Amazon Games is staying well clear of the pay-to-win model with its new open-world MMO.
New World includes an in-game store at launch but doesn’t feature character boosts or anything that directly influences gameplay.
The “focus” of the store, according to creative director David Verfaillie, is cosmetic items that players can use to “enhance” the visuals of their characters.
The game has an “enormous library” of different weapons and armors. All the activities players can do in the game, like War, Outposts, Rush, and exhibitions, have “unique” sets of armor and visuals attached to them. But on top of that, there are “some” items the devs plan on selling from the store that will provide alternative visuals for players.
The devs have heard feedback from players and are cautious about the store. “We have definitely heard the feedback from players and our focus is we do not want [New World] to be a pay-to-win experience,” Verfaillie said.
The “emphasis” of the store is on cosmetics at launch, but the devs believe there’s room for “quality of life improvements” in the future that won’t cross into “the pay-to-win territory.”
“We’ll be listening to players and making sure we’re respective of them. We’re going to be focusing on the cosmetic experience at launch,” Verfaillie explained. “We believe that’s something players will enjoy and definitely doesn’t cross the line. And then we’ll be working with our community to decide where we can go that everyone thinks is fair.”
Players will eventually be able to purchase things like additional storage with real-world money, according to Verfaillie. But everything available in the store will also be obtainable in-game.
“In-game there are ways to increase your storage. But there are some people that may not have the time or want to do the commitment to all those in-game ways,” Verfaillie said. “So, there are just ways that people that are less time-available can keep up with players in certain aspects like that.”
In other words, the devs are continuing to explore “pay for convenience” but are taking a more delicate approach and listening to feedback from the community.
In May 2021, popular streamer and MMO aficionado Asmongold addressed the topic of pay for convenience, criticizing Amazon for its initial microtransaction model. A post outlining the store included features like XP and profession boosts.
“To put it simply, pay for convenience creates a profit incentive to make the game inconvenient,” Asmongold said. “It creates a paradigm that encourages developers to create problems in the game so that they can sell the solutions for them.
“This problem in New World’s case is especially egregious considering the game isn’t even out yet. Why are you even considering pay for convenience in a game that’s not even done? Why not just make it convenient?”
Amazon has now scrapped XP boosts altogether and has opted for a more refined in-game store. But changes to this strategy could come further down the line. Amazon hasn’t ruled out pay for convenience in the future.
New World hit the live servers on Sept. 28, 2021. The standard edition of the game costs $39.99.