New World has grown on me quite considerably. Like a lot of people, I've been dipping my toes into New World from the moment the first open beta was made available back in September.
Ever since the first glimpses of the game were shown off, it looked like a promising new venture into the MMORPG genre, so being able to jump in and test it out myself was an unmissable opportunity for me to see exactly what Amazon Studios had to offer.
Back then, I came away from the game with some serious concerns about the game's longevity. It seemed like there wasn't really enough to grab my attention, since the majority of my time was spent leveling and taking my first steps into the game's many trade skills, it felt like the game wasn't quite where it needed to be.
It was a beta, after all.
Now, having spent a lot of time playing through the game since its release, many of these concerns have drained away from my mind.
There are still areas that could be improved, especially in relation to how New World will look months from now, but the full release has provided me with a clearer picture of what the team is trying to achieve; and it looks promising.
Factions have become a far more engaging timesink
It's no secret that Player vs Player content is a huge part of the game's appeal. In the beta, it felt like we were just getting a taste of the fun that can come from an MMO with that sort of content at the heart of its identity.
Picking a faction only really affected the open-world fights you'd get into, and it felt somewhat aimless; after all, why invest too much time caring about your team when your access to the game would cease in a week or two?
It's great! There's an actual dynamic there, there's the potential for genuinely exciting storytelling that can only occur in an MMORPG like New World.
With this comes the increased importance of companies - the game's version of guilds - where you can join a like-minded group of people from your faction and talk trash about the Marauders all day, or help each other out with quests.
Everyone knew this would be in the game, but playing the beta without these important elements to the game did kind of take the wind out of its sails for me. I'm happy to see that with the game released in full, some of the player-driven wackiness I play MMOs for is saturated here.
An Interesting PvP Meta is starting to develop
Back in the beta, the community only started to scratch the surface of what the meta was. Now, with research and additional time to spend crunching the numbers and fighting other players, we're starting to see an interesting meta form around the game's multiple different weapons and weapon mastery trees.
It's still early days, but we're already seeing weapon combinations rise in popularity in New World, and I can only guess how end-game content like faction wars will affect how people approach combat in the game a month, two months, or even a year from now.
The game has also revealed itself to be fast-paced and exciting, although it's easy to think otherwise if you stick to the early game questing and entry-level PvE content. The game sticks and sword and shield in your hand and tasks you with fending off enemies with only swipes and leaps for a couple of hours after you start your adventure, so it's easy to see where that assumption comes from.
My advice, throw away that sword and shield and mess around with the full scope of weapons in the game. There's real depth in the mix of the robust armour, weapons, and crafting system here.
Professions and Trade Skills
The final aspect that's really got me excited in New World is the super in-depth crafting and gathering. During the beta, we got to mess around with the crazy number of trade skills that are available in the game. I remember this being the aspect of the game I was most optimistic about, as the degree in which each skill played into each other is clear from the get-go.
Now the game's full scope is accessible to players, you can really see that all these skills provide a truly rich experience for players looking to find fulfilment away from fighting enemies in the world or other players. For people with their heart in the crafts, or money-minded trading post fiends, there's a lot to dive into in New World. My optimism here is further cemented by learning how integral professions are to different kinds of content throughout New World.
Take the Corrupted Portals (above) that can spawn randomly across the map. These can only be closed using special items crafted through the games trade skills. You can be a geared-out monster when it comes to fighting in New World, with the best weapons and the best armour, but without someone with skill in the necessary trade, you can't complete the event. Small things like this that maintain the importance of professions tells me we'll see healthy trading communities exist in New World for as long as the game has players.
The game has only just been released, so it's hard to foresee exactly what this game will look like in the future. But having left the beta a little bit worried about how this game would land after delays and some bumps along the way, the game as it is now has shown itself to be a lot more exciting.