New World, Day 2: Where Amazon’s new MMO stands on queues, concurrency, servers, and transfers

    
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It’s been almost 24 hours since the final region of New World went live, and those have been an interesting 24 hours, as anyone who saw our coverage yesterday knows. If not, then let’s get you up to speed!

Concurrency: The game saw a peak concurrency of 707,000 people yesterday afternoon – that counts everyone in the game and trying to log into the game and sitting in queues. (That peak might’ve been higher but for EU server and login troubles when the game hit primetime overseas.) At one point, almost a million people were watching the game on Twitch. Overall, the huge numbers put the game in the top spot for players on Steam yesterday, pushing past even the usual titles like DOTA. As I type this Wednesday morning (EDT), around half a million people are already logged in and playing around the world, but while queues are minimal in the Americas right now, Europe and Oceania are already suffering again. That leads us to…

Queues: They’re not calling it “Queue World” for nothing. The huge crush of people and the apparently low server capacity ensured that the majority of people trying to log in at any given time yesterday were actually waiting in a queue. The overall number of folks in each server’s queue is listed on the server selection screen, though servers each appear to have several different queues depending on the area of the server you’re trying to log into. This also means that some queues that appear short actually took a long time; it took me three hours to get through a 60-person queue into a lowbie zone last night. Our testing confirmed that once a server hit 25,000 people total in a queue, newcomers were simply errored-out. And yes, several regions did see servers with that many people in line for a single server – including Australia, which is usually neglected.

Servers: To alleviate some of those queues, Amazon announced that it would be expanding capacity for existing servers and firing up new servers, which it did last night, adding more servers in particular to US East and Australia.

Transfers: All those new servers wouldn’t do much good if you’re already rolling on existing ones, so Amazon also announced that it will be granting free transfers to everyone “in the next two weeks” – the idea is you can roll on an underpopulated server now, play, and then move to the server you really wanted later once the launch crowds have died down. MMO veterans will probably be leery of this, having lived through one or two (or 20) similar launch promises in the past, but if you haven’t gotten very far in the game and don’t need to be on a server for a specific community, it’s a solid option.

Bugs: Bug reports have been relatively minimal, apart from login crashes. Amazon did report last night that it had fixed “a few player log-in issues that caused the majority of the longer queue times in the last 18 hours.” The only major issue I’ve witnessed myself is the left-click attack bug, though of course you can see the whole list of what people have reported so far on the official forums. The juicier bugs are definitely going to make mainstream headlines; as MOP reader Megan pointed out, some folks have a reported a nasty respawn bug.

Reviews: Reviews of the game on Steam yesterday were in free-fall at one point, dropping from around 66% when I first peeked to as low as 45% during the height of the queue situation yesterday, as angry red thumbs joined in the review-bomb and blasted Amazon for its server infrastructure and launch-day woes. The overall ratio has shifted overnight, with 52% now flagged positive, though overall it’s still set to “mixed.”

And beyond: MOP’s Chris got to play through part of the midgame and endgame on a press server prior to launch, finding that experience pretty different from the newbie experience most folks got to see during the betas, so if you’re still on the fence about playing or staying, you can give that a look. In the meantime, we’re looking ahead to what the rest of Wednesday – and then the game’s first weekend – to see what else the game and its playerbase have in store.

Update, afternoon 9/29
European friendos, Amazon has heard your pleas and is adding new servers.

Oh yeah, and that 707K record from yesterday? The game is besting it now as of 2:55 p.m. EDT on Wednesday.

Update
More South America and US East servers are en route:

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Dean Greenhoe

Fun as hell but the combat is very taxing on my hand. Will have to play more before I can score it honestly.

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AGx-07_162

Rule #1: Don’t play MMOs on launch day (or week). Server

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Bruno Brito

I’ll just leave my rating of the game here. As of right now, i’m a level 14 Hatchet/GAxe Covenant member in a SA server full of Sindies.

The Good ( Merits and things i actually noticed to be cool ):

– Server stability is really good. The game is alive ( too much actually from my taste, i hate playing on BR servers ), people are doing stuff all over the world and i didn’t see a single hiccup. Overall decent.

On that note, i didn’t feel the queues. I play SA ( bonus of being a dirty brazilian monke ) and on a mediumpop server. And i only started playing today :3

– This is the BEST lifeskilling game to be launched in the last years, imo. It’s better than ESO. It’s probably better than BDO ( never played it so eh ). It’s a thousand times better than WoW. It’s better than GW2. Crafting feels good, feels rewarding, it’s a great experience, and you have fun doing it. The game does a good job of making it part of the core package. The only games that compare in crafting, are games that are no longer here or are being emulated: SWG/Fallen Earth, and some other obscure sandboxes.

– Housing. Wait and see Amazon getting buttloads of money from selling overpriced houses while all other MMOs ask themselves why they lost that opportunity.

– The fashion is actually decent, albeit there are a LOT of ugly sets.

The Bad ( Flaws and things that CAN be fixed but are a detriment to me ):

– The movement in this game is absolute garbage. Having to depend on my GAxe charge skill because you don’t get a mount, a speed boost or anything of the sort is unbelievable. This is 2021. Can devs PLEASE design their games with good traveling options? ( And no, using Azoth to fast travel doesn’t count. It’s dumb and expensive and doesn’t help when you need to travel 1.8km to a hostile spot. )

– Still on movement: The game’s implementation of the “automatic traversing” is incredibly bad. Several times my character parkour’ed a well that i was trying to take water from. You leap boulders that you’re trying to mine. It’s a good convenience because this game forces you to autorun everywhere and read a book since traveling sucks in NW, and not having the automatic traversing just hurts even more. It’s the kind of QoL that brings issues somewhere else and it just feels wonky.

– It’s the year of our Lady 20 and twenty fucking 1 and this game launched without a goddamn windowed fullscreen option. Is this a joke? Also, for some ungodly reason, New World doesn’t allow you to turn shadows off. I’m willing to bet this game would be WAY more forgiving on less potent PCs ( something Amazon should want to, since it’s a potentially bigger playerbase ) if you were allowed to customize it way more. Several spelleffects aren’t able to be turned off, for instance.

The optimization for this game feels all over the place, and these graphical design issues only reek of rushed. There was a Smite pro that was alerting people on his twitter that NW was having issues on 3090s. So, there’s a chance that we still got that going on.

– Related to the last point: Game is kinda buggy. I switched my game to windowed then to fullscreen and the fullscreen never restored. I’ve seen mobs spawning inside boulders and aggroing but never leaving. There are reddit reports of the camera unlocking from your character and becoming a free-vision camera, which makes dungeons impossible. Again: Reeks of rushed.

The Ugly ( Pet peeves and design issues i have that probably won’t be changed ):

– So, i told you that the fashion is good. Well, that’s subjective but i like it. I’m actually a big sucker for conquistador aesthetics ( i know, i know ). Well, it’s too bad then because this game’s character customization is complete dogshit. It’s worse than SWTOR.

IT’S WORSE THAN SWTOR.

With all the flaws of SWTOR, the game is literally a upgrade character-customization-wise compared to NW. NW lacks size sliders, you can’t customize your face beyond some presets, the presets look godawful, your characters hair doesn’t fit with the face styles. It’s the same issue with ESO where the world looks beautiful and the characters look like a trainwreck. In SWTOR you can change sizes, you have way more customizations and at least all humans ( because SWTOR makes all races human just changing their colors ), you have some tentacles and red eyes, and not even that you can get in New World. I can’t make a fat priest or a androginous character.

– I honestly don’t like the visual style of the game. The world is fine and looks good but feels a bit sterile. The characters as i said are a really weak point. For some reason, New World feels like it launched 5 years dated, and it looks like it aged like spoiled milk inside a rusty can in Pripyat. I really ask myself why MMO devs are betting so much on realist graphics when MMOs are better when they are more accessible ( which means the cutting edge becomes prohibitive ). New World would feel INCREDIBLE if it had a specific, personalized/customized artstyle like Wildstar or WoW. It wouldn’t age, for instance. Hell, get together with the mouse and make the entire game on the Pocahontas aesthetics. I don’t care. Just make it look good.

– The quest design is bland and boring. This game is solid but it’s not a breakthrough by any means, and i fear that while the lifeskilling is godly awesome, it’ll feel detached from the rest of the game. This game seems like it’s crying to be a sandbox, and Amazon will make it a themepark out of comfort and fear of the unknown.

– The combat is…it’s not to my taste. I know people like it, i just don’t. It’s delayed, your momentum is erratic, your movement is weak, the game is heavily based on opportunity strikes but since everything is slow and easily missable, it just feels clunky. The animations are better than ESO but that’s a really low bar to clear. The combat is clearly made for tactical PvP, a relic of when the game would be a PvP title, and i don’t think it translated well to PvE, where you simple auto 2x, block/dodge, auto 2x. On that note, also, please stop making all MMOs with mandatory weaponswap. God.

– I have this feeling that Amazon will monetize the crap out of Azoth and i don’t like it.

– Why is a B2P game only allowing me 2 character slots? A expensive one at that.

—————————

Albeit my issues with the game are way more numerous than my likes, i actually am enjoying myself. The game feels the best when you walk around your settlement collecting mats to craft stuff. It’s relaxing and enjoyable. Must be great with a guild, which is why i’m considering rolling on a NA server to play with the MOP peeps.

I don’t believe in number ratings but eh: 7/10. Solid game with some dubious design choices and more issues that can be fixed with time.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk. I’ll be here purging heretics and burning purple metaplayers for daring to pursue forbidden knowledge on my town.

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squid

Didn’t read everything, ’cause that’s a ton of words and it’s kinda late, but:

It’s the year of our Lady 20 and twenty fucking 1 and this game launched without a goddamn windowed fullscreen option. Is this a joke?

“Fullscreen” is Windowed Fullscreen. So yes, it’s there.

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Bruno Brito

So, there’s not a Fullscreen option then? There should be all 3, honestly. And that’s not the only graphical issue i have.

But thanks for clarifying. I appreciate it.

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squid

Correct. It’s called Fullscreen in the settings, but it is in fact Fullscreen Windowed. There is no typical Fullscreen mode.

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Bruno Brito

Not a fan of it.

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Andrew Christensen

That’s not the same at all. Full screen dedicates your system resources to the game instead of it being bogged dowm by other processes.

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Neurotic

Overall, I’m in agreement with you. I had the same thing with parkouring a well, until I found an option somewhere to turn on and off “automatic parkour”. Once turned off, I could approach things and not clamber up them without pressing the key too.

My other observation about movement is that I really like the fact that “walking” is more like a light jog, and that if you “walk” and hold a staff out, you look like Gandalf creeping through Moria. :D

The full-speed “running” though — there is a horrible jerkiness when you start and stop running, for which reason I try to walk-jog everywhere.

My overall impression of the game so far is that it’s pleasingly Neverwinter-like, particularly with the arrangement of Q, E, and R keys for the 3 active skills. :D

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Bruno Brito

Yeah, it’s not a bad game if i can get past some gripes. I would rather it was a tab-target sandbox with weapon-based customization and thousands of skills, but it is what it is.

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Steve Frank

It’s a very good game, I’ve dropped many after a few hours. Too many to remember.
This game has weight, and feels right.

The game has great bones. It’s not a great game yet but I suspect it will be in a year.

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aYates

I was in a 7 hour queue for El Dorado realm, yesterday.
Cool name but when they added more worlds to USWest, I decided to reroll my character and it took about 3 minutes to get in at 7pm PST, last night.

This game is a lot of fun! The combat, weapon skills, exploration, crafting/gathering are all strong IMHO. So far so good.
As others have said, they have a very good foundation to build on, but they better keep up with this momentum and announce future content soon and often if they want to hold onto the player-base.

I’m PvE and this isn’t on par with ESO/FF14/WoW etc. as far as deep story/lore goes. Not even close, but I believe that can improve and grow if they keep at it.

I have to say the character creation/lack of customization is pretty bad. That’s why everyone looks the same. There’s like 2 body types: Male & Female and they don’t look that different from each other lol I guess that was for performance to have big PvP battles..??

Still, despite it’s shortcomings, I’m overall very impressed, so far.

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styopa

I highly recommend Chris’ review of mid- and endgame.
I’m looking forward to giving the game a run once stuff settles down.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

I hope this turns out well for the people who want to play it.

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Scot Hays

I love the game. I played Closed and Open Beta. I jumped on right at 7a.m. CDT yesterday. Played it pretty much all day, with the exception of some breaks.

I only lagged out once. But when I went to get back in, there were almost 400 people in queue. So I went to the West Coast servers and created a character there, since they had a lot of Low servers.

I’m not one of those people who have to get to level 60 in one day. I enjoy going around gathering resources more than I do killing stuff.

The only real problem I had was when I was smacking let’s say a Boar, and someone runs up and hits it once, and then they start skinning it. That’s really the only issue I had on Day 1.

Those people who experienced long queue times… didn’t look at the server prior to creating their character. I went into View Worlds and saw which ones didn’t have any waiting, and created the character there. I don’t think I would want to play on a massively overpopulated server. The ones with 20k in queue… those are just going to be overrun with 1 guild owning everything. Look at the Olympus server. That clown Asmongold is on that server. He has over 700k followers… he will lead a huge guild to take over everything. No thanks.

All in all, this has to be one of the smoothest rollouts that I’ve ever experienced. I’ve been playing MMO’s since 2000 and I expected the long wait times. But was overall pleased with how smoothly it went.

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Hikari Kenzaki

So. I’ve said this many times here, but I’ll restate it.

New World always seemed like a bunch of ‘veteran’ developers from the 2000s who were making a modern variant of the games they made two decades ago, but had failed to learn from the mistakes along the way.
The MMO genre should have (and has) taught us all lessons about where we could and should be by now.

Keep in mind, this isn’t a new issue. Queues were a problem during Beta and they knew how many copies they had in pre-orders. Then knew they had 100s of 1000s of players in Beta.

For one unfathomable reason or another, companies seem unwilling to learn from the mistakes of the past. Of all the companies to have server issues, Amazon is just not it. Between Amazon, Google, Cloudflare, and Microsoft, they essentially ARE the internet.
The game industry vets should have known this was coming.
The server industry vets should have been able to plan for how to deal with it.
Yet simply, they didn’t.

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Hikari Kenzaki

And I should add, the game itself is okay. It’s not great. It’s not bad. It’s just okay. Ultimately, as it is right now, it’s not for me, but I totally get that it is a good game for a lot of people.
I hope New World does well because I’m really tired of seeing this awful cycle where the genre is declared dead, half a dozen new MMOs come out to great fanfare, 2 months later everyone goes back to playing decades-old games, and finally, the genre is declared dead again.

EmberStar
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EmberStar

This seems appropriate. If it isn’t, I’m putting it here anyway.

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SmiteDoctor

That’s the problem, companies release lackluster games and act all surprised when no one sticks around (or shows up in my case); I played Devils Advocate yesterday and ask around New World’s Reddit about the PVE, it is indeed an after thought tacked on, barely any main story, and the bulk of the quests are BS fetch/kill quests that are there to move a reputation bar. Not only could they have done better, with the richest MOFO in the world bank rolling you then you damn well should have done better.

Jokerchyld
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Jokerchyld

But to be fair, why would you or anyone expec PvE content in a game that was developed originally as a PvP game? Its just not realistic.

Im a PvE player and I went into New World understanding it had a PvP foundation with PvE tacked on. And for its worth its serviceable. Not bad, just basic, generic and bland but well within my expectations.

The key for me is not how the game is the first day its out or even its first week. But more so the content strategy, cadence, and diversity. Those three pillars are what will define what type of game this is (and what players it will attract) , give it identity and determine if it will be successful long term.

As others have said there is a strong foundation to build something epic here, but completely dependent on how Amazon handles it over the next 3 or so months.

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angrakhan

As someone who only started following this game a week ago and thus bypassed a lot of the drama and history of the game, after getting to level 11 and leveling my crafting to the point where my character is in a full set of iron gear the game itself is really quite good.

The queues suck for sure and need to be addressed, and I’m with everyone else that Amazon with AWS backing them up of all companies should have been able to avoid this. The fact they didn’t I think points to their lack of experience as a company in building MMO’s and probably making a bunch of assumptions in ignorance about how things were going to go in spite of the number of preorders they had telling them exactly how things were going to go. They really need to get this solved in the next few days if they want to salvage their reputation.

That being said, once you’re past the queue the game plays really well. I saw no lag, rubber banding, or disconnects (omg can you imagine). The combat feels tight, the visuals are gorgeous, the sound and musical score are top notch, and the crafting is actually interesting. I like the fact that the economy is player based. There’s no weapon or armor vendors in town to just go buy upgrades. You have to get those from another player or make/find them yourself. Unlike most MMO’s quests rarely give gear, and when they do it’s still often substandard to what you can craft assuming you keep your crafting up to par. Also, I like the fact they created localized markets where each town has its own separate trade shop and separate stash for your characters. This makes it possible to buy low/sell high between towns creating actual trade routes in game. That doesn’t happen if you just have a single server-wide auction house setup.

The downside of the localized economy is I think that’s the root cause of your queues. See none of that localized economy works in a game with a single world server with just instances of zones. In that setup it will take your players all of 30 seconds to realize they can just flip instances of the same zone to go check that zone’s trade shop to see if it has what they need. Or they could have one trade shop linked to all the instances but then you’ve got 700,000 players dumping items into that first starter town’s shop and now you’re just back to a global economy. So… that design decision forces the use of classic ‘world servers’ and thus you get queues from hell. I’m sure more than one dev is questioning if they made the right decision right about now.

The game is worth playing once they get past this queue, stuff, though. I’m enjoying it (once I get past the queue).