Technology and retail giant Amazon have followed the bizarre trend of several tech companies and are attempting to break into the video game industry.
However, many of their gaming projects have been cancelled most recently being Breakaway and Crucible as well as their Lord of the Rings Online. New World aims to break that trend and be their ticket into the Massively Multiplayer Role Playing Game market.
New World is an upcoming open-world MMORPG developed by Amazon Games Orange County, Relentless Studios and Cloud 9 Games with the Alpha running for the past 10 months.
Set during the colonial period around the 1700s you are enticed with riches and mystical objects to set sail for a strange legendary island called Aeternum.
However, on your journey your ship is obliterated, you then wash up shipwrecked on a weird island, but don’t let “island” fool you, the map of New World is vast, featuring settlements, deep forests and dungeons.
After a great cinematic, you are greeted by a simple but sufficient character creation screen offering a selection of hairstyles, eye colours, facial hair tattoos and skin tones as well fixed face types.
After some brief tutorial missions, you begin exploring and will need your wits about you to collect supplies, form alliances with the local factions and discover Aeternum’s awesome secrets.
You soon discover the island is crawling with monsters and other inhabitants like the Corrupted and you find something has gone very wrong with your captain.
The island seems to possess some magical properties and has rendered you and others immortal, which sounds like it would remove much of the game’s threat, but you soon discover there are worse fates than death.
The island is fraught with dangers as well as opportunity and is locked in a constant struggle with its 3 factions, your actions can shift the balance of power.
While traversing Aeternum you discover new locations and abandoned settlements but you need to be careful as I stumbled into dangerous areas while looking for materials only to get torn apart by higher level monsters.
As an MMORPG you play simultaneously with other players and can band together, or fight against each other for resources and territory.
Unlike many RPGs, New World doesn’t have a class system where you pick classes like fighter, mage or thief. Instead, you become better at specific weapons by using them.
This weapon mastery tree leads to unlocking new moves like whirling blade attack and passive abilities like increased damage with that weapon.
Levelling up allows you to put skill points into attributes like strength, dexterity, intelligence, focus and constitution. This allows you to experiment and really customise the game to how you play as you can respec those skills if you don’t like your characters build.
New World features a deep combat system, that is more involved than most MMO’s with no click to auto-attack, single clicks function as light attacks, holding left-click unleashes a heavy attack and right-click acts as block. You can also dodge with left shift.
It feels very engaging with your position, timing, active defence all playing an important role.
You can choose between various weapons that all handle very differently like swords, shields, magic gauntlets, bow and arrows, muskets, axes and many more to add even more variety to combat.
The game has a huge emphasis on gathering resources to craft powerful weapons and armour.
Every location has heaps of materials for you to harvest like flint, bushes water etc. You can also get them from fishing, mining, quest completion and looting.
The game maintains its focus on crafting and it remains rewarding even in the late game and at higher levels, with some unique items only obtainable by skilled crafting of rare materials.
You can also gain standing in territories by defending them and completing quests in that area, this will get you better rewards.
New World features a dynamic world that players can battle over. After competing to gain influence by racing to see which group can gain the most in various PvE events like defending the town from attacks.
Then groups of players can go to war in an epic 50v50 PvP battle for control of that region and once owned you can set the taxes in that area.
Even owning a house is cleverly tied into the gameplay with a home acting as additional storage and a place to keep trophies that give your character permanent buffs.
Like all role-playing games, there is a selection of main story quests as well as smaller side missions throughout your adventure as well as PVP and PvE events to give players the opportunity to earn more experience and resources.
There are several special events like:
Expeditions are PvE dungeon-like experiences where you team up to solve puzzles, explore and fight bosses, these are a linear experience.
Invasion is a PvE mode where 50 plays stand against a siege of the corrupted, fighting waves of them and defending a settlement.
There are also PvP events like Outpost Rush which is a 20v20 battle where you race to 1000 points by capturing and defending outposts as well as scoring kills.
Most MMORPGs are “free to play” however, after some initial quick progression your progress will stagnate and you are forced to “grind” for better weapons, materials etc, but these games offer experience boosts, better weapons and armour and other enhancements for real-world money.
Unlike most MMORPGs, New World does not follow the typical “free to play” model like Guild Wars 2 and Elder Scrolls Online.
Nor does it follows the subscription model like Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft. In New World, you pay the upfront cost of the game for $39.99 with some cosmetic microtransactions available.
There is clearly the beginnings of an exciting and compelling game here. It caters to many playstyles and isn’t just geared towards PvP with a wealth of PvE events and quests to keep you occupied.
With a compelling world, engaging combat and lack of pay to win mechanics Amazon could be on to a winner if they continue to listen to its fans and continue to support New World while it finds its feet so it doesn’t suffer the same fate as Crucible.
New World game shows heaps of potential and has some great ideas and is fun to play, if the game continues to evolve it could become something really special.
The Closed Beta begins 20 July with the launch date planned for August.