New World December Team Update Summarized

New World recently posted a December New World Team Update on their Youtube Channel. The update was presented in an interview format with Greg Henninger, Community Host, interviewing some of the developers and team members from Amazon Games Studios. 

The topics covered included:

Introduction
New Year, New World 
Bugs, Bots, & Bans
Winter Convergence
New Feature: Mutators
Balance & Tuning
New Weapons
Late Game Progression
Quests and Lore

Below is a summary of the items discussed during the Team Update, as well as major takeaways of the video listed below. You can also view the original video below. 

Major Takeaways

  • PTR is going to be utilized more in the future. Longer testing periods will happen in order to receive more player feedback and help mitigate issues from hitting live.
  • The team did not have enough time to implement player feedback from the November PTR test. This will change moving forward as the PTR is more heavily utilized
  • The Forums are the best place to provide feedback
  • Server Mergers are going well
  • Both PvP & PvE are equally important aspects for the long term health of New World
  • There are no automatic bans on mass reports. Reports are reviewed by actual humans and decisions for bans are made accordingly. 
  • Dungeon Mutations are coming with the January Update 
    • 10 levels of difficulty
    • Will be able to run the multiple times a day
    • The key to get in a mutator will be universal
    • Doing high level Mutators will give reward you with a new resource needed to upgrade specific weapons. This will be needed to complete the higher level mutators.
  • The Blunderbuss will be the next weapon added to the game
  • The Greatsword is coming soon
  • Daggers are in the works but other weapons are priority above them 

Introduction

During the introduction Greg Henninger sat with both Scot Lane, Game Director, and Rich Lawrence, Studio Head. 
The introduction consisted of Scot Lane giving a big thank you to the players for all the feedback up to this point, and began addressing the speed at which patches and updates have been introduced into New World. 

Rich Lawrence stated that there has been 19 patches since release and stated that they are trying to balance new features and fixes, however they have a rate limit to the updates and they think they have been moving a little too fast. Moving forward they are going to focus on a few less features, but make them deeper, bigger, and deliver them to players with less bugs. 

Greg Henninger also asked if the Public Test Realm will help with issues moving forward, and Rich stated that the PTR will be used continuously moving forward. They do not want to introduce new features without them being thoroughly tested and obtaining feedback from the players.

Scot Lane tacked on saying that for the November release they did not have enough time to address issues that the players provided feedback for, but in the December release that changed quite a bit. They addressed many of the concerns and issues that were found during PTR testing and moving forward they are going to add even more time for testing.

Scot Lane also noted that the forums are the best place for players to provide feedback. Many of the forum posts are shared between the team members at AGS daily. 

New Year, New World

This segment’s focus was about the vision and future of New World. Greg, along with Scot Lane the Game Director, Dave Verfaillie the Creative Director, and Charles Bradbury the Art Director.


Scot stated that the vision for New World at the highest level was a world where both PvE and PvP players wouldn’t just co-exist, but support each other. He said they would like to give players the opportunity to overthrow tyrants or absent leaders. 

He stated that both PvP and PvE are hugely important to the longevity of New World, and neither is more important than the other. There’s a lot more story to tell within Aeternum and a lot more to uncover. 

Dave stated that the possibility of Corrupted Breaches affecting PvP in some way could be something that comes into the game in the future. He also stated there are more Expeditions coming into the game in the future, more events are coming, and they want to begin to support small-scale PvP as well. 

Charles, the Art Director, stated that there is quite a lot of variety to the world and they want to keep building on that by adding new cultures coming to Aeternum which would bring a new look and feel with new outfits and landscapes. New Zones would mean new adventures with new Aesthetics. 

Scot stated that Dungeon Mutators are coming in January. February will be devoted to bugs, balance, and bots. 

Bugs, Bots, & Bans

This segment was led by Greg and he was joined by Katie Kaszynski Senior Producer, Scot Geiser the Game Engineer, and Rich Lawrence the Studio Head. 
Rich discussed the ban system and stated that EAC is the first line of defense against cheating. If you are running a 3rd party cheat you will be banned. Harassment will often get a suspension for the player for a specified amount of time, and things like throwing a war will result in a ban. 

Rich also said that there is never an automatic step from player reports to bans. Every appeal is investigated and the course of action taken against the player is dependent upon player impact.

Katie stated that if you’re a repeat offender of suspensions, temporary bans, and other discipline then that will eventually result in a permanent ban. 

Scot stated that all player reports are maintained and reviewed. He confirmed that bans are not based on mass reports, and because of this it can take a little longer to remove bots from the game. 

Rich confirmed that there are still bots in the world, but they have banned thousands of others and they are constantly working to eliminate all the bots from the game, which will be an ongoing effort. 

Rich stated that you will not be banned for pointing out an exploit in the game, however, players will be punished if you’ve performed the exploit multiple times prior to reporting it. Testing and trying to perform the exploits on the PTR is encouraged so the team can fix them before they are pushed live. 

Winter Convergence

For this segment Greg was joined with Mike Willette the World Experience Lead, Rob Chestney the Narrative Lead, and Phil Bolus the Open World Lead.
Mike Willet began by explaining the Winter Convergence event. You can read about that event here

Rob gave some insight on the Lore about the Winter Convergence Event. He stated that the aim was to make the event something light and fun because Aeternum is such a dark place in almost every other regard. He stated they gained influence from many cultures when creating the event. 

Rob gave some insight on the rewards that players can obtain during the event. You can see all of those rewards here

New Features: Mutators

In this segment Greg is again joined with Mike Willette the World Experience Lead, Rob Chestney the Narrative Lead, and Charles Bradbury the Art Director.
Greg asked “What are mutators and how do they work?”

Mike stated that mutators are augments to elite AI and named AI in Expeditions. These are on a weekly scheduled cadence that go through different rotations, and they are presented as challenges to the players. They are a great way to test out your gear and increase your power level. Each week you will be able to take on an Expedition with a new set of Mutations and Challenges. 

You will sign up at the war board. You can see your challenges within the Expedition at the board so you can get prepared. Each type of mutation presents a new and unique challenge.
They are currently exploring ways to incorporate mutations into Invasions and Outpost Rush. 

Charles stated that there will be a new unique set of rewards that will be incorporated with the mutations. New unique sets with new visuals so you can show off your accomplishments with your gear. 

Mike stated that there will be 10 difficulty levels each time you run a mutation for the week. Each time you pass a certain score threshold you will unlock the next mutation level. Each time you run the expedition you will receive rewards and the rewards will be better the higher the difficulty of the mutation. 

Unlike vanilla expeditions, the keys for mutations are universal. Once you have a mutation key you will be able to run any mutation. The goal is to have mutations an easily accessible PvE activity that can be done multiple times a day. 

Mutations are slated to release in the January update. 

Balance and Tuning

This segment is centered around the February release and how balances and adjustments are coming into the game. Greg is joined  by Katie Kaszynski Senior Producer, Scot Geiser the Game Engineer, and Dave Hall the Player Experience Lead. 
Dave was asked how he determines if a weapon is overpowered. He said they monitor all aspects of the game and monitor player activity. If the majority of players are using a particular weapon then that weapon is dug into to determine if adjustments need to be made. 

Dave also stated that he feels like the fire staff and ice gauntlet are in a pretty good place. They are looking at buffing the fire mage side of the tree, and the ice gauntlet’s CC is planning on being buffed. 

Player feedback from the PTR is taken from the team and analyzed with all the combat design team. They will then take that information and discuss which issues need to be pushed to the forefront. 

Dave also wanted to point out that this is still the beginning of the lifespan of the game. Balance and adjustment will be an ongoing aspect throughout the life of the game, but the changes will become more subtle as the life of the game progresses. 

Scot addressed bots in Outpost Rush. He stated they are actively working on removing the bots by implementing several new things. One of those is the way scoring works in OPR. They have changed the scoring to no longer allow assist sharing among your team. This will help mitigate the bots from receiving score and receiving rewards for the match. 

Katie addressed items being left out of the patch notes. She stated that things are never intentionally left out of the patch notes. However, there are a lot of changes each patch and they are working to streamline their patch note process to help alleviate these issues in the future. She reiterated that there is never a situation where items are intentionally left out of the patch notes. 

New Weapons

This segment Greg is joined by both Dave Verfaillie the Creative Director, and Dave Hall the player experience lead. 
Dave V stated they really try to bring in weapons that bring new gameplay styles into the game when deciding on new weapons. He also said filling gaps with current playstyles is also very much looked at. 

Greg asked how the blunderbuss differs from the musket.  Dave H stated that the blunderbuss will be added to the game soon. He said that the blunderbuss has more excitement, exploviness, and much more run and gun style than the musket. He said it’s going to be a good pairing with melee weapons. 

Greg asked if they could give any information about the Greatsword. Dave V confirmed that it is, in fact, coming into the game and they are working on the different types of abilities that could be implemented with the weapon. He mentioned that one possibility is having various stance types with the weapon. 

Greg also asked about Daggers and if they were coming to New World. Dave H said that daggers are definitely a crowd favorite and they have a lot of different weapons coming into the game after the greatsword (so it appears we are getting blunderbuss then greatsword based on that info). He said daggers are near the front, but not quite at the top. 

Greg asked when can players use a shield and another single handed weapon. Dave H said that has not made the table yet and is still quite a way off. He said that’s quite a large endeavor to make happen, and they want to fill the void with other weapons before going down that path. 

End Game Content

Greg was joined by both Dave Verfaillie the Creative Director and Phil Bolus the Open World Lead.
They were asked why they decided to remove the high watermark system. Dave V stated they wanted players to have more control over which item they could advance in the game, and to provide more variety for the end game activities. They wanted players to experience many different activities in the game versus strictly doing elite runs. 

Greg also asked why they decided to downscale gear versus raising the gear score cap to a new cap. Phil said that when they looked at the gear score system very few players had actually maxed out their expertise and they wanted to address that portion before raising the gear score. 

He also said that when they do raise the gear score they want to make sure they add that with some more meaty content. They want to make sure that there is a purpose to get above 600 gear score. 

Greg asked how they see these changes affecting crafters. Dave V responded that they want crafters to be able to participate but in their own way. They do not want to force them into other activities. Their goal is for crafter progression to still feel rewarding.

Phil also discussed the timeless shard system and how many gypsum it takes to craft casts. You can read more about timeless shards here, and the Gypsum system here

Quests and Lore

Greg was joined by Mike Willette the World Experience Lead, Rob Chestney the Narrative Lead, and Charles Bradbury the Art Director.
They are planning on adding more quests in the future and plan to make them more fun and impactful moving forward. They are adding destructible objects, wave event encounters, and traversal puzzles to quests and are finishing up the first chapter of the main story soon. 

They are also adding new NPC’s in the wild with new quests, some will be trade skill and weapon skill oriented. 

Art and POI’s are being updated to tell more of the environmental story within Aeternum. 

The travel time and flow of quests are being addressed by adding more spirit shrines, and the distance traveled modifier is being removed from fast travel costs to help the traversal time between quests. 

The mystery behind Aetermun is the core idea behind the lore. This is something that will be built upon throughout the life cycle of New World. 

Rob stated that there will definitely be new iconic characters coming into New World in the future. 



About the Author:
BDLG is 1 of the 3 founders of StudioLoot. You can find BDLG on Twitch every Tuesday - Friday from 8:00am CST to 1:00pm CST, and creating content on the StudioLoot YouTube channel. 

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