Last week Amazon Games held a press demo and offered up an early preview of some of the latest and greatest content coming to New World leading up to launch. Having played around in New World’s beta last year, I was excited to see how the game has progressed and to get my hands on the latest content. So with launch right around the corner on August 31st and another round of closed beta beginning tomorrow, I knew it’d be interesting to see what Amazon’s been cooking up. Let’s dig in, as I got a hands-on with both the new Outpost Rush PvPvE mode and the newest dungeon expedition, The Lazarus Instrumentality.
Outpost Rush is the large-scale conquest arena New World needed
First up on the docket was spending some time playing a round of the newest PvP mode, Outpost Rush. Amazon describes this as a 20v20 instance that aims to blend PvP and PvE together for a more holistic game mode. From the studio’s angle, the wars already had the full PvP and the expeditions and invasions worked as sort of PvE content, so the team was looking at something that could fall in between. However, make no mistake: This is just a three-point capture conquest PvP map on a larger scale with some extra bells and whistles.
I’ve think I’ve laid out my opinion about conquest maps pretty directly before, but briefly, I tend to think they’re overused, matches oftentimes end up long and drawn out, and frankly I’m just bored of them. MMO players have done these a thousand times already. Now here, we’ve expanded it to 40 players. So if you got tired of seeing the same 20 players over and over in your typical 5v5 conquest matches all while waiting 10 minutes for a queue to pop, I can only imagine how much fun an Outpost Rush match plus queue are going to be.
Let’s talk a bit more about you can do in a match should you choose to queue up.
The overall scope of an Outpost Rush match appears to be a blending of strict PvP conquest maps with RvR mechanics. What I mean by that is while there are three points on the map to capture and hold, each of these points resides within a small fort. While the fort is under your team’s control, you can reinforce it and batten down the hatches by applying resources gathered throughout the map. Rather than deal with a generic “supply” like some WvW-focused games would use, here you actually apply the wood or ore resource you’ve gathered around the map to the structure. The goal is for each team to earn 1000 points, but the match does have a 45-minute timer as well. It seems safe to assume that if neither team wins before the limit is up, the one with the most points claims victory.
Now, that might be the high-level view of the game mode, but there are plenty of activities to participate in to earn your team those victory points. Of course, there is the direct effort involving PvP fighting and kills. Just by watching the score as players died, it looked to me that a kill is worth only a single point, so straight-up killing other players on its own isn’t going to win you the match. Holding one of the three capture points appears to earn your team a point every five seconds. Those are some nice passive points that will add up nicely over time, giving players good reason to upgrade and hold their points rather than simply running back and forth playing hot potato with the enemy.
So, where does the PvE element come into this game mode? Well, there actually are a number of different activities you could dedicate yourself to that aren’t directly looking for a fight, although you’d be hard-pressed not to encounter some. I touched on one of them earlier, which is simply running around chopping down trees or smashing rocks. The maps are very spacious and large, which is nice for what the developers are trying to achieve here. It’s also helpful if you’ve decided to go gathering wood or ore, since it keeps you from feeling as if there’s only the one spot to gather from such that you’re under duress the entire time. Each team’s spawn side does have a mine and a forest, which have even more resources, but they’re guarded. Each side also had a wolf nest. I didn’t have a chance to visit it, so I’m not sure precisely what the reward was. I’d venture a guess it was similar to the mine and forest, though.
Similar to some MOBAs or even fighting Svanir in Guild Wars 2’s Forest of Niflhel, this mode offers bosses around the map that will offer up some rewards when they die. For example, Baroness Hain was ghost boss that would freeze the opponent’s score when she died so that they couldn’t earn any points for a brief time (maybe as much as 3 minutes, which is kind of huge). Similar to the Baroness, another point on the map contained a corrupted portal; donating Azoth here could earn your team a summoning stone.
I mentioned the mine before, but it was guarded not by just trash mobs but by a large boss NPC. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see one of these monsters downed (believe me, I tried!), so I’m not sure whether there are direct victory points rewarded, a large amount of resources, or some other sort of buff like the Baroness. Since this one was guarding the mine, perhaps eliminating it only gave some peaceful mining.
In addition to the bosses guarding those key points, there are also skeletons and wolves roaming the map. Did I mention killing monsters also rewards you with Azoth essence? Players can spend this to unlock that summoning stone, but I assume you could also upgrade your personal gear as well.
So now that you’ve had the breakdown of everything you’ll encounter in the instance, how and why would you play it? Well, it is an endgame instance, so I think the developers expect participants to be fairly well-geared and leveled-up. The instances are server-based, and players can queue up from any of the faction leaders, which is a good thing. That means you don’t have to be in a specific zone or area to join, and you also won’t be locked out if your faction doesn’t control that territory or similar.
The “why you should play it” comes in the form of rewards. According to the developers, players who participate will receive a good amount of gold and Azoth as well as faction tokens after a match. In addition to that, there will be a unique set of gear; Amazon noted that at the end of the match, players earn a cache that can hold a piece of that unique gear specific to the Outpost Rush game mode.
I’m pretty obstinate about my PvP modes – I pen our PvP column here at MassivelyOP, after all – and I know I’m not in the majority for my preferred type. I also might be harsh on the mode in general, but that isn’t to say I didn’t have fun. It’s a well-made arena, and there are actually a lot of activities that could eat up your time while playing in Outpost Rush. The battles do feel large and intense. Due to the nature of the queue and the multiple ways to earn points and win, there shouldn’t be too much straight-up zerging like you’d see in full RvR games. And unlike its competitors, it might actually have enough activities to keep even my attention.
This map is also something that New World desperately needed. The whole war system seems too easy for large guilds to game to the point that an average player isn’t going to be able to participate, let alone enjoy it. Plus, the whole timer system for when wars can be waged is a real pain for most players too. We just want to be able to log in and play the game.
Outpost Rush does that: It’s a game mode that players can simply queue up for and participate in. If you don’t love PvP but do love those rewards, you might even be able to keep yourself occupied and be a beneficial member of the team.
The Lazarus Instrumentality expedition is a classic MMO dungeon
The other main menu feature for this press preview was running through the newest expedition map, The Lazarus Instrumentality. An expedition in New World is basically a traditional PvE MMO dungeon built for teams of five. So it’s expected that the team will bring along characters with trinity-esque, complementary skill sets.
Amazon described some lore that went with the dungeon; however, as I played through it, either I was missing the cues or it was intentionally left out, so don’t expect the lore to overwhelm you. It doesn’t really matter; I’m glad to see Amazon is attempting to build out the world further beyond the initial lore that starts the New World. If it hopes to really make this a full MMO world for both PvP and PvE players, filling that world with lore and tangible pieces is just as important as having simple fetch quests and dungeons.
An important thing for me to learn is that the expeditions aren’t locked behind factions or territory control. So as in Outpost Rush, you don’t have to worry about being locked out of an expedition just because your faction is losing the war today.
The rewards for completing the expeditions include a unique set of gear as well. Loot that drops during an expedition is dropped for each individual, which means you don’t have to worry about rolling and competing for loot with your party. In addition potentially snagging the unique gear as a drop for completing the mission, players are rewarded with dungeon-specific currency, so if you are extremely unlucky but still put in the time to play the expedition multiple times, you will still be able to buy the gear. It’s not a completely new concept, but it’s a welcome one.
The dungeon itself was fine. We ran in, fought some monsters, solved some puzzles, and fought a miniboss. The boss fight itself had a few encounter mechanics that required some wipes (and a developer explanation) to understand better. I could see this dungeon hitting the right notes with PvE players. Everything you expect to see out of a dungeon is appropriately represented. I just wish we’d been given more time with the group to delve further in and really experience the whole dungeon. I guess I’ll have something to look into this week!
Like MOP’s Bree during her hands-on a few months back, I kind of got stuck in the healer role as well. I think every point she made about the chaos of group healing in New World was right on the money. From my view, the problem with playing a healer in New World isn’t just the action vs. tab combat mechanics – it’s down to the implementation itself. You have to be paying attention the whole time you’re fighting or you aren’t going to make it.
In New World, you aren’t constantly getting drained of HP so your healer can work on topping you and everyone else up. Instead, it’s more like you’re full health, you miss a dodge or block, and suddenly you’re at 10% HP. If there are any adds or DOTs on you doing minor damage, you’re in big trouble. Also, since there are only three active abilities, if your healer burns his skills saving one player and right afterwards another misses a block and is injured, the healer is almost helpless to rescue anyone. It’s a deep flaw in the combat, and I don’t think there’s any way to “fix” the healer. Adding a swap support weapon would help, I think, but it’s just difficult to know. The fact is, the combat expects you to be on your toes paying attention, and if you mess up, you pay for it immediately. That’s fun from a single-player perspective, but as a healer in a multiplayer group setting? Not so much.
Overall, it was really well-polished and looked beautiful. Honestly, one of the more embarrassing points was when I walked off a shoddy bridge because I was too busy taking screenshots and admiring the scenery to look at the holes in the ground. Whoops.
It’s evident the team behind New World has been really plugging away and putting together a game that feels like a real MMO. Anyone who pre-orders and buys the game now will have access to the closed beta, so if you are interested in getting in there now and learning the ropes early, you still have a chance. I’d be really interested in hearing what others here think of the new Outpost Rush mode too!