New World is perhaps Amazon’s best bet to conquer the video game world. The mega-corporation has been trying to irrupt the gaming industry, not because they need more money. But for several years, and after various flops, they appear ready for success.
The upcoming MMO is releasing on August 31, 2021, unless Amazon Game Studios say otherwise. Developers have already delayed the game as the original launch was scheduled for May 2020.
Perhaps they were waiting for the Early Access launch of their streaming game service, Luna. You would think Amazon is planning to release New World on Luna, but we’re all wrong.
Instead, New World is for Windows PC, currently not available on Amazon’s own platform. Instead, you can pre-order the Beta version on the game’s webpage. The Standard Version has a price tag of about $39.99.
Can You Play New World’s Closed Beta?
The Closed Beta became available for all users on July 20. You’re able to buy your pre-access until August 2. Alternatively, you can complete the tester registration for a random chance to participate as a game tester (and get New World free).
After the Closed Beta ends, Amazon Game Studios will wipe all progress before the official August 31 release.
So, no, I would say you don’t have the chance to play the Closed Beta anymore, but you can still pre-order the MMORPG. You can check the New World system requirements here.
That said, we have one job here: Is New World worth your money?
Was the Closed Beta Any Good?
I’ve always been wary of Amazon’s games, and you’re probably not very excited either. Their upcoming fantasy MMO, albeit solid, won’t compete against The Elder Scrolls Online, World of Warcraft, or Final Fantasy XV just yet.
The Closed Beta version displayed its various mechanics. There’re plenty of activities to enjoy at the early stages of the experience as well as the end-game.
New World lacks skill variety and customization. Amazon has some stuff to polish, but I would say they’re on the right track. More importantly, the Closed Beta feels like a completely different game from the Alpha test, which was incomplete.
For example, the combat is stellar and easily the main part of the experience. A secondary element is a world, which is gorgeous and intriguing. There’s also the promise of lots of post-launch content and support.
Right now, though, New World could be one of the best PC games of the year. Also, the MMO genre is becoming stale in new games, so New World is a great addition to a rarely growing catalog.
To the question above, I would say yes. MMO fans looking for a new game to invest their time in can enjoy New World.
Now that my opinion is clear let me help you create your own by detailing the game’s mechanics.
What is The New World About?
The game takes place in the fictional Aeternum island. It’s the source of fantastical creatures, legendary loot, and dangerous places. You arrive in a shipwreck with no supplies and no knowledge. You’ll need to make your own way with the newfound magic of the land.
Lore-wise, Aeternum’s magic offers miraculous healing, a strange flora, and the undead. The same power also brings an endless cycle of death and resurrection of souls. The setting allows two kinds of playtime.
At the core, New World is an open-world MMO RPG. You can play solo or with your friends and follow a classic PvE setting with quests, dungeons, exploration, resource gathering, crafting, and adventure.
There’s another part, which is the multiplayer mode. There’re various multiplayer activities, but I find War to be the most exciting.
War puts two 50 player teams fighting over a fort. One of the teams sits within the fort and uses siege weapons to defend. The other team must capture the fort, and they can use siege weapons as well.
Both game modes thrive with an addictive combat system with balanced skill trees and an interesting class system. Its combat is in the position to encourage all playstyles, skills, and weapons.
There could still be “meta-builds,” but, overall, the flow of combat depends mostly on your skill rather than character builds.
For example, you can change from melee to ranged weapons during your fight. The weapon swap allows you to fire a musket before engaging with an axe. Moreover, you need to focus on your timing to land your attacks, dodge enemy attacks, and swap weapons.
I like that combat feels widely different from most MMO games. Oftentimes, the genre has floaty mechanics where your character stands in place as you press the skills on the action bar. Then, you’ll see big numbers on the screen detailing how much damage you’re doing.
New World is different. It feels swift and more akin to an action-adventure game. Still, controls are familiar: dodge, parry, heavy attack, light attack, and abilities. You can also prone and crouch.
Combat becomes more complex as you grow. Players need to master positioning, timing, aiming, and fast responses to progress. Moreover, enemy attacks have a certain weight to them, so combat feels powerful and important.
New weapons unlock more attacks, and there’s some variety to enjoy. There’re bows, magic staffs, shields, swords, axes, muskets, and more. Additionally, your skill trees unlock new movements as well.
It’s a progressive complexity that makes you feel like there’s always something else to learn. At the same time, the early stages of the game remain simple.
Your new game starts on the character creation screen. Customization is plentiful: you can change body, face, skin, hair, facial hair, eye color, scars, tattoos, features, and gender.
You don’t choose classes, skills, or weapons. Instead, a cinematic cut takes you straight to a shipwreck accident. You end up on an island, where the game introduces you to the combat system.
So, even though there’s a great selection of psychical attributes in the creation screen, every character is the same. Your character is on a blank slate: there’s no personality, no traits, and nothing else going on here.
Still, the initial part of the game showcases graphics and animations, both at the top of its game. It looks great, and the animation is flawless and exciting. And, by the way, the style reminds me of Remnants: From The Ashes, a dark 2019 looter shooter RPG.
You’ll also discover the interface, which is as beautiful as the game itself. There’s an action bar on the right, with quick items you can map. Additionally, there’re three places for skills plus your weapon swap icon.
The simple setting says combat will not get crazy: you won’t unlock massive AOE fire skills on New World.
Soon, you’ll gain your first level and realize how the skill system works.
You grow in power by using weapons. The more you wield a weapon (like a sword and shield), the more you gain XP for that particular weapon. It’s a system we’ve seen on games like Skyrim and, more recently, Cyberpunk 2077.
That means particular actions create experience points for the corresponding masteries.
Additionally, there’re no classes. There’re only weapons to master. As you level up a Weapon Mastery, you’ll earn points to spend on new skills or perks.
Each weapon has two mastery trees with a particular specialization. For instance, the Sword & Shield mastery goes two ways. You can focus on shield bashes and defenses, or you can focus on sword power.
The system makes progression feel more natural. It rewards your efforts and preferences as a sort of nurture over nature design.
In the long run, though, you could miss the skill variety other games offer. At the same time, though…do you really like standing in place while spamming broken skills?
On top of weapon masteries, you also gain attribute points. New World has standard attributes: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, and Focus.
These thresholds deliver complex buffs such as critical damage, elemental resistance, mining speed, dodge chance,…
Either way, here’s a rundown of the New World attributes:
- Strength: It dictates your melee damage. Melee weapons include swords, axes, hatches, and shields.
- Dexterity: It dictates your ranged damage. Ranged weapons include muskets and bows. Light melee weapons like rapiers also scale with dexterity but at a slower pace compared to strength.
- Intelligence: It governs your magical damage. Your character can do magical damage through magical weapons or magical perks (like the Flaming Sword on the Sword & Shield Mastery tree).
- Focus: It dictates your mana recovery rate, as well as your skill cooldown.
- Constitution: It increases your health pool. However, it has diminishing returns the more points you put into the attribute. At first, it grants 25 HP per point, but it decreases to 21 HP per point.
The system is not hard to grasp. See, every time you level, the interface indicates what could improve if you select either attribute.
Moreover, you can redistribute your points for free until level 20. After that, you’d have to pay with coin. Still, you’re free to experiment.
Lastly, you gain these points by leveling. With the current 60 max level cap, the total points you can gain is 190. Nevertheless, higher levels grant fewer points.
Lack of Balance
Some of the skills and stat choices seem bad, even redundant. At the same time, there’s not much variety to encourage players to open up a second character and try other things.
I do feel the Mastery system is the right path for the game. Having defensive and offensive trees for each weapon rewards the playstyle you prefer. Moreover, there’re now gems that modify your attributes and get further options.
Moreover, bows feel obviously better than other ranged weapons. It’s an example of the balance issues present still in the game.
I need to stress that it’s leagues better than what we saw on the Alpha test. Still, Amazon Games has to work on the masteries and attribute bonuses.
Questing and exploration
The first quests after the tutorial section are the cookie-cutter fetch quests. A non-interesting NPC asks you to hunt boars, gather flowers, and do some errands. Luckily, uninspired quests only serve to introduce you to the game’s mechanics.
After a couple of levels, you’ll engage with better content. A fast progression and fun combat will keep you hooked until you reach the good stuff.
See, during the Alpha test, every quest was the same. Run around, find a chest, and deliver.
There’s now a proper story campaign that revolves around the death and rebirth cycle. There’s a mystery to solve across your adventure, and it goes alongside the standard MMO exploration.
Nevertheless, the mystery element is always there, from fogs covering powerful enemies to neat cinematics.
Aside from the mystery elements, your main task is colonizing the island. The world is loosely based on South America, but there’re many fantasy elements in place.
Your first big adventure takes you to a town, where you’ll learn to craft weapons and trade with NPCs. Soon after, you’ll be exploring dungeons, caves, mountains, lakes, and all kinds of mysterious locations. The experience is rewarding in terms of combat, sights, and loot.
You’ll realize you could spend hours gathering resources the first time you visit the city. By then, the game will introduce you to its crafting mechanics, which are easy but tiresome. In essence, there’s a great variety of items to obtain in the wild.
There’re simple menus that show you the resources you need for each craft. You can create consumables and gear. As I said, though, your success in battle depends more on your skill and proper Mastery investment rather than gear.
There’s a Trade Skill that includes all of your non-combat abilities, like crafting. These skills are:
Gathering: There’re various materials you can harvest as you explore. The harvest categories are mining, logging, skinning, fishing, and harvesting.
Refining: It sets your ability to work with these materials. The categories are smelting, stonecutting, woodworking, weaving, and tanning.
Crafting: There’re 7 crafting skills, which are weaponsmith, armoring, jewel crafting, arcana, cooking, and furnishing.
Improving these skills allows you to gather better materials as well as creating better gear and consumables.
Also, you improve these skills by engaging in the corresponding actions. It’s all fairly standard but with enough depth and variety.
I’m not the biggest fan of these systems. In fact, I mostly avoid MMOs -and Dragon Age Inquisition- because I dislike resource gathering mechanics. I feel it as a chore all the time. That said, these mechanics are solid in New World.
New World has a fair amount of items to loot. There’s gear, consumables, and resources.
For example, the consumables are tinctures, potions, drinks, and food. You can even cook food, as it’s a part of your crafting skill. As you’d expect, food and drinks deliver positive effects like health regeneration.
Tinctures are somehow special in New World. These small vials deliver an instant buff, like a flat mana amount to regenerate your mana pool. On the other hand, potions deliver magical effects that linger for a while.
There’re also Weapon Coatings. You can craft coatings on any camp or loot them during your adventures. These items apply a damage bonus to your weapons, which means a particular bonus type.
The most important stat on weapons and armor is Gear Score. A higher score equals more damage or more protection.
The next stat is Perks. Equipment can have up to 3 Perks, but there’re many options. For example, a weapon Perk could add a damage type; an armor perk could add defense against a specific damage type.
That said, a higher score delivers a better Perk. Moreover, gear rarity depends on how many Perks it has.
Rarity goes like this:
- Common: No perks
- Uncommon: 1 perk
- Rare: 2 perks
- Epic: 3 perks
There’re also Legendary and Named items. These have fixed Gear Scores and Perks. Some of them come with socketed gems.
The third start is Gem Slot. Some Equipment has an empty gem slot. You can socket a gemstone to enhance your core attributes.
Lastly, every armor piece has a weight, which can be Light, Normal, and Heavy. Your equipment’s weight affects your movement speed.
Lastly, there’re Trinkets and Bags. Trinkets come with socketed gems, and you can’t change these gems. Bags increase the weight you can carry. Some of them come with their own Perks.
New World’s social side revolves around their faction system. On top of that, each city has a market run by players.
There’re three factions, and you can choose your side once you reach level 10 after completing a series of beginner quests. We recommend you pick the faction where your friends are playing.
Either way, Amazon has some algorithms in place to prevent any faction from growing above the others.
Players can set guilds or companies, and then companies fight each other for territory. It’s part of the faction war that enables siege PvP conflict. If you win the war, you win the territory and reap the rewards.
Territories include towns, and towns have stations to cook and craft. So, for example, if you want to control a tier-4 crafting station, you’d better defend or conquer the territory for your faction.
The factions are:
- Marauders: It’s a military organization aiming to establish a free nation.
- The Syndicate: It’s a secretive organization pursuing forbidden knowledge.
- The Covenant: They are Divine champions driven by faith. Their goal is to find justice for the struggling souls.
Factions have no questlines, but they have particular gears and aesthetics.
War is the main multiplayer mode, and it has proven to be very successful. These are siege, mass-scale PvP wars between two 50 player teams. Defenders need to hold control of a fort, whereas attackers must take control.
The outcome determines which company controls the settlement or territory. Those who control towns also control resources.
There’s also the Output Rush activity. It’s a max-level PvPvE mode where two 10-player teams fight to control resources or fortifications. Invasions are world events. The Beta hasn’t tried this activity yet.
Then, there’s Invasions. Players must rally into 50-player teams to fight against enemy waves.
Lastly, Expeditions are team-based PvE experiences. The content takes five-player teams to dungeons. It explores important lore elements while delivering great loot and tough challenges.
Expeditions are the most challenging quests in New World. It needs a proper party with a tank, a healer, and a DPS.
Right now, New World is above the average MMO and beyond. It has stellar combat, excellent graphics, neat animations, and, most importantly, content variety.
I like that the game has action-adventure-like combat. It means that, instead of clicking an enemy to shoot an arrow, you actually have to point with your mouse.
I also like the fact that the game rewards you for everything you do. Most MMOs and online ARPGs are about reaching the end-game as fast as you can. You can play New World in any fashion, though. You could rush to the end-game, or you could hang back and become a powerful crafter. Either way, the game will reward you.
New World can become a top-tier MMO. I’m thinking of turning it into my main game.
As I said, Amazon still has the stuff to do, but they got the mechanics and design right.
From here on now, it can only get better. That goes right along with my last point: Amazon is listening to fans. They’ve been responding to feedback quickly. Moreover, they promise lots of post-launch content and support.
Overall, Amazon’s New World is a very good MMO.