The land of Aeternum is a wild, mystical place with a never-ending tide of dangerous inhabitants. From vicious wildlife to undead pirates, massive monsters, or even your fellow adventurers, there’s almost always a reason to keep your weapon at the ready.
Since play testers first arrived in New World, we’ve taken in a massive amount of feedback on our combat system. In an Alpha update released today, we made changes to combat that we’d like to talk about, and we’d like to share our larger vision moving forward. You can read the patch notes or keep reading for a high-level view of the player feedback we’ve received and our plans for addressing it.
OUR VISION FOR COMBAT
At the highest level, we have three design pillars for combat in New World:
We want to emphasize positioning, timing, and aiming in a fast and fluid combat setting that allows player skill to shine on the battlefield.
VISCERAL AND HIGH-IMPACT
Attacks from both players and enemies should have a level of commitment and weight to them. Meaty attacks should have appropriate responses from characters which encourages active defense strategies in encounters.
DEPTH OF SYSTEM AND BUILDS
We want to encourage creativity within the system to find the build that is right for you and your particular playstyle. Our goal is to design and tune the system to reward a wide range of builds and strategies.
Player feedback is an important piece to helping us realize our vision for combat. While feedback varies based on perspective and preference, there are some major trends and themes to what we’ve been hearing from players. Below are some of the biggest points of feedback we have received as well as the steps we have either taken or will be taking to address them.
- Stunlock from light attack spam against either players or AI combatants isn’t fun. Back in October, we added a “free dodge roll” after being hit multiple times by enemies to combat attack spam stunlock. With today’s update, we’re further expanding on that by removing the ability for basic attacks, both heavy and light, to interrupt a combatant. In addition, we’re “chaining” attacks by allowing players to string 2-3 light attacks (depending on which weapon you’re using) together before the chain restarts after a short pause, which will add a bit more of a natural rhythm to basic combat.
- Players want to use their abilities more (aka “Goodbye, Global Cooldown”). The topic of ability use and cooldowns is a source of passionate discussion among players because it defines so much of the feel of moment-to-moment gameplay. In our October Alpha update, we changed cooldowns to be separate for each individual weapon, rather than being shared across weapons. To go along with that, we also slightly sped up weapon switching. While we continue to monitor how this is affecting combat and iterate as needed. The feedback from our current Alpha Testers has been generally positive.
- Weapon, block, and skill hit detection needed improvements. In an active, action-based combat system, the accuracy of hit detection is a huge deal and is one of the most difficult issues to address on a grand scale. We are constantly looking into improvements for hit detection and synchronization; some of those will be implemented in the near future, and we’ll keep striving to improve in this area.
- Weapon balancing is crucial.While the Hatchet was far and away the worst offender during the Preview event, weapon balancing is always going to be at the forefront of mind when making changes to combat. As you may have seen in our previous updates, we have been making changes to the balance of weapons and skills, and we will continue to do so in the future.
- AI was able to interrupt players too frequently. While we want PvE encounters to feel challenging and have real threat. Too many enemies were too good at interrupting players, which could lead to combat feeling less fluid. In October, we introduced a cooldown reset if a skill gets interrupted and in the future we plan to implement more changes to the AI system as a whole to address the root of this issue.
- Healing other players is surprisingly hard. In our November Alpha release, we introduced targeted healing to make the Life Staff easier to use when playing in a group. We are further improving the user experience for healing in today’s release, with even more tuning planned in the future.
- Body blocking makes ranged damage inconsistent in group play. We want positioning and spacing to matter for combat. We currently don’t allow players to shoot through each other. However, we’ve recently introduced a dynamic scaling function for enemies. Elite and other high-profile targets are now easier to hit at range even when engaged in melee combat with other players.
- Ability input needs to allow players to react to changing combat conditions. In action-based combat, being adaptable in an ever-changing situation is key, and some of the feedback we received suggested that our skill queueing system, as it existed previously, needed adjustment. As you fight, you are inputting actions. Those inputs are sorted into a queue (or buffer) that “remembers” what skill you want to start using next—in this way, you can queue one attack slightly before the previous one ends, which results in a more fluid feeling to combat. Today’s update includes a clean-up of input buffers, which should make ability use more consistent and allow players to better react to new developments on the field of battle. We’ll continue monitoring the situation and see what other changes may be necessary as time goes on.
We will continue to refine combat by adding a larger variety of weapons, fine-tuning abilities and skills, making adjustments to existing systems, and adding new systems to push the envelope even further. Be sure to check out the December Alpha release notes for a detailed breakdown of today’s changes. As we continue development, we’ll keep you updated on our social channels and website with future updates.
The land of Aeternum is a dangerous place and combat is key to survival in this wild and treacherous land. The December Alpha Release, Forge and Fury, focuses on improving the combat experience within New World (you can also read about our vision for combat in our new blog post). We’ve tuned core combat systems, added a new weapon and type of shield, and introduced the oft-requested PvP duel system.
NEW WEAPON: GREAT AXE
The Great Axe is a new two-handed melee weapon that excels at large, sweeping attacks. While training with the Great Axe, adventurers will be able to progress two mastery trees:
- The Marauder weapon mastery tree focuses on high damage and multi-hit abilities to hack and slash your way through your foes.
- The Reaper weapon mastery tree focuses on crowd control and escape prevention. These skills will help you control the flow of the battle while your allies dispatch those who have have caught in your grasp.
The Great Axe will have 2 crafted weapon perks specific to it in addition to the perks that are broadly applicable to other weapons.
LEGENDARY GREAT AXE QUEST
You can also go on an epic quest for the legendary Great Axe, The Reformation.
- Level 60 adventurers can speak to Ranger Herb in Edengrove to begin this quest.
- Recover the components needed to create this powerhouse and then deliver them to Ranger Madaki in Mountainhome.
We want to give players a fun, consequence-free way to practice PvP combat and interact with each other:
- Duels can be initiated by any player over level 10, regardless of faction or PvP flag status.
- Duels cannot be initiated in settlements or during Wars or Invasions.
- Players can initiate a duel by hovering over another player’s name in chat or a social menu and clicking “Invite To Duel,” or by entering “/duel [playername]” in chat.
- Outside interference will end a duel.
- You can duel solo or in groups of up to 5 players per side.
Unleash your inner legionary with the the new Tower Shield. The biggest and most powerful shield in New World to date, the Tower Shield can tank all but the greatest of blows from your enemies.
LEGENDARY TOWER SHIELD QUEST
Players can gather components to craft the legendary Tower Shield Rook’s Defense.
- Level 60 adventurers can speak to Ranger Wardell in Edengrove to begin this quest.
UPDATED SHIELD MECHANICS
We’ve updated the way shields work for both armor and equipment calculations to.
- Shields now add to your armor in addition to block chance.
- Note: Shield armor bonus is only applied when the shield is unsheathed and being wielded.
- Shields now always contribute to your total equipment weight.
We made some large changes to address combat feedback from the Preview event. For more details on the feedback and why these changes were made, we suggest checking out our article about our vision for combat in New World.
- Removed interrupts from light and heavy attacks for all weapons.
- Light attacks now have chains, or strings of attacks that culminate in an ending attack, after which there will be a slight delay before the chain begins again.
- For all weapons except for the Hatchet, light attacks chain together twice. Hatchets chain 3 light attacks together before resetting the chain.
- The recovery time after being hit with a light or heavy attack has been reduced.
- Adjusted input buffers so delayed actions happen much less often.
- “Input buffers” are an invisible system that allows players to start inputting their next action before their current action has completed - as an example, if you press Q to use a ability right after using the Right Mouse Button to do a light attack, your Q ability may execute a short while after you pushed the button for it, because your character was still completing their previous action. The input buffer allows small windows of time where a next move can be queued to keep combat moving and feeling fluid. Today’s update made the time window for each input buffer shorter so that you’re less likely to wind up committing to a queued action that is no longer relevant due to changing battle conditions.
- Reduced the amount of stamina damage that light attacks do versus blocking and Grit attacks.
- Reduced the recovery time after certain abilities.
- Players can now consistently cancel out of light and heavy attacks to begin abilities sooner - immediately after the attack’s active frames.
- Players can now cancel out of light and heavy attacks to dodge sooner - a few frames after the attack’s active frames have completed.
- Players can now cancel out of certain abilities sooner.
- Players can now cancel out of dodges sooner.
- Can now cancel out of attacks to begin blocking sooner.
- Removed the locked animation frames from blocking to allow for more free-flowing combat.
- We have adjusted a number of abilities in attempt to give each a primary focus. The goal is for each ability to have a clear purpose, such as sheer damage, applying a status effect or crowd control, damaging an enemy’s Grit, etc.
CRITICAL HIT SYSTEM (PART 2)
- Updated backstabs and critical hit indicators to match the visual look of headshot indicators for more visual consistency.
- Added sound effects to help signal when critical hits happen.
TARGET HEALING UPDATES
- Added a visual effect to highlight that players can self-cast using CTRL + the ability hotkey.
- Added new visual effects to highlight which player is currently being targeted.
- Added options to the Gameplay Settings menu to allow players to customize their healing experience. Specifically, these settings allow players to refine their settings for how healing spells are targeted and how the camera behaves while targeting another player for healing.
- Spreadshot damage reduced 15% and cooldown increased to 22 seconds.
- Rapid Shot cooldown increased to 20 seconds.
- Evasion Shot cooldown decreased to 15 seconds.
- Penetrating Shot cooldown decreased to 18 seconds.
- Added 2 new Shield-specific perks. These are applicable to all types of shield.
Most of the UI team’s recent work has been on projects intended for future releases, but there are two areas seeing substantial updates in this release:
- We overhauled the presentation of tooltips. Our goal was to make them more compact, while making the categorization of information more clear and legible at a glance. We also show a few more combat stats, and we have taken a tuning pass at making tooltips more responsive.
UI POLISH PASS CONTINUES
- We are continuing to add updates to the UI in key places like the NPC Dialog screen and Settings, but there are also small changes to various UI components across the game. We are striving to make interactive components more eye-catching and legible at-a-glance.
PROGRESSION & REWARDSPROGRESSION
- Adjusted the leveling curve from levels 1 through 10 to better match the pace of quests.
- Rested experience so that it now starts accumulating after 12 hours (increased from 8 hours) and accrues at 2% per hour (decreased from 2.5%).
- Reduced XP from PvP Missions by 10%.
In this patch, we made a set of item changes to pave the way for future crafting system changes. We’ve added in new gathering milestones, resources, and crafting reagents. In a future update we’ll talk more about how these item changes fit into the overall crafting vision.‘
NEW ZONE: REEKWATER"Life and death shake hands here."
This vast, densely wooded, supernatural swamp was given the name “Reekwater” by fisherfolk, who gathered there to take advantage of the area’s many prime fishing spots. The name stems from the pungent and sickly sweet smell of decay that pervades the entire region. The original settlement, Bayou Village, was seen by its builders as a “new Venice,” built on the submerged ruins of an Ancient residential district. Those grand hopes were shattered with the arrival of the Siren Queen's flotilla and her rapid expansion of power. The settlers of Reekwater were forced almost entirely out of the territory—and those unable to leave or hide were dragooned into work crews for the Siren Queen. Her reach stretched across most of Reekwater, even as both she and her crew became Lost. Now, she has turned her sights on the Angry Earth, capturing them to drive her plans as she desperately searches for any way to regain her lost soul, an all-consuming quest that forces her to take greater risks for any chance of success.
REEKWATER STORY QUESTS
New Quests and NPCs lead you on a path to discover the origins of these Azoth infused waters, the life cycle of the Dryads, and the role the Ancient Guardians played in this region of Aeternum.
What’s a new zone without new creatures to test your skills against? We’ve added the following new enemies, with more still to come in later updates.
- 4 Swamp Dryads - Angry Earth creatures who use the power of the bog and azoth to fight the player.
- Undead Pirate Brute - Imagine the brute as a pirate with a cannon on his back... Enjoy!
- 2 Swamp Fiends - One of these fiends charges toward the player and explodes, while the other prefers to overwhelm unwary adventurers with a flood of melee attacks.
- Creepers - A new type of tendril with some new attacks and strong poison damage.
- Sufferance of the Elders - A swamp version of the beast that pulls minions from the ground. Throws a mean spike.
- The Protector of the Source - A boss version of the Sufferance of the Elders, with increased difficulty. The Protector consumes minions to grow stronger and throws out homing spikes.
NEW SKILL: FISHING
Life on Aeternum is hard. Sometimes you want to slow down, relax a little, and enjoy the beauty of the world. There’s no better way to do that than by terrorizing some fishes with a pole in your hand and a bucket of fish bait at your side.
- Added Fishing as a new gathering skill.
- Added a wide array of fish to all the waters (fresh and salt!) of Aeternum.
- Added fishing rods as a new tree within the Engineering tradeskill.
- There are 5 tiers of fishing rods to be crafted.
- There are 11 unique perk types available for fishing rods.
- Added fishing hotspots to greatly increase the bite speed and rarity of fish .
- Your ability to find hotspots increases with your Fishing Skill
- Gather, cook, and loot to find bait that increases your chance of catching rare fish.
The first inhabitants of Reekwater found the marshy waters teeming with all manner of fish, and quickly set out to map and take advatage of this new and valuable resource. The quality, and quantity, of fish found throughout the area was far superior to any others found across the island, attracting the best and most esteemed fishing enthusiasts on Aeternum.
ENEMY UPDATESNEW THREAT SYSTEM (PART 2)
We want it to be clear which player an enemy will target and provide more ways players can manipulate threat. Read our previous release notes to learn more about the threat system.
- Healing and blocking now generate threat.
- The Sword Mastery tree has been updated to make two abilities generate threat. (Players can expect updates to other mastery trees later.)
- Added a taunt to Shield Bash.
- Added an AoE threat bonus to Intimidating Rush.
ELITE ENEMY SYSTEM (PART 1)
We want our elite and champion enemies to be more challenging and offer unique gameplay twists.
- The elite system allows us to assign 1-3 traits to enemies that vary gameplay. These can be specifically assigned or random.
- There are 3 categories of traits:
- Offensive - includes elemental damage, damage bonus, block damage bonus
- Defensive - includes increased health, increased armor, increased elemental resistance
- Utility - includes explodes on death, frost aura
- We’ll keep adding traits over time.
- We’ve also added an inherent elite buff that all elites and champions will get. This buff makes Grit attacks unbreakable, but reduces the block damage they do (to allow tanks to better handle multiple enemies).
- Difficulty for level 50 combat has been increased across the board. Please note this will require even more tuning moving forward as we continue to refine our end-game.
WEAPON AND BALANCE UPDATESTARGETED HEALING
We’ve added a targeted healing system to make it easier for support players to heal their allies.
- When Healing Pulse or Divine Embrace are activated, the friendly player closest to the caster’s reticle will be locked on. Pressing Left Mouse Button will cast the heal ability on the target. Target lock will disable after cast is complete.
- Target lock can be switched to other friendly players using Mouse Wheel Up and Down or by moving the mouse in the direction of the next friendly player.
- Target lock can be switched to manual targeting by pressing Middle Mouse Button/Wheel. Lock can also canceled by canceling Heal ability.
- Users can also self-cast healing spells by holding CTRL and pressing the ability key.
- Note: in a future build we will further refine targeted healing and modify the HUD to easily identify healing targets in and out of groups.
CRITICAL HIT SYSTEM
We’ve added more ways for players to diversify their builds.
- All weapons have been assigned a critical hit chance. Currently they range from 3-5% depending on weapon, but expect more variation and weapons focused on critical hits in the future.
- All weapons also have a critical hit modifier which determines the extra damage they do when they do crit.
- Critical hits and backstabs don’t currently get called out in damage text with orange color like headshots do, but they will next release!
- Note: we will also add perks that modify crit chance and modifier in the future.
- Trap cooldown increased to 30 seconds.
- Smite upgrades changes:
- Decreased the bonus damage of Empowered Smite to 15%.
- Decreased the additional bonus damage of Ultimate Smite to 25%.
- Increased the slow effect duration from Intimidating Rush to 4 seconds.
- Note: Please see New Threat System above for further Sword changes.
Our nameplate system currently has three levels of details (LODs): Full, which shows everything; Medium, which shows the name and guild crest but hides other non-key info like the Chat Bubble; and Small, which is just the small diamond version.
- The new default setting displays 5 Full, 10 Medium, and 31 Distant. (Previously, only 1 Full, 4 Mediums, and 15 Distant nameplates would be displayed at once.)
- We have also added a setting for number of nameplates displayed, so you can decide how many nameplates you want to see at once according to your taste (and what your PC can handle).
PINNED QUEST UPDATES
- You can now pin 6 quests instead of 3.
- Pinned quest icons on the map are indicated by a pinned icon, making them easier to spot.
- The Weapon Mastery tutorial for new characters has been tuned slightly to make it more clear how ability slotting works.
- Visual effects (VFX) have been added to abilities when they are slotted in the Mastery screen.