New World just took a hard turn away from a PvP slugfest, and hardcore PvPers are not happy

    
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New World just took a hard turn away from a PvP slugfest, and hardcore PvPers are not happy

Even knowing it was slated to arrive, I was still surprised last night when Amazon Game Studios dropped New World’s latest dev blog well after business hours on a Friday, the time for burying news, not for kicking off a hype cycle. But given the details of the release, maybe I shouldn’t have been.

Essentially, the blog lays out the problems the team confronted during the closed alpha of 2018 and 2019 – namely, that enough people are gankity ganking gankers when given half a chance that it made the relatively open-loot, free-for-all PvP setting a huge turn-off for many testers and devs.

“One of the problems we observed with this system was that some high level players were killing low level players, A LOT,” AGS explains. “Sometimes exclusively. This often led to solo or group griefing scenarios that created a toxic environment for many players. To be clear, this behavior was not shown by all PvP players, but enough to cause significant issues.”

But that wasn’t at all what the team was going for in its version of the MMORPG survival hybrid: “We set out to build a compelling world full of danger and opportunity that begs to be explored. The intended design was never to allow a small group of players to bully other players.”

(Here is where you sit back and marvel that a team put together by the likes of one of the richest corporations in the world somehow missed all these memos about FFA PvP and player psychology in the last 22+ years without testing it first. I mean, there are whole books about this from people who learned this lesson the hard way two decades ago and at player expense. Ah well, at least they learned before launch.)

Anyway, AGS clarifies that it’s not “[moving] away from PvP” and still wants it to have a “significant role” in New World, meaning “fair fights that are organized, skill based, and opted into by all participants” rather than “predatory behavior that relies on exploiting another player’s lack of experience, progress, readiness, or willingness” – aka PKing or ganking. The studio also says it won’t be doing PvP-only servers either, at least not at launch, since it believes the “majority of players” will find the other game changes more compelling.

“So for those folks who desire that harsh PVP environment, New World may not be your favorite game,” Amazon admits. “However, we do hope you enjoy the PVP we will offer.”

So what form will that take? Richly rewarded opt-in faction conflict and territory wars. Apparently, actual testers went nuts for the PvP War in the alpha, so Amazon’s gone all in on those 50v50 siege-centric territorial battles. The dev blog also includes a video recap and a brief entry on the game’s PvE overhaul, including some group-centric world bosses and more “curation” of points of interest and loot, though Amazon has also made clear the game will not launch with traditional WoW-style dungeons and raids.

As you can imagine, while a lot of core MMORPG players are now giving New World new consideration, the hardcore PvP community is definitely upset over the changes, declaring the game dead-on-arrival and crafting “New World of Warcraft” logos, with even some posters who claim to be anti-griefers saying the devs went too far.

Interestingly, the best and biggest discussions aren’t coming from the New World sub itself (which is mad but relatively subdued because of its size), but from the MMORPG sub, which is generally populated by old vets who know the sheep-vs-wolves drill but still wanted to see a fresh spark from a new MMO. One thread there this morning rightly points out that New World was originally marketed by the AGS studio boss as the precise type of gankbox where PvP is “the spine of the game,” a place where “you’ll probably be murdered.” Consequently, the poster argues, hardcore PvP players won’t be served, and worse, PvE players should be wary too, as it’s not clear whether Amazon has added enough PvE to serve them either.

Worth pointing out here is that the “spine of the game” quote came from then-Studio Head Patrick Gilmore, who left Amazon in April of 2019. We learned about the game revamp in May.

That same idea was echoed in our interview with Executive Producer Rich Lawrence in 2018, when he said, “New World is a PvP game at its heart,” but he was also talking up the game’s non-PvP content and “plentiful PvE encounters” even then. When we pointed out the longstanding PvP system issues in other FFA systems in old-school PvP games like EVE Online, Shadowbane, and Ultima Online, to say nothing of survival sandboxes, his answer was already giving a clear picture of what the devs were trying to pull off – that they were already struggling to mitigate all the ganking and griefing with multiple criminality features, to make fights more “fair.”

“It would be folly to say we’ve solved all problems, because we aren’t fully live yet, and some of these features are still in motion. But we have considered in our design all of the issues you have named. Through a combination of how our War mode works, the criminality feature set, sanctuary (safe zone for non criminals), and a few features still in testing, we’ve worked to remove a lot of the ‘gank’ and unfair nature of these gameplay patterns. We’ll almost certainly make some mistakes, but the mechanisms are there to exert some control, and we’ll listen to our players and modify or change out to better ones as necessary. It’s a goal of ours to make gameplay feel fair overall, even the times when you don’t win.”

Apparently, in the end, the studio decided it couldn’t make that happen – and switched gears to focus on the rest of the playerbase. Whether it’ll make anyone happy, however, is still up for debate.

Want to read a bit more about the breakdown of griefing and PvP and why their conflation is a problem in MMOs? Our PvP column Fight or Kite conveniently tackled it last week.

Source: Official site. Thanks, Ark!

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Phaserlight
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Phaserlight

For me it isn’t about majority/minority, utilitarian ‘how do we generate the most fun units’ type thing, but about game rules; as someone on a different forum recently wrote, seeing “you can’t do that” pop up on one’s screen is a great immersion-breaker.

I really like the PvP system in Vendetta Online: you can pull out your weapons anywhere, so to speak, and even fire them… but where you do this and under what circumstances will vastly affect the outcome.

The “newb island” as it were is defended by zotting lasers which do insane amounts of damage: if anyone tries to re-enter after leaving they will be mincemeat in seconds. It’s not infinite, and it’s not a “magic” barrier, but it more or less achieves the same effect.

As you go deeper into the world the rules change; if you are violent toward citizens of a given faction, that faction may ban you from its space by making you Kill-On-Sight for 24 hours, or even permanently: the consequences get worse the more the behavior is repeated.

Very far out there is lawless territory where more or less anything goes, and there are shades in between the closer you get to national “guarded-monitored” areas.

It works; it’s not about mob rule, it’s about game design. People might have every motivation under the sun, but it is possible to design a game that doesn’t have magicinvisible barriers without pitting one group of likeminded individuals against another. I’ve seen it.

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Kickstarter Donor
mysecretid

It has been my experience that hardcore PvPers — the vocal contingent who enjoy yelling at people, at least — are rarely happy with the games they play anyway.

April-Rain
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Kickstarter Donor
April-Rain

Now I am very interested in the New World! Glad amazon came to there senses on this and are now making a game for the majority and not a niche market.

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Matt Comstock

Not surprising that gankers ruin the initial PvP plans in New World. As author noted, glad they figured it out before launch. Unfortunately for Hardcore PvPers, they are simply too small a niche of gamers to cater to for big titles like New World with developers hoping to make some money off their game.

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Bannex

Vocal minority in gaming communities are hardcore pvpers. The world is littered with the carcasses of failed but great hard core pvp games while it’s overpopulated by wildly successful subpar pve games.

Pvers are king. People want fair pvp. Thems the facts.

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IronSalamander8 .

I guess this is bigger news than I would have thought. I didn’t expect this thing to be more than a flash in the pan at best but yet people are apparently yelling at each other over the PvP changes and seeing all the posts here, it’s definitely causing a bit of a squabble as Blind Pew would say.

Spar1221
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Spar1221

This game was suppose to be an Open World PVP MMO!!! This game now sounds like another generic, run of the mill rpg that does not offer anything new or fresh. New World was going to be the bleeding edge of something new and exciting, which has been missing from the modern day mmorpg world.

I was so excited for this open world pvp mmo! If done right this game had so much potential to be great! Has anyone every played Darktide on Asheron’s Call?! Was a lot of fun! or a more obscure unknown game The Fourth Coming by Vircom (which is still alive and kicking) Had/has open world PVP, there were non-pvp zones, but the open world was dangerous… Amazon Game Studios could have tweaked the PVP system a bit, its Alpha testing right?! Get your feed back and rework the PVP system…but to completely remove pvp from the open world concept! It is a completely different game now!

Everyone who says they “Like the reversal” or “they did the right thing” … crying over the game because it was a gank fest… Bro/Sis/It (including all 52 genders you may identify with) You Serious?! You are the problem!!! It was suppose to be hard core experience, was advertised as a cruel harsh world…an evil world! … Let players PK and Gank each other…Because over time… it will evolve and those people who were ganked and PKed would grow stronger… and they could work on protecting new comers, if they wished… and you could have a guild of players who went after PKers. A whole society/cultural could have been birthed from this game where people role played, and it could have been an exciting adrenaline rush of a game.

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Joe Seabreeze

It’s all about the implementation, not the players. Were all these devs born under a rock? Geeze! They talk as if they’ve never played an mmorpg in their lives!

PvP should always be open, but should have tradeoffs. How many more years do we have to say this?

There’s no wonder why the genre has been tanking

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Chosenxeno .

People are gonna whine but outside of all that bleeding heart carebear corporate speak, PVE games simply do better in the West. Buuuuut PVP games are more economical because they don’t have the content demand of a PVE game(I hope they understand this).

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SirPufnstuf

I really don’t see the problem. First off, it’s more satisfying as a PvP player to fight other players who actually want to fight and can give you a challenge, rather than running around and glorifying in massacring low level players who can’t put up a fight; and second, you wouldn’t have all that fodder to wade through anyway, not for long, because most of the people who prefer PvE wouldn’t play the game in the first place, or they’d quit before too long, after growing weary of being constantly butchered. At least now, given the choice, some of them might decide over time to give PvP a chance and decide they like it. (And the devs could add incentives for playing PvP, like they do in ESO.)

Also, I’ll add that even as someone who enjoys PvP, I don’t like full loot systems, so I’m personally glad that won’t be a thing. I don’t need one more frustrating grind mechanic added to the game. There’s nothing fun about having to constantly replace stolen items.

xpsync
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xpsync

Agreed, real pvp players would enjoy real pvp challenges, the biggest issue is there are gankers, these semi human low life’s you know the ones whom wait till the perfect time they can do you in, for example watch you in a fight with two mobs then when you’re about to win hanging on by a hair, then they attack, and as you mention you have the “glorifying in massacring low level players who can’t put up a fight”.

In classic world raids are the absolute most fun one can have in an mmorpg, also in classic i’m surprised at the amount of respectful players (could be becasue i’m on an rp-pvp), for example i’ve sat in Ashenvale eating and drinking and had nearly a dozen opposing faction not gank me, jump over me to scare the chit out me but, all in good fun.

Here though from everything i’ve read this sounded like a giant gank box game and payed no attention to it, glad they are taking the blade and soul route.

Spar1221
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Spar1221

You miss the point of what Open World PVP is … its not meant to be fair. This game was not advertised as fair. It was meant to be a struggle. They could have tweaked PVP a bit, but left the core of the open world PVP system in tack. Open world PVP leads to a great role-playing and gaming experience. Removing open world PVP removes what the heart of the game was.

April-Rain
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Kickstarter Donor
April-Rain

you made the point well, the unfair struggle kiddy gankfest you talk about is where the majority of people will just leave and not play, this is a numbers game.

Have a small pvp under 20 year old community with no disposable income or have a larger older pve community with money to burn.