It’s easy to take a look at existing MMORPGs and applaud how they’re continuing to push forward with amazing expansions and new content like Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker, but breaking into the MMORPG sphere is ridiculously tough. In the olden days, we’d have new MMOs hitting all the time. Today, the lines are blurred where many games now take features and aspects that were once relegated to the genre proper, and few new offerings in the classic space ever appear. New World was awesome in a few ways here. Not only did it seek to break into a space that’s ruled by titans that have been around for eons, but it did so with a good deal of gusto, willing to explore features and mechanics that are anything but safe.
Player-created economies and PVP-centric server spaces create constant conflict. There was plenty of drama during my time with the game as guilds came together and fell apart, the big 50v50 wars and invasions keeping things constantly tense, both within one’s own faction and against our rivals. While I don’t think it’s particularly entertaining to have to use multiple voice chats to get the edge in competition and deal with all the old-school jockeying for power and position within guild space, the social elements of New World were absolutely refreshing in a genre that’s become notably silent in the last decade, with structures that encouraged social play eventually siloed out so that activities can be completed solo or in parties that never need interact at all. To be clear, I’m not psyched about all the power dynamics, screeching Discord channels, and cliques that come with a more social game, but I’d love to see something that offers cozy co-op instead of the cold mausoleum that the neo-MMORPG group experience often is. Meeting people, doing in-game activities with players on your server, and talking to others were once staples of this genre, and I have some great friends today that I met inside the confines of some of the genre grandfathers.
Above all else, my favorite activity in New World was crafting and gathering elements. There’s a soothing kind of zen meditation that comes over someone after their sacks are filled with iron ore, ready to make some ingots, ammo, and armor. Finding recipes for exciting new dishes, tweaking an item to be absolutely perfect with high-quality ingredients, and making a big sale on something awesome are all highlights of the crafting/gathering cycle. Roaming around dungeons and slaying bosses for item drops has always been a cornerstone of the MMORPG, but there’s nothing quite like making your own god-tier sword. Or just a really great batch of lobster bisque. Sometimes, you just want to catch a rare fish. Other MMORPGs over the years have catered to the crafting and gathering bunch, but New World is quite refreshing in this regard. Tying crafting to built up and controlled cities with tax rates and all that is another daring choice that I’m not sure worked out completely well, like many other systems in the endgame – but I appreciate the willingness to take risks, especially in a genre that’s ridiculously risky to enter at all these days.
There’s no doubt that New World has had a considerable number of serious issues and that the post-launch fervor has died down, but I can’t deny that I had a great time with what was there. After several hundred hours with the game, I’m not playing right now – but the times I had were great, and since it’s not a subscription game, going back will be easy someday should I ever get the inclination. | Read Our Impressions