There’s always this little buzz before an MMORPG gets a major content release or expansion drop. People are flitting around doing their final checks or rushing to goals, preparations are made, final auction house sales are conducted – the whole thing has this sort of open-air bazaar thrum to it. It’s one of the best parts of this genre, and it’s something that I kind of bathed in with my start of this month’s New World adventure.
Also, I was making some pre-release plans of my own. Mostly in the form of re-rolling a character and building towards the flail weapon – an addition that I am unnaturally excited for. This did mean that I was going to have to effectively eschew the Intelligence character I was building out a while ago, but that’s all right because that character wasn’t very far along and I wasn’t really feeling that playstyle anyway.
This does kind of mean that I was glossing past the opening quests at a much faster pace than normal, mostly because I was already pretty familiar with them all up to a fairly late point anyway. So this account is going to talk a whole lot about gameplay feel – how I feel about weapons, how I feel about combat, and how I feel about fighting in New World… which is arguably the more interesting part of the game than its narrative.
Like everyone else, I started out with the sword and shield, a pair of weapons that I am intimately familiar with since I tried and failed to make a tank character when I was playing NW at launch. This time around, however, I started to build out towards the more aggressive tree, with only a couple of tank-minded passives taken to reduce stamina burn of melee and ranged shield blocking. I didn’t get too deep into things here, with the only real button being the spin-to-win maneuver, but it did seem to make an otherwise very defensive setup a little more aggressive, though I still primarily kept to the game’s speed of combat.
Once again I was reminded of that speed, particularly with the compulsion (and desire) to use the shield like a shield. When I first started playing New World, I had supposed that following the posted speed limit of fights was smarter. I’ve since learned my lesson in that regard, especially with some of the more aggressive weapon options, but it was still enjoyable to feel a somewhat balanced mix of offense and defense.
The sword and shield remained stalwart kit for me, opening up the secondary weapon slot for some experimentation and play. I mostly followed Amazon Games’ suggested weapon pairings for the most part, as I dabbled in some new weapons or revisited some old favorites… and old foes.
First, I was handed a greatsword, which I was enjoying for a fair little while until I just stopped. Picking this weapon up again was familiar but also reminded me that I wasn’t a particularly big fan of it; it just seemed a bit too clunky and late-blooming. The weird thing is I don’t know what made me change my mind about this thing; I had the patience enough to get pretty deep into its onslaught tree before, but this time through I wasn’t really feeling it.
What I was feeling was the greataxe, a two-handed weapon that I didn’t really muck around with very often when I was first playing the MMO. It’s still taking me some time to get used to the way it pulls foes in, and its cone of damage still feels a bit weird to me, but I absolutely see this working towards an aggressive tank-adjacent playstyle.
Another weapon that surprised me this time through was the void gauntlet, another weapon that I didn’t particularly like when it first came out. The addition of some ranged utility saw some almost immediate value even as sword-and-shield as the main weapon pairing; most of what I was doing was applying a debuff or two, then whipping out the sword to clean up. Yes, this does require a bunch of weapon swapping, but that’s not something I’m fussed by.
I recall liking the hatchet when this game first launched, particularly since it felt pretty busted right out of the gate, but nowadays it’s feeling a little duller than I remember. Still, I enjoy the still-intact axe murderer vibe it’s got going on, and I actually had a little bit of fun with its ranged throw tree, something I wasn’t really expecting. That said, I’m not so sure that’s the tree I want to follow through on.
Lastly, we have the hammer, a weapon that apparently is super good if remembered meta discussion is leading me to believe. I’m a bit unsure about this one right now, but I also have to admit that I didn’t really dig into the abilities and features of this weapon too much. I also am having a hard time connecting with the weapon on an emotional level, as its swings feel less beefy and more awkward. Still, it at least has enough of my curiosity to perhaps dig in further.
Since I’m absolutely going to be hopping in to the Rise of the Angry Earth expansion purely to play with the flail, it should be obvious to you all by now that I’m building up towards a poll choice of what weapon to pair with it. That was the focus of my playtime, that’s the focus of the next week, and that’s the focus of the poll. So now that you know my thoughts, how about we all come to a consensus on what weapon to use?
What weapon should I pair with the flail?
- Sword and shield. Go tried and true. (25%, 44 Votes)
- Void gauntlet. Use those debuffs. (31%, 56 Votes)
- Hammer. Dig into this tree a bit more. (13%, 24 Votes)
- Hatchet. Hack the planet (up with an axe) (15%, 26 Votes)
- Greataxe. Go full aggro tank. (16%, 28 Votes)
Total Voters: 178
Polling will once again close up at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 6th. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m forever week to expansion hype or I just like that aforementioned pre-launch buzz, but I am extremely excited to try this out. I’m not really expecting to delve deeply into the totality of Angry Earth’s feature set, but I cannot wait to ride a horse and swing a flail around.