If you were one of the many, many players who skipped off New World after giving it an initial try, well, we don’t blame you. The launch was a bit of a mess, the subsequent months were a morass of unsteady development, the population plummeted, and an aura of uncertainty seemed to hover over Amazon’s MMO.
Yet as someone who’s been repeatedly visiting and enjoying New World, I’m here to testify that this game genuinely deserves a second look by anyone who wrote it off beforehand. After all, one of the strengths of MMOs is their tendency to vastly improve over time if the studio sticks with it!
Low barrier to entry
Chances are that if you’ve ever wanted a copy of New World, by now you have it. Amazon gave away a ton of copies back in the day, not to mention that this game’s been heavily discounted on Steam several times. And no matter whether you bought it at full price or not, the good news is that this has been fully buy-to-play since inception. That makes for a perfect scenario to come back for multiple visits to see how the title is shaping up.
Decent housing system
It may not win any of our yearly awards for best housing on the market, but you know what? New World has housing, which is more than some of the biggest MMOs on the market can attest. And I actually like the instanced housing here; it offers freeform placement, a variety of building types in the city hubs, a free port every so often, and some practical benefits (can anyone say “additional storage?”). Plus, housing ties so well into the crafting economy, which is certainly a main focus of this game.
Pretty satisfying combat
I’m really not an “action combat” kind of guy. Oh, I’ll do it if I have to, but tab-targeting will always have my heart. That said, this game’s combat is weirdly satisfying to me. Every weapon handles differently, so odds are good that no matter what your playstyle, you’ll find something that works for you. Some days I do nothing but find a good spot to farm and then mindlessly grind mobs for XP and loot just because it’s a relaxing and engaging activity here.
A different era
The 17th century Age of Exploration is a decidedly different setting than most fantasy MMOs. For those who are tired of seeing the same old visual tropes pop up in MMO visuals, New World offers a refreshing change. From the outfits to the town buildings to the frontier log houses, the look and feel of New World sets it apart from the pack.
Superb sound design
You know what’s a highly underrated design element in MMOs? The soundtrack. And I’m not speaking of just the music (although New World has a killer OST) but also the ambient aural layer, the audio feedback from combat, and other foley effects. Done right — as it is here — it can be immersive as all get out. I never stop being impressed with the echoes of rock breaking, the crack of a musket, or the whoosh of wind through the trees here.
A mix-and-match world
At first glance, New World sports a nice-looking but standard fantasy setting. Yet it isn’t before too long that one is disillusioned from this perspective. It’s a more “wild” naturalistic setting mixed with inexplicable ancient ruins and more than a splash of horror. This odd combination serves to hook players and drag them further into this incredibly strange island. Hey, it’s LOST!
I love it when an MMO gives you the freedom of choice to switch up classes or skills or weapons during your journeys. After all, what may be vibing for me one day may not the next! And New World is all about experimentation, allowing anyone to flip between weapons at will to see what fits the build… or the moment.
Animals are terrifying again
I don’t think I appreciated just how much MMOs defanged standard animals until I went into New World and physically flinched when a bear or an alligator violently charged at me. Nature here is rightfully powerful and scary at times, aggressively attacking players and forcing us to give them a measure of respect. That’s cool.
Consistent development gives hope
I won’t deny that there’s a tension under the surface of this game, where folks are concerned about New World’s post-launch crash and subsequent shaky path. There have been more ups and downs in the first year and a half of this MMO than typically seen, and that gives cause to worry that Amazon might give up on it or that a critical mass of players might not sustain.
One cause for hope, however, is seeing the studio stepping up development rather than fleeing the scene. Amazon’s poured a lot of additional resources into New World, particularly with the quest revamps, Brimstone Sands, the brand-new seasons, and the roadmap extending for the rest of the year. Stuff’s happening in this MMO, and it feels a long way from dead as a result.
The crafting and economy is engaging
With a smidge of survival game DNA in it, New World puts a stronger emphasis on gathering, crafting, and economy than you might see in its contemporaries. There’s a lot of choice here in how you want to engage with it, from going whole-hog crafting empire to casually using the trading post to buy and sell orders. I love to bring a huge haul of goods back to towns and sell them to others for a fat profit — then turn around and use that profit to buy houses and decorate them.