New World Developer Diary Explains The Different Ways To Advance In The MMO
In this GameSpot exclusive, the developers of Amazon's MMO breakdown the many systems at work in the open-world game.
Following the launch of the team-based shooter Crucible, Amazon Games is already prepping the release of its next game, the MMO New World. As a high-fantasy game taking place in the magical and unknown land of Aeternum, which looks like it was inspired by colonial-era Americas, the MMO is Amazon's most substantial release. After facing delays from the COVID-19 pandemic, the online game is approaching its launch on August 25, and the developers are opening up more about what players can expect to experience in-game.
In this exclusive for GameSpot's Play For All charity event, we're showing off the latest developer diary for New World, detailing the game's five key progression systems for players to dive into. While the game has been in closed alpha for some time, this is the most in-depth look at the game's mechanics coming straight from the development team. In previous episodes, the developer diaries highlighted faction and invasion gameplay, exploration, and the lore within the world of Aeternum.
For MMO games, it's often the case that you start by selecting a character class and then following through with a series of quests that eventually open up the game's different side-activities and large-scale events. However, New World has a more flexible system in how you make your way through the world, which sets it apart from other online games. Before the reveal of this new developer diary, we spoke with New World's head of player experience Dave Verfaillie and lead UX designer Daniel Henuber about the MMO's approach to progression, along with what they learned from the closed alpha period.
"One of the goals we've had all along is to give players more choice and freedom. For New World, it was about letting players create their gameplay, and that comes from the classless system that we have," Verfaillie said while breaking down the freeform progress system. "In most games, your starting class dictates how you play and what follows after. In our game, you create your class, and you can change it throughout your game. You may start as a melee player, but there's no reason that you couldn't switch to ranged combat, or dabble more in magic. I think that the classless system is one way we allow players to express their agency. But things like the territory game, housing, where you can fully decorate your house, and even just choosing where you put your house is an important statement in a game like New World."
Here's a quick rundown of the key progression systems in the game:
- Leveling Progression: Traditional character growth where you use skill points on different stats to augment your character upon level up.
- Weapon Mastery Progression: Gaining perks and skills from consistent use of weapons.
- Trade Skill Progression: Boosting reputation and player standing from crafting various goods, such as weapon and armor smithing, plant gathering, and jewel crafting.
- Territory Progression: Gaining reputation from various zones around the map will yield your character's bonus effects in that area.
- Faction Progression: Taking on missions from factions will earn you rewards and faction-specific tokens, allowing you access to exclusive items
On July 23, the next phase of New World begins with the closed beta, which will be available for current players in the closed alpha and for those who've pre-ordered the game. The developers stated that they took notice of the way early access players went through the game and the dynamic events with the existing player community. To that end, they wanted to lean further into the freeform nature of jumping in and out of activities to keep things more interesting for players.
"I would say that the social angle of things has always been very, very important to us," said Daniel Henuber. "[For New World], we don't want to make solo play non-viable, but we want to capitalize on the fact that we have all these players in the world, and they're specializing in these different activities thanks to these deep and buried progression mechanics. That example of somebody being able to harvest a particular resource, and then giving it to another player to craft into a cool weapon can benefit both. It definitely strikes at the heart of what we're trying to do. [...] It never gets old to hop into the alpha, and open up the map, and look around the world, and see how the world has changed drastically from the last time you looked, even if that was yesterday, and to see all these places in the world where real players need you."
Over the last two decades, the landscape of the MMO space has seen many games come and go, with only a few remaining in dominance, particularly World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV. This is a risky market, no doubt, and it makes New World something of a gamble for Amazon. Given the success of the early access period, it'll be interesting to see where New World can go after its launch, which the devs state is just the beginning for the game as new content will roll out regularly soon after.
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