Vitae Aeternum: So just what is New World’s big June announcement?


For the past few months, Amazon Games has repeated the same mantra in regards to New World‘s future: Wait for the announcement in June. But what will this announcement be? Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities.

There’s two popular fan theories on what the big ticket feature of the announcement will be, and I’ll talk about those, but I also have a few ideas of my own that I haven’t seen brought up, and we’ll get into those, too.

First, let’s talk about what we know for sure, which admittedly isn’t much. In recent dev videos, game director Scot Lane has talked about the announcement in terms of being necessary for the long-term health of the game. He’s confirmed that it will have something for both old and new players and that it will include something for PvP fans. We also know the announcement will be at the Summer Game Fest, which indicates the devs want to reach a wide audience, including people who don’t currently pay attention to the game.

It’s likely that the June news will also coincide with the roadmap for the rest of the year — in fact when they first started teasing this, it was only in the context of being the remainder of the 2024 roadmap rather than anything more dramatic. So the announcement will likely include multiple features, and the Big Headline Feature (whatever it may be) won’t necessarily need to fit all the teases mentioned above, but for the sake of argument let’s try to apply them to our possible theories.

So let’s get to the popular speculation. The two big theories floated among most fans are a console release and a free-to-play transition.

People are so confident that a console release is in the works that it’s already being taken as fact by a pretty large section of the community. I think that may be jumping the gun, however. As recently as late last year Amazon appeared to indicate that it was not working on a console version of the game, and this isn’t the sort of thing you just throw together in a few months.

It’s also worth noting a console release would offer nothing to existing players, nor is it a PvP update. It could contribute to the long-term health of the game by bringing in additional players, however.

Ultimately, the only evidence we have that a console release may be in the works is the fact that the studio recently added controller support to the game, and that’s hardly definitive. I do still think it’s possible the June announcement is a console port, and if it doesn’t come then, I do think it’s something New World will get eventually, but I think it’s way too soon to start taking this as a sure thing.

A free-to-play transition, however, I think is more likely. I say this despite the fact that I really don’t want it to happen.

I think free-to-play is vastly preferable to an old school subscription model, but I do consider it a bit of a downgrade compared to buy-to-play. Removing the barrier to (re)entry makes it much harder to control bots and toxic players, both issues that New World has historically struggled with. Free-to-play also generally requires more aggressive monetization, something NW has mostly avoided to date.

It also makes me concerned about the viability of the game. I had been of the impression that New World had stabilized with a modest but sustainable population, but switching from a box price to free-to-play relatively soon after launch definitely feels like a desperation move.

But it makes sense. If you’re going F2P, you’d want to get as many eyes on the news as possible, and making the announcement at the Summer Game Fest would do that. It’s something for new players, and it also benefits existing players by giving the game an infusion of population. It’s not directly a PvP update, but more people to fight is always a boon to the PvP crowd. And it’s definitely something that would be done for the long-term health of the game, at least in theory.

The game has improved its foundations a great deal since launch, and it does need a way to draw people back in and see what’s changed. Going F2P would do that. I don’t love the idea, but if it gets people to see how much things have changed for the better and ensures the long term success of the game, it will have been worth it in the end, I suppose.

If the game does go F2P, I expect it will be more of an extended free trial situation, where you still need to buy Rise of the Angry Earth to reach the current cap, but I do hope Amazon starts offering some limited version of mounts to people without the expansion, at least. I’ve seen so many people turned off by the prospect of needing to buy DLC to access such a crucial quality-of-life feature.

I’m not willing to say I’m sure free-to-play is the big news, but I do think it’s the most likely candidate right now. But let’s consider some other options that aren’t being talked about as much.

Here’s something I want to throw out there: mega-servers or something similar. New World‘s old-school server structure has been a persistent source of problems for the entire lifespan of the game and will continue to be until something big changes.

This is the sort of thing that would definitely benefit both old and new players and improve the game’s long-term health considerably. We also know from dev videos that recent server merges were delayed because the server tech team was busy with something else. Maybe that’s just the already confirmed cross-world arena feature, or maybe it’s something bigger.

This would be a very difficult change to make, and not just technically. Almost every aspect of the game is balanced around the current server structure, from territory control to economy. But the shift to Slayer Script shows that Amazon isn’t afraid to do big changes, and in shaking things up so much, it’ll open an opportunity.

A shift to mega-servers would necessitate an overhaul to territory control. What I’m imagining is a system where territories are owned by factions, not specific guilds, with multiple guilds contributing to ownership and reaping the rewards. With multiple wars ongoing, perhaps at all times, war becomes a much more accessible feature. Wars are an iconic element of New World, but they’re also an incredibly exclusive form of content that almost no one gets to participate in. Making them something anyone could do would be a huge win for the PvP community.

The main argument I see against mega-servers as a possibility, beyond the sheer difficulty of implementing such a big change, is that the devs have already been putting a lot of work into cross-world matchmaking features, which would seem to indicate the current structure is sticking around. That said, even a hypothetical mega-server would still require some form of sharding, as you definitely can’t just dump everyone into one game world without breaking… everything, so there may still be a role for cross-world matchmaking under such a system.

Another possibility — admittedly a long-shot one — is a “One Aeternum” style update that adds global level-scaling. This is a bit more wishful thinking on my part, as it’s something that I’ve wanted since alpha, but it is something else that fits the criteria of benefiting old and new players and aiding the game’s future health.

New World has long been criticized for its thin endgame content. As more expansions are added, less and less of the current content remains relevant, keeping the game from ever really getting ahead. With Rise of the Angry Earth, Amazon updated some old endgame content and rewards to the new cap, but not all, and I imagine it was a labour intensive process. If the studio added a universal system for scaling content and rewards, it could keep all content relevant for the foreseeable future without the effort of manually adjusting things every time it wants to increase the level cap.

Scaling would also make it more enjoyable for players of different levels to group together, give us more reasons to revisit low level zones, make leveling dungeons less an abandoned feature, and facilitate PvP by ensuring an even playing field. Right now PvP is exclusively the domain of capped players, something our PvP columnist Sam has rightly criticized.

Fun fact: In beta, New World did have powerful scaling mechanics that kept low- and high-level players on roughly even footing in PvP, but several streamers complained about losing fights to players below their level, and the mechanics were gutted. This has been widely considered a major blunder ever since. Maybe it’s time to make things right?

As I said at the top, the announcement will probably include more than one single feature, so it’s possible that more than one of these theories will come to pass, and we’ll likely get other, smaller announcements as well.

I’ve already discussed my predictions for the year, and I generally stand by those. We’ve learned that there won’t be an expansion this year, but I’m pretty sure that just means it’s going to be another Brimstone Sands situation, where we get an expansion’s worth of content without the price tag, so that’s mostly semantics.

We’ve also gotten some further hints since then. A popular rumour involves a free-for-all PvP island, but I’m skeptical of that one. It mostly comes from people being randomly flagged for PvP in one area on the PTR, which could easily be a bug, and said area having some flavour text that sounds like it could describe a free for all area… but that’s the same flavour text it has in the game now, and as far as I know that text has been there since launch.

There are some more credible teases, though. Recent dev videos have included hints towards the long, long awaited arrival of swimming, as well as… hippos?!? And lastly, an article from February contains a tease related to “sneaking around underground areas and mausoleums.” That, plus the Elysian Wilds epilogue and the Dunwood datamining, definitely has me thinking we’re heading for a gothic horror adventure in the near future.

For now, though, we’re still in the dark, and all we can do is wait and speculate until Scot Lane comes dancing onto the Summer Game Fest stage in June.

New World’s Aeternum is a land of many secrets. In MassivelyOP’s Vitae Aeternum, our writers delve those secrets to provide you with in-depth coverage of all things New World through launch and beyond.
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