We have now arrived at the final installment of my impressions of New World‘s first paid expansion, Rise of the Angry Earth. Having already covered new features like mounts and the flail weapon, as well as the new zone and main storyline, I will now be taking a look at the updated endgame, as well as the season three reward pass.
On this front, the story is one of generosity on the part of Amazon Games, almost to a fault.
There’s no seasonal storyline this time, but that’s understandable given how much new story content we got in the new zone. The season activity card, however, has once again had a bit of a shake-up in its mechanics.
Amazon has now added new “wild” stamps, which can be used to complete an activity on the card without actually doing that activity. You get one for free each day, and you get another each time you complete a line on the card.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize there’s a positive feedback loop here. If you use a wild stamp to complete a line, it refunds itself. If you manage to complete multiple lines in one go, you can end up with more wilds than you started with.
This is slightly compensated by the fact you now need to complete four stamps instead of three to finish a card. The meta has now shifted from getting three stamps, turning in the card, and repeating ad nauseam to finishing the whole card by getting enough spaces filled on your own to trigger a chain reaction with wild stamps.
This does have the advantage of making it a little easier to fill the card by playing normally, instead of undertaking dedicated grind activities, but mostly it’s just a general, massive nerf of the seasonal grind. I’m not one to complain about free stuff, but this feels like cheating. With a little help from the compensation for bugs early in the season, I finished my pass in a mere two weeks without even really trying.
I’m honestly wondering if this has defeated the purpose of seasons as a source of content. I’m not sure why the devs keep nerfing the activity card grind into the ground instead of simply offering other options. I guess there are worse things a MMO can do than be overly generous.
As always, I’m not a hardcore endgame player, but I can offer some observations from my initial experiences and word of mouth from other players.
The gearing changes appear to have gone over well. With fewer niche or junk perks and the new loot biasing system, it’s a lot easier to get useful drops. Prior to the expansion, I could probably have counted on one hand the number of times I’d ever gotten useful gear from anything but quest rewards and the trading post, but now getting upgrades from mobs and chests is a regular occurrence.
I was worried that I wouldn’t have a progression path as a solo player after the expertise and gypsum changes, but I’m already at least as well-geared as I was before the expansion.
Similarly, I was expecting artifacts that be some 1% drop rate rarity that I’d never see, but I’ve already got four of them. I do think the current crop of artifacts is a bit too small, and a lot of them are a bit boring in their effects, but the concept is good, and there’s a lot of room to expand the system in future patches.
I don’t think I’ve ever said this about an MMO before, but I am concerned Amazon is actually being too generous now. The expansion’s been out less than a month, and I’m already almost as geared as I care to be, my season pass is finished, my riding skill is maxed, I’ve got more artifacts than I can equip, and I got everything I wanted from the Halloween event in three days.
I haven’t run out of things to do yet, but if I didn’t play alts, that might be a concern. I’m not too bothered by this, but I am a little concerned the game won’t be able to keep the more endgame-oriented players around. Maybe the chase for the absolute best in slot item traits will be enough. I’m very much of the “eh, good enough” school of thought when it comes to gearing, and that does make things easier.
On the other hand, the new crafting levels are every bit the nightmare I expected. I have yet to see a single node of the new cloth, wood, or ore. Unsurprisingly they’re outrageously expensive on the trading post. Even just crafting one of the new potted plants available from the furnishing skill will likely set you back thousands of gold.
I don’t get it. Crafting is supposed to be one of the main pillars of this game, but Amazon is showering legendary gear on anyone who cares to bonk a few gorillas in Elysian Wilds while crafters destroy their savings and sanity trying to make a pair of gloves and a ficus. (OK, they’re not actually ficuses, but you get the idea.)
Finally, I am not even remotely a PvP player, but I do want to note that the reception for the new open world influence races seems to have been overwhelmingly positive. I’ve heard a lot of people say they’re one of the best things to ever happen to New World. (Whether the overall state of PvP is acceptable is up for debate.)
I have my disappointments with the Elysian Wilds, and crafting is the same mess it’s always been, but everything else in Rise of the Angry Earth has been pretty positive. I’m a little concerned about the longevity of the game for hardcore players, but for casual and midcore types, there’s never been a better time to play New World.
If we’re to continue my conceit that this is New World‘s second expansion, with Brimstone Sands being the first, I would say Rise of the Angry Earth is a bit worse in terms of content but significantly better when it comes to features. For my playstyle, it works out to a worse expansion overall, but for most people I think the opposite will be true.