Over the past weekend, players got their latest and likely final chance to test out New World, Amazon’s entry into the MMO genre, with an open beta being held ahead of its scheduled release at the end of this month. With only a few short days to get in on the action, the game peaked at 150,000 players, with consistent numbers continuing throughout the weekend.
During the closed beta held in late July, many issues stemmed from server stability while supporting the influx of players, although it seemed the Amazon Games team had immediately fixed this issue and others. As the beta continued, however, it was clear that not all of these issues had been fixed.
New World is scheduled to release in less than two weeks on Sept. 28. Currently, it seems the team has their work cut out for them if they want the game to be finished for launch. We’ll be taking a look at what they improved from the closed beta, what still needs work, and how realistic it is that New World will be in a finished state by its scheduled release date.
What was fixed
During the previous closed beta, New World got a lot of things right. From the weapon system, PvP aspirations, beautiful visuals, and extensive crafting system, there is a lot to praise about this game and with the open beta, some handy changes have been made.
The day before the open beta went live, New World’s team shared a list of patch notes detailing what had changed between the two beta phases. This extensive list remedied quite a few major issues.
The open beta saw a ton of fixes to bugs plaguing different weapons in New World, as well as buffs to some of the choices that weren’t receiving the most love. Weapon animations seem smoother, the majority of weapons are more powerful, and overall changes on the weapon front are looking positive.
Despite these changes, other specifics do seem similar in terms of which weapons are most dominant. Before launch, there need to be some balancing changes to tune things up, notably with the Life Staff and the Great Axe.
PvE fixes and rewards
While there is definitely still work to be done in this area, some problems revolving around AI have been fixed, making the gameplay experience smoother. For the most part, the PvE experience between the two betas has remained the same, with this past weekend boasting fixes to some previous issues.
With its limited timeframe, we weren’t able to reach the later expeditions during the open beta weekend, so we can’t comment on how changes were implemented, although there were likely similar fixes.
One thing to note is that expedition difficulty has been increased to the delight of players who felt they were too easy during the closed beta. Along with the difficulty increase, players seem to receive better rewards, which is a plus.
One of the gripes voiced by some who played the close beta was the slow progression during the earlier sections of the game. In the open beta, this was addressed with the XP required to level up reduced slightly until level 20 and moderately from level 20 to 30.
While the amount may not have been much, it allowed players to quickly progress through the game and test out at least a single expedition before the weekend ended.
On this same token, XP for Town Projects was reduced, which stopped players from only doing these missions to power level. It isn’t clear how these changes will affect leveling when the game is out for an extended period of time, and they’ll likely see further optimization.
Servers seemed to be one of the big improvements between the two betas. But while queue times were mostly non-existent, there were still some small issues.
The majority of issues players faced were actively patched out with server restarts or maintenance, so they didn’t seem to cause too many problems for players. Even so, with an even bigger player base expected at launch, it’s likely we’ll see these bugs continue to arise.
What needs work
While there were some fixes rolled out in the open beta and some that have worked wonders, there are still quite a few problems that should be addressed before launch. These stem from minor bugs all the way to overall performance, as well as some gameplay changes that have had negative impacts on player experience.
Many problems that did remain from the closed beta test include the lack of enemy variety, limited mobility options, and lack of incentive to craft, but here are the newer or more severe issues that need to be remedied before launch.
One of the biggest changes was the adjustment to PvP scaling. In its current state, PvP scaling seems nonexistent compared to its overcompensation in the closed beta. This has split the community, with many players hating the new lack of scaling. It deters new players from engaging in PvP, while others believe the low scaling benefits the endgame’s zone control mechanics.
The scaling does urgently require work to find a middle ground where the scaling doesn’t rid players of all hope when dueling higher-level players, while still giving higher-level players a leg up.
Bugs are something all games have and are likely to pop up for some time after the launch of a game, though some of these need to be fixed. The smaller ones include a common audio bug limiting sound for some players, animation bugs spawning from a variety of different items and movements, and other minor visual issues.
While those can be fixed as they arise post-launch, more serious issues that need to be addressed include progression bugs that have stopped players from completing story missions, players being stuck in place or within areas that can’t be remedied with the “Stuck” feature, and the common “retreating” bug that makes enemies unable to be damaged, and in some cases, stuck in position.
Many players reported poor performance during this weekend’s open beta. Some simply stated a noticeable drop in FPS compared to the previous beta, while others claimed the game was suffering from clear compatibility issues with some graphics cards.
While no players reported the dreaded bricking on GPUs we saw during the closed beta—since that was the fault of component manufacturers, not Amazon—there still needs to be fixes rolled out to performance before launch. Otherwise, it could deter some players from picking up the game altogether.
The final product
Is New World in a fair state to launch? Yes, but that may speak less about the current state of the game and more to the climate of gaming, where we’ve come to expect games to ship incomplete.
New World in its current state is still a playable and mostly enjoyable endeavor with a ton of potential, though its obvious flaws could deter early adopters from sticking with it past the initial launch hype.
As with any MMO, a consistent and committed player base is necessary to stand the test of time, and more than others, New World’s ambitious ecosystem relies heavily on returning players. All the focus around territories and massive PvP battles will only get the game so far if there aren’t enough large-scale rival communities to compete over land. But in its current state, it isn’t clear if the game can achieve this.
What New World does well is take players into an expansive world with plenty of exploration, many game modes, playstyles, and beautiful visuals to hook you in. Even with these highest of highs, the glaringly obvious problems come from a laundry list of bugs, lack of variety, and gameplay balancing that needs optimizing.
While the game is not yet finished, that doesn’t mean it can’t have a successful launch. Most MMO titles launch in some incomplete state and begin to grow closer to completion over time. Fortunately for those excited to explore Aeternum, it looks like there is a committed team behind the game who have pushed through delay after delay to try and deliver their best work. Even after launch, New World will likely continue to receive improvements, and one day it may be the finished game players are hoping for.