Amazon announced the release of New World in May 2020 at the Game Awards 2019. On this occasion we conducted an interview with Game Director Scot Lane at MeinMMO.
Scot told us that New World had received a major overhaul last year.
Here's a quick overview of the biggest changes New World has undergone since 2018 before its upcoming release:
- the forced PvP and also the survival elements are removed
- PvP can now be switched on and off in Open-World via the "Drop-in" function. So if you want, you can completely avoid PvP.
there are NPCs now that give you quests.
- Mass battles can be played either in PvP against others or cooperatively against AI opponents.
- there are now 3 factions in the game, which you can join
- Weapons now get skill trees that are strongly based on RPGs. There will still be no character classes.
- In general, the MMO is now more accessible, the combat system is faster and more fluid, and a lot of PvE content has been added.
So between 2018 and 2019 a lot has happened in Amazon's MMORPG. During this time it was surprisingly quiet around New World. With all the major revisions to the game, it's now self-explanatory why.
Scot then explained to us in an interview how these big changes came about.
Forced PvP disturbed too many testers
For a long time PvP was a big topic around New World, which apparently some did not like in the planned implementation. Originally, it was supposed to be possible to attack other players anytime, anywhere in the world. Especially hard PvP should have become a strong focus of the game. They wanted to appeal to hardcore MMO players.
The fact that the developers now decided to remove an apparently so important core element of the game came as a surprise. That's why it was one of the first topics we talked about with Game Director Scot Lane.
MeinMMO: "We know from our preliminary talk that you removed forced PvP from New World. Why did you decide to do that?"
Scot Lane: "We learned in our early alpha tests that many MMO players wanted more content on the one hand, and they didn't like the Open World gank fest on the other. That made them lose the fun of New World.
So what we did was add more direct content. We added quests, objectives, missions, and community goals. We're more of an Open World MMO now, instead of a sandbox like it was before.
We now have PvP in play as a voluntary "opt-in" feature."
PvP comes with on/off switch
Scot explained to us how PvP now works in New World. You can imagine it as a switch that switches between PvP and PvE.
You can activate or deactivate PvP in your settlement or house. If you have just activated PvP, anyone anywhere in the Open World can still attack you. If you have deactivated it, then New World is a pure PvE experience.
At the same time, the Game Director explained that there are now three factions in the game. You join one of them and they will support PvP in a different way. With the factions you take territories and defend them as well.
Mass Battles Now at the Heart of PvP and PvE
So the hard focus of PvP is gone. But New World also wanted to make a name for itself as an MMO in which there are huge mass battles between the players. We went to see if there was a solution for PvE players here as well.
MeinMMO: "So far it looked like only players would fight each other in mass battles with the PvP focus. Now, is war with AI possible with the new PvE direction?"
Scot Lane: "Yes, you can do both. If you're a fan of PvP, we have 50v50 battles in which players attack a fortress to gain control. That's still there, you can keep fighting or not fighting, just like our PvP in the Open World.
PvE Wars have now been added. If you want to participate, do so, they happen very often. There is a board where you can sign up and participate in the battle. The greater your influence in the area, the greater the chance that you'll be there.
MeinMMO: So is a PvE battle more of a live event? It pops up an announcement in the UI and you can go to the place of the battle?
Scot Lane: "It's even easier. Every territory has a war interface. There's a battle going on at about 9am server time, or whatever time the owner of the area chooses. This war is then announced on a board in the city. Players can then log in and say that they would like to participate in the battle.
This mechanics of signing up for battles is really cool and I think it will also be relevant for streaming and fun to watch. I even know that, we tried it a lot."
Scot added that the three factions could declare each other a war target in PvP. The goal is to take a fortress or an area of the other faction.
PvE players can co-operate in mass battles and then fight hundreds of AI opponents. The AI can also attack areas and settlements, which must then be defended.
The step to Open World seems clever
Talking to Scot, we learned that we don't have to expect a theme park MMORPG at New World right now. The game hasn't experienced such a strong turnaround now.
There are no cinematics to guide us through the story and no linear story quests. The story of the game is explained through book notes and things in the environment, so a typical "Environmental Storytelling".
Notably, the game has shifted away from pure sandbox play to get more directed quests. “There’s a lot more guidance in the game,” Lane tells me. “We’ve added quests, we’ve added quest givers.”
You can now also opt in to factional, open-world PvP, regardless of what sort of server you’re on.
“[I]n the past we’ve had weapons that they’ve had a predefined set of moves and abilities you can do. With this new Weapon Mastery system, players can choose how they want to specialize within a weapon. So whether they want to focus on, for instance, the sword and shield, players can choose to focus on damage, and there’s a set of abilities and possibilities that players can choose to do that. Or they can focus more on working with their team to tank and support them. So it allows players to specialize with weapons, and I think that’s something that’s important. We want players to be able to play the way they want. What’s cool about this is you can combine a little bit from both trees and really create your own playstyle.”
Companies, New World’s guilds, can be formed and can claim land and settlements for their own - all the territories in New World are player controlled - and those players can control things such as the tax rate, crafting fees, upgrades to the settlements and so on. And while many games have a full free-form creation tool to allow Companies to fully build their fortresses, New World has gone away from that, opting for pre-built settlements with predefined layouts.
One of the more interesting aspects of the social structure of New World comes down to the fact that not everyone living in a territory will belong to the same company. You might build your house in a territory governed by another company - yet because you contribute to that settlement you’re going to be invested in its well being. You pay taxes, contribute to the town projects to improve the settlement - you might not belong to the same factions but you belong to the same social system.
"Fifty on fifty, protecting huge forts, attacking them, and warring over territory. But the world hits back too. The monsters don't want you here and as you start to move into their land, they will push back."
"They invade your territory," he says. "Slowly at first, but then more quickly, and you have to step in and defend yourself. Hundreds of AI will move in and try and take over territory, which creates cool social experiences."
Closed Beta access
Secure access to the Closed Beta in April 2020.
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Hello, We are still very much alive and working hard to build new features and content based on all the great feedback we received during our Alpha Test. We have been radio silent until we have exciting new things to share, rather than build a bunch of hype fatigue. (source)
New World and the announced LOTR MMO will both be made in the same studio, but by separate teams. It will not draw resources from New World's development. (source)