It’s been a long time coming for PC players amped for the release of Amazon’s ambitious MMO, New World. Nearly five years ago, Amazon announced their plans for an original, sprawling, and action-focused game the likes of which the old world had never seen. Now, in the midst of a global pandemic that’s only just starting to show signs of abating, Amazon is preparing to launch their closed beta ahead of the game’s full release this August. They’ve been listening to their early access players in order to tweak, revamp, and beef up their existing systems in New World, and just recently, they allowed a select group of games journalists behind the scenes to see how it’s all coming together.
The focus of that sneak preview was one of the new dungeons added to New World, a deep-diving adventure dubbed the “Armine Expedition.” This is the first of six expeditions, ie dungeons, that will be playable when New World launches, and they’ll range from entry-level, to mid-level, to endgame. You’ll need to be Level 25 for this first expedition into an ancient temple in order to discover the secrets of a lost team of researchers, and ultimately face a boss in order to earn yourself some epic loot. Read on to see how well that expedition came together, but first…
Be sure to check out the new trailer for New World that teases the adventures to come in Aeternum:
Pre-Order via Steam: https://bit.ly/3taDnud
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Join the fight for Aeternum on August 31, 2021 and discover the supernatural wonders that await around every corner. Pre-order now to join the Closed Beta on July 20th.
Learn more about New World: https://bit.ly/3xI6Ijk
Awesome trailer, right? Admittedly, it’s a lot of sizzle and little steak for the upcoming release. I was hoping to see more of the meat of the MMORPG during our behind-the-scenes peek, but what we got was a walkthrough of the Amrine Expedition and a whole lot of promises for things we couldn’t yet see. The Devs team was very excited and enthusiastic about all the work they’ve put into their title over the better part of the last year, including more PvE content, and more mid- and endgame options, including two new endgame zones, more quest variety, and an endgame mode dubbed “Outpost Rush” featuring 20v20 PvE PvP. The combat-focused feedback led to big overhauls in that system, like reducing the amount of interrupts, making combat faster and more responsive, adding combat chains with finishers, better hit-registering, revamped weapon mastery, and more.
New weapons, which they’re very excited about, include spears, rapiers, and ice gauntlets; keep in mind that New World‘s classless progression system means that your progress is tied to your weapon instead, so choose wisely and bone up on your choice of damage-dealer. Elsewhere, the crafting system has been completely overhauled and more discoverable components will be a big part of that process. Factor in additions like Achievements, Titles, Duels, Control Points, Incentives, Fast-Travel, and more, and New World certainly promises to be an MMO that truly earns its “massive” moniker.
The intro expedition, however, very much feels like your traditional entry-level dungeon. Found at the dig site of the ancient Amrine Temple, this early dungeon offers a unique challenge through environmental puzzles that will require teamwork, as well as multi-stage bosses that will test your abilities and offer a higher chance of “extremely rewarding loot” should you best them. This first expedition likely sets the template for future dungeons that have yet to be revealed, but if you’ve run MMO dungeons before, you pretty much know what you’re in for. There are, however, a couple of things that make New World‘s take on a familiar setting stand out.
While the majority of the game plays out on the surface of the island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the Amrine Expedition goes subterranean, adding a deep, dark, claustrophobic feel to the adventure. The creatures here absolutely fit that environment, from the fast and flickering ghosts, to the wingless bats known as Withered Grunts, to the rotting (and vomiting) Brutes who are among the toughest mobs to bring down. There’s also a lot of lore to be found here for players who prefer a more “archaeologist” approach to the story; most of these are visual cues that you’ll have to take your time searching for and deciphering in the context of the mission itself. Dramatic lighting and architectural cues will offer jaw-dropping reveals for players as they make their way through the ruins, but, if I’m being perfectly honest, the run-through of the expedition could have benefitted greatly from some cinematic breaks and cut-scenes to amp up the drama and solidify the story.
As for the puzzle aspect and the combat itself, at first blush, it looks pretty basic. But getting a hands-on experience reveals that different weapon sets are easier to master than others and all have a sense of weight that’s appropriate to their design, ie the slow but crushing war hammer vs the fast but chippy rapier. The puzzles themselves had a fairly narrow range, including using a named staff to activate certain portals, standing on ground switches to activate gates and draw out enemies, and learning a boss’s attack pattern so you and your party don’t get absolutely erased (which happened more often than not.) A clever addition here is that the expediton’s big boss can temporarily power up the smaller mobs, but can also consume those powered-up mobs to become even stronger himself, which is a rough way to go if you let that cycle progress.
The Amrine Expedition is just the beginning, and it certainly feels that way. The New World team is bullish on the future of their game, promising plans to continue building it out for years to come. The original lore is a huge selling point; they’re looking for ways to share it with the world beyond just the game itself. The hype over their combat system and how it works within the MMORPG setting is palpable, we just didn’t get to see a 50-person free-for-all in their system, sadly. All in all, New World looks promising (despite the fact that we console-only plebeians won’t get a port), I just hope that Amazon can deliver.
Register now for the Closed Beta taking place on July 20th, and keep an eye out for New World in earnest on August 31st. Be sure to read up on the Q&A from the event for more:
Can you talk about your combat system’s influences?
Combat style influenced by Dark Souls and other RPGs. They wanted to bring that action-y combat at scale into the MMO and are excited about the results. 1v1 combat is one thing, but a scaled-up 50v50 war is “insane but really satisfying.” Combat is grounded in reality but also features over-the-top visuals; it offers a look into the supernatural and fits the overall lore.
Are dungeons leveling experiences, or important to the endgame?
Dungeons at level 25, 35, 45, 55, as well as during Endgame. Six dungeons / expeditions are just the beginning. Skills remain relevant for roughly 8 levels before you learn new ones that take you towards endgame. They want players to get comfortable with crafting for breaches, wars and invasions, Outpost Rush, and other gameplay avenues, all testing and bettering players over time.
High-level remarks to differentiate New World from other MMOs:
Action RPG combat sets us apart, bringing a physical-based combat where your location and swing matters; you can block attacks, classless progression where your weapon drives your progression; harvesting and crafting beefed up over time; massive siege battles (war, invasion, outpost rush) combined with combat and other systems creates an all-new experience.
Setting, lore, world, and backstory is sort of an alt-history to mix the supernatural and historical aspects, giving a different and unique take on a world setting. The hybrid of action RPG combat in an MMO setting of a sandbox type world; chop down every tree, mine every boulder. You can also zen out in this game by dedicating a session once a week to go out and harvest to fill storage boxes and prep a crafting session.
Any plans to introduce the lore outside of the game itself through supporting and supplemental material?
We’re exploring different methods of delivering lore and storytelling, not just in the game but outside of it, but stay tuned
Any delays due to COVID?
Top concern from Amazon was safety, so they all started working from home. Took some time to get used to. Amazon committed to high-quality, best customer experience. Team wasn’t ready in 2020 but feels great about what they’re going to release in August and have learned how to interact with their customers, planning for years of content.
Long-term plans? 5 years out?
More. More world, more activities, more things to do, more creatures, more story. A very long story they want to tell with a lot of depth, with many ways to tell that story. They see it growing. There’s a roadmap, but it’s got some flexibility built in to work with the players to figure out how to get there.
Will high-quality visuals limit access?
Team is looking at high-end PCs, lower-end PCs, and a spectrum of tech to allow for a similar experience for all players.
More comical NPCs (like Barkimedes) that will act as quest-givers
That’s a stacked lineup from top to bottom!
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