In my previous Vitae Aeternum column, I covered the big tentpole features of New World‘s first paid expansion, Rise of the Angry Earth, including the updated zone, new weapon, new housing, and mounts. But there was a lot more discussed at the press briefing where Amazon Games unveiled the expansion.
Aside from new content, Rise of the Angry Earth brings with it a new level cap, a revamp of endgame gear and progression, and an entirely new rarity of items. Let’s dig in.
Ride mounts, wield a new weapon, and explore transformed lands in New World: Rise of the Angry Earth.
— New World (@playnewworld) August 30, 2023
New caps for all
Rise of the Angry Earth will bring a big shake-up to New World‘s endgame. As I previously covered, the level cap will be increased to 65, along with new attribute bonuses for reaching 350 points in a stat.
Pretty much everything else is getting a cap increase, too. Gear score will now go up to level 700, tradeskills will now have a cap of 250, and there will be a new tier of faction reputation to earn.
The tradeskill increase sent a bit of shiver down my spine – and not the good kind. We’re almost two years from launch, and I only just recently got my first crafting skill (furnishing) to 200. I’m really not looking forward to having even more crafting levels to grind out.
On the plus side, it does sound like that grind may be a bit lessened. Cooking, furnishing, and jewelcrafting were singled out as trades scheduled for a major “simplification” in the expansion.
If you’re wondering what will happen to your aptitude levels once the cap is increased, it’s simple: Your aptitude progress will be paused until you reach the new cap, but you can pick up where you left off once you do.
In general the level cap increase news did concern me, but based on Amazon’s explanations, I think it does look as if the studio has a workable plan to avoid some of the worst potential pitfalls of the practice. All current endgame content will continue to be relevant; some of it will scale up to the new cap, while other parts will remain level 60, but all of it will drop gear that’s relevant to the new endgame.
I still wish the game was more focused on horizontal progression over vertical, but the devs seem to have a good handle on keeping the vertical progression from becoming too problematic.
The new endgame is not just about higher numbers, either. There’s going to be an extensive overhaul of the progression and gear systems.
The oft-controversial expertise system is gone, along with umbral shards, which will be converted to gold. There will no longer be any way to upgrade gear you already own; it’s all just about finding good drops.
Finding those drops should be a bit easier, though. The much-hated ward and bane system is being removed, and the gear roll system is being redesigned to be a bit smarter and eliminate “trash” drops. Say goodbye to greatswords with intelligence!
Crafting will also benefit from these changes. There will be much less randomness in the results of crafting, greatly increasing your chances of making something usable. Endgame crafting will require more resources, though, so as to avoid a glut of resources in the economy.
There will also be an entirely new rarity of gear: Artifacts, which sound like a cross between the build-defining legendaries seen in many ARPGs and the artifact weapons introduced in World of Warcraft‘s Legion expansion.
As these items are meant to be rare and difficult to acquire, players will be able to equip only one artifact weapon and one artifact armour piece or trinket at a time. They will start as powerful legendaries, and over time you can level them up to unlock a build-defining sixth perk.
Two artifacts were previewed during the event. Vengeance is a life staff that reduces all healing you do by 50% but massively increases the damage of some of the more aggressive life staff abilities. Meanwhile, Scorpion’s Sting is a spear that causes the Javelin ability to pull enemies to you, which is definitely not a reference to anything at all…
Other endgame updates
Most of this does sound very good, but I am a little concerned that these changes may leave casual players behind even more than they already are. Expertise may have its issues, but grinding gypsum and expertise levels is a good way for casual players to make steady progress. It’s not clear what will replace that.
There is also a revamp of New World‘s dungeons, and there is some hope for the casual player there. Non-mutated dungeons are going to see their difficulty reduced, creating what sounds like story mode where people can experience the content without stress. The rewards do sound a bit paltry, though. Endgame gear will drop “rarely” from these vanilla expeditions, and artifacts will not have a chance to drop at all.
The mutation system is also being greatly streamlined from 10 gradual levels to three levels of difficulty with much more dramatic gaps between them. Level 1 mutations will be easier than any current mutations, again providing a more casual option, while level 3 mutations will be very hard — it sounds like they’ll be harder than current M10s.
Odds and ends
Season three will launch at the same time as Rise of the Angry Earth, but it will be entirely separate. You don’t need to buy the expansion to play the season three content, but buying the expansion won’t get you the premium track for the season.
I asked about the main story quest revamp, and that was confirmed to still be moving along according to the original roadmap. The next part will come as part of the expansion/season three update in October, and the final part will launch with season four, which should be very late this year or very early next year.
In a response to a question on gamepad support, the devs confirmed it’s still in the works, though no specific timeline was given. However, a console release for New World doesn’t seem to be on deck, at least for the time being. Amazon didn’t rule it out forever, but it appears it’s not actively being pursued right now.
Finally, to the relief of many, the expansion update is going to introduce the beginnings of new systems for balancing things separately for PvE and PvP. Not a lot of details were shared, but one can imagine this means that an ability could be nerfed in PvP without impacting its PvE performance, or vice versa.
The Wilds await
Rise of the Angry Earth will launch October 3rd, at a price of $29.99.