to Fast Travel. It doesn’t have a cooldown, but rather just a scaling cost. This cost scales up in two ways, Distance and Weight. By default these values are 5 Azoth per 100 meters and 5 Azoth per 10 weight. This means early on, the most you’ll see a Fast Travel cost is roughly 200 plus any base costs. Though realistically, it’ll be 120 or less.

Once Companies and Factions start taking territories this can dramatically reduce the cost of travel. A few of the Territories have bonuses specifically for holding them, which reduce Fast Travel Costs. First Light and Windswards will end up cutting the scaling to 20% of their original values, or 1 Azoth per 100m or 10 weight. In addition to this, Cutlass Keys also has the bonus of just reducing total Fast Travel Costs by 80% which cuts down the primary costs

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The only thing that really limits Fast Travel is your faction’s ability to take and hold territories. Even at normal costs, it isn’t very costly as Azoth tend to be easy to come across. There’s multiple perks on various items that can be used to collect it quickly enough. It also has a chance to drop in small quantites off any mob in the game, in both raw form as well as Vials of Suspended Azoth, which grant 100 per use.

Camps, Houses and Inns

The last few options we’ll talk about are largely similar, the only odd one out in this group are Camps. Houses and Inns function in the exact same way, with only one minor difference.

Let’s talk about Camps first, as they’re very much the unique option here. Camps are respawn points that you can use a small amount of common resources to build. If they’re respawn points, you’re probably wondering how they can be used to move about the map. The simple answer to that is you could manually respawn.

Manually respawning came with a cost to the durability of items in your inventory. By respawning you were able to teleport to wherever you placed your camp. This had no cooldown so it could be used to get back and forth very quickly. I specifically made use of this for gathering and some Main Story Quests which had a lot of back and forth.

Houses and Inns work very similarly, offering a place you can teleport or Fast Travel to from anywhere in the world. Which is a bit more practical than the actual Fast Travel itself, since there’s no restriction on where you can use it from.

The only downside to these is that there’s a cooldown for using them. Inns specifically can only be used once per hour, even if you change which Inn you teleport to. Houses can only be teleported to for no cost once every four hours. However this timer can be reset for a relatively small amount of Azoth, which seemed to be a cost of 50, which reduced over time as the cooldown got closer.

Getting a house very early on can be a very beneficial option, as it will let you return to the territory where your house is at pretty much any time you need to. There’s not anything early on that you’d need early coin for at launch, unless your server has some crazy dedicated crafters and you can get Starmetal Tools very early. Otherwise if you’re hopping in late, those same tools are more likely to be available.

Gathering and Crafting

Gathering and Crafting play a huge part in interacting with the world. Gathering will have you out collecting raw materials. Whether it’s Stone/Ores from Mining, Hides from Skinning, Wood from Logging, or Fiber from Harvesting. Through Refining and Crafting, these all slowly build into each other even at the highest tier.

Gathering itself isn’t awful, but it is very time consuming to start out with. As you increase in skill it does get quicker, but Tools ultimately make the biggest difference. Logging especially takes a while to even level, and doesn’t really speed up nearly as much as the other skills do over time. Early mining can be bad too, but once you level it up, it’s actually reasonable unless you’re going out of your way to mine something you just unlocked.

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The refining process is can also be time consuming too at the higher end. Since each higher tier uses the tier below it for crafting, Gathering the materials yourself to craft start to take more and more time, just gathering the very basic materials. As an example the lowest tier of Leather take 4 Rawhides to make. The next tier up takes 3 of the previous tier of Leather and an extra resource. Then this continues into the next tier, where it takes 1 of the first tier Leather, 3 of the second tier Leather and so on.

However that design is very deliberate, and as much as I hate it, I know it’s not meant to be done solo. It’s meant to encourage trading while also giving new players an easier way to make some Coin. It creates a constant demand for the low tier resources, which helps everyone at all levels, not just those that have the skill level to gather it.

Crafting itself generally requires three of the four main Refining skills. Typically It’s Cloth, Leather, and Metal; or Leather, Metal and Wood. Most armor will use the former set of three, while weapons and tools use the latter set of three.

Similar to refining creating demand, since every thing you could craft will used refined materials, it further increases the demand for such things. With the heavy overlap, gathering everything to solo level all of these skills can be an absolute maddening experience. However, it’s never intended to be that way and is meant to encourage trading instead.

Eventually, Refining does get a bonus to create additional refined materials with a low chance, but it’s still a pretty low amount compared to the overall needed number of materials for crafting. It does offset a bit of the grind if you get lucky, but relying on it is not something you ever want to do.

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Crafting is eventually how most BiS items will be gotten though. There are some rare drops and quest items that could easily substitute for certain items, but most of the powerful items will typically come from schematics. Schematics in themselves are rare drops and have very specific crafting requirements to craft. Each Schematic can only be used once, so it can make these items very hard to get.

The main flaw of Gathering and Crafting is how it’s designed to drive trade. While in general it’s a good concept, for the rest of the game it does make something that’s already tedious and artificially extend it. At the very least, with the way its designed it does ensure there’s a constant demand for low tier materials and can result in not having the price absolutely plummet as low tier materials tend to do in MMOs.

New World Review Conclusion

Overall, despite the few of the more nit-picky things and personal gripes, I had a great time with the beta. As far as MMORPGs go, I haven’t had this much fun with one in a long while. Everything felt fantastic, and looked pretty great. Since I seemed to luck out when starting and not end up on a super high population server, I didn’t end up with many of the stability issues that we often be reported and fixed for other servers.

I will say the game needs improvements, but honestly with the amount of skewed feedback being generated towards certain weapons and such, I do hope they’re looking into things thoroughly and not just going purely off the feedback itself. I think if they did it’s end up resulting in a much more launch experience. Regardless of what route they go, I’m looking forward to launch and hoping they get a lot of the bugs and things fixed, everyone can have a great time with it.

We’ll be covering New World pretty extensively here, so that should help people get up and going with the game. We’ll be covering everything from Beginners guides all the way up to more advanced things. Be sure to check out our New World Category come launch, where you’ll find all these guides and more.

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