Here’s what we learned during the New World closed beta

Just weeks from its official launch Amazon's entry into the MMO genre is far from perfect but there is plenty to like.

Image via Amazon Studios

New World started its closed beta phase on July 20, giving fans who pre-ordered Amazon’s entry into the MMO genre the chance to jump into the action first. Lasting almost two weeks, this test seems to have been a success with the game boasting a peak concurrent player count of over 200,000 users after first launching.

With this large influx of people, there were unexpected issues for some players. Still, there was plenty of time to be had in the world of Aeternum.

But now, with the beta test coming to an end in preparation for the game’s launch on Aug. 31, what did we learn about New World? And what state is the game in right now? Here are some of our major takeaways from the closed beta phase of Amazon’s New World.

The good

Image via Amazon Studios

There’s a lot to like about New World and how it intends to spice up the MMO genre as a whole. From the moment players enter the game, they’re greeted with some of the best aspects it has to offer, as well as a pleasantly helpful tutorial questline to ease you in before continuing on.

No more classes

One of the key features that makes New World stand out among its contemporaries is the move away from a class system in favor of weapon-based progression. As a player uses a specific weapon, they’ll level it up and gain access to new abilities along the way. But a player can switch to something new at any time.

This lets players change up their playstyle and try out new things without the need to completely level a new character. It also benefits players in combat by being able to switch between two equipped loadouts. You’ll need the right stats to compliment your chosen weapon, however, but you can reset your stat points and choose a different path as much as you like before level 20—and for a small cost afterward.

Weapons in New World seem to be relatively well-balanced right now and offering a way to change things up as you go is a refreshing feature.

PvP Ambitions

The PvP aspects of New World were some of its biggest focuses—and it showed. Engaging in PvP is easier than ever with a toggle available from level 10 that will allow you to opt in or out of PvP as you adventure through Aeternum.

Having the ability to PvP is a great way to spice up the tedious questing grind, and when it works, dueling against other players is a lot of fun. The faction-based War mode is also a nice addition and, aside from some issues with PvP combat, proves to be enjoyable.

Crafting

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New World boasts a bigger focus on crafting than any of its competitors, and it’s executed flawlessly. When you begin playing, you’ll learn the basics of the crafting system, gathering materials, and the importance of having supplies.

While crafting is mostly used for having the right items, the system also doubles as a way to introduce purpose to those tedious gathering quests, which you’ll be doing plenty of.

The one knock on crafting in New World is that when it comes to player gear, crafting just isn’t necessary. Players can easily purchase gear from vendors that’s as good as or in some cases better than what can be crafted.

The visuals

New World stands above all others in the genre when it comes to visuals. From the moment you hop into the world of Aeternum, you’re greeted by beautiful landscapes and well thought-out enemy designs.

As you progress further into the lusher parts of Aeternum, the impressive design style is on full display and most definitely one of the game’s highlights.

Communication

Another feature that isn’t common in MMO games but makes an appearance in New World is in-game voice communication. At any time, a player can begin speaking to those around them through their microphone. This proves to be helpful when trying to coordinate expedition groups or communicating fights during these modes.

The price

For those who are looking to pick up an MMO casually or want the option to take breaks from playing without being forced to pay out a subscription, New World is the perfect option for you since it only requires a one-time purchase of $39.99 USD to get going in the game. Right now, simply purchasing the game will grant players access to all of its content. This could change with expansions, however.

The bad

Image via Amazon Games

Though the beta was inspiring in many ways, it wasn’t without its flaws—and some of them were far more apparent than others. Once players pass the initial stages of the game, the problems begin to pile up. Amazon will need to try to address them before New World’s launch.

PvP issues

With New World leaning heavily on PvP as one of its main mechanics and a key selling point for the MMO, something needs to be done to polish its combat. Right now, engaging in PvP is hit or miss. Sometimes, you’ll be able to successfully hit your target, and others, you’ll miss or the blow just won’t register.

This problem is accentuated when players get involved in group PvP, where these issues are taken up a notch.

PvE issues

The biggest problem with PvE is the lack of variety. The game doesn’t have the biggest range of enemies and you’ll notice the same species appearing with a spin on their name and strength to suit the new area as you progress.

The lack of variety is also prevalent through the game’s biggest PvE experience, expeditions. During these five-man dungeon-like adventures, you’ll encounter bosses with few fight mechanics, which makes defeating them as simple as grouping around the enemy and having a decent healer keep the team alive.

While these can be challenging at lower levels, once you’ve been through them a couple of times and have higher-level items, the difficulty dissipates. With only a few to complete, you’re left doing the same expedition over and over, however, it isn’t clear if the beta only had a limited amount of expeditions, meaning there may be more on launch.

The leveling grind

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leveling makes the game drag substantially and has players completing the same type of quests hundreds of times. Even if you want to stick to the game’s main story, you’ll be forced to grind side quests to keep up with levels. One factor that makes the grind so punishing is that between expeditions, there isn’t much fresh content to complete while leveling up.

These issues can be fixed by tweaking the XP that players earn from quests or reducing the required XP to level up. But something needs to be done or this leveling pace will surely turn away players before they’re able to experience the full scope of what New World has to offer.

Crafting gear isn’t worth it

While there’s a nice variety of gear in the game, there’s no incentive to head out and acquire any resources when you can purchase the best gear from your faction vendor. Right now, you can basically use faction gear throughout the entire game, which limits the use of the incredible crafting system in the game.

There need to be more incentives implemented to players for crafting instead of simply purchasing weapons from vendors.

Poor servers

During the beta test, New World’s servers encountered several issues. While the influx of players created unprecedented demand and some problems were to be expected, others were unacceptable for a game just a few weeks away from its official launch. On top of massive queues just to get in, there were countless crashes forcing players back into the queue and invisible objects appearing during gameplay.

Amazon needs to address the issue of farming the same mob, too. Right now, if you’re waiting to take out a specific storyline enemy along with a group of other players, only those who deal significant damage or are partied with someone who does so will get the kill complete. Everyone else who wasn’t able to deal a lot of damage due to its instant death will need to wait for it to spawn before trying their luck again. This can be fixed by simply granting the kill to all players who tag the mob and will free up these zones from being cluttered by players.

To much running

Traveling the world of Aternum becomes a chore around the level 11 mark when you’re forced to run back and forth between the same locations to join and hand in quests. There’s a fast traveling system in some areas to speed things up, but this mechanic has its own problems. There’s a low cap on how much energy can be accumulated and a high cost to use it.

Mounts are something that the community has brought up and devs seem to be interested in the idea, but it isn’t within their immediate plans. This could be introduced to aid the issue in a future update.

The unfinished

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Just weeks away from its launch, it’d be hard to dispute that New World is unfinished. The game has a sheer lack of content, variety, and issues that could make or break its success. Shipping an unfinished game has become common practice over the past decade and isn’t always a bad thing, but instead a testament to the size of the project itself.

Being an MMO experience, New World needs to remain vigilant in fixing these issues as quickly as it can to ensure its early adopters continue to return to the game. With Amazon at the mantle, fans expect to see the high-quality product a company of its size can produce.

Despite these criticisms, the game is a lot of fun and boasts the potential to be the next big challenger to the MMO throne. Though its beta was a success, the game’s launch on Aug. 31 will be the true test to see if New World can become the new choice. But some drastic changes need to be made between now and then to remedy its issues.