New World Diary: It’s Going Hard But I’m Getting Confused (For Now)
The last time I was really excited about launching an MMORPG was when Guild Wars 2 was on the way. I devoured all the dev logs, tweets, interviews, videos and everything in between so I would know exactly what to expect on day one and beyond. GW2 was going to be different in many ways from other MMOs, and after absorbing all the information I could, I felt more than ready to take on Tyria.
It’s been a whole different experience so far with New World. I had glanced at a dev diary or two over the past two years, but never thoroughly dissected one like I had with GW2. I had no intention of getting the game, especially after previous Amazon Games titles failed, until Magicman rushed in at the 11th hour to get me a copy on Steam.
In the six days since this happened, I’ve racked up 18.5 hours and I’m really having fun – way more than I thought I would, especially after retiring after about an hour in an early beta – but I’m a little confused as to what the game wants to be and if I’m really on board with all it has to offer. In this way, I think New World is similar to Guild Wars 2, and the main difference is in my preparation.
If I have to blame Amazon for making a confusing game – and the idea has crossed my mind a few times – then I should probably anchor ArenaNet for the same. I know there were players of this game who in its early days were confused about how all systems worked, systems that I knew before I even stepped into the game, so maybe it is just my lack of pre-launch knowledge of the New World which makes me a bit ‘awkward’ when exploring Aeternum.
Example: all faction war / turf war. I understand that a faction can control a territory… one way or another. And when that little bar fills up (somehow), there’s a war over it. There was one last night that I signed up for but was unable to participate in because I was not selected because I was not at a high enough level and the number restrictions are ridiculous. And the Outpost Rush PvP trick isn’t available until you hit level 60? Well, I’m just going to be doing quests to get my faction to gain reputation or whatever its name – oh wait, I’ve maximized my reputation and can’t get any further until I’ve done a five level quest at – above me.
Anyway, there are a lot of little frustrations that I run into that might not bother me as much if I had read about them before. Even now, there’s probably a website or wiki somewhere that explains how this all works, but I’m not so inclined to research them now, not when there are other things to do in the game that I think are important. allow progress in other areas.
You can call me ‘lazy’ if you want – and I’m not saying you’re wrong – but that’s going to be a lot of people’s experience, especially after the initial rush of gamers who were genuinely excited about the game and obstructing the game. the servers during its first two weeks. New players to the game in a month (or a year) or two won’t be the ones who read all of the development logs ahead of time; they’re going to be like me, coming in with little info and few expectations beyond what an MMORPG normally provides, stuff like leveling and crafting and dungeons. This is all I can figure out easily enough, and if the game does not want to make it easier for me and others to understand and participate in its more complex systems, it is its downfall when players fall apart. withdraw because they don’t. I don’t want to take the time to wait for the fun times.
There are other reasons the game is “unfriendly” to new players – things like the lack of weapon diversity (why can’t they let you select a starting weapon like every other game?), creating imbalances (I want to level alchemy, but most of the components I need, even for first level stuff, are rare or require a high harvest level), and mob respawn times (too short for the hordes of regular enemies that can swarm you when facing their neighbors and too long for the named bosses you need for quests). I was also completely ignoring the game’s light / medium / heavy footprint system until someone pointed it out to me while I was streaming.
All of these gripes come (I like to think) of a reasonably skilled and experienced MMORPG player. Imagine facing all of this if New World was your first such game. In short, Amazon is unlikely to attract “casual” or people with limited MMORPG experience who might otherwise be drawn to a game with such a recognizable company at the helm.
There’s a reason most games end up remaking their “new player experience”, and that’s because, in the rush to release a viable product, these early explanations are seen as mostly superfluous details. that “we will correct later”. This is going to be especially true for a game that has undergone several reinventions throughout its development history, like New World. It’s bound to be a bit rough at first, and its more innovative systems, although tested by players dedicated to alphas and betas, are unlikely to be well balanced against each other or understandable enough for the grown-up. public. to seize from the first day. It was like that for Guild Wars 2, and it is like that for New World.
That being said, I still love New World and want to keep playing it, at least for now. The ongoing battle is between my desire to keep exploring the, well, the new world, and the game’s “level up and it’ll get better” message and how that keeps me from doing cool PvP stuff. For now, I’m still enjoying general quests and progression, but I can already see how it could get a little boring without something else to shake it up. I’m almost high enough to tackle the game’s first dungeon, so we’ll see how it goes the next time I check in.