I was encouraged after playing Amazon’s New World MMO yesterday. A few things grabbed me. One, it was much more robust than I’d expected – I realise we were in a fairly controlled testing environment but it handled a 50 versus 50 battle without any kind of hitch. Two, it did it all while running believable collision detection on the server which made a real difference in battle. Three, it was very handsome and the spell effects were wonderful. Four, it was fun. And five, it didn’t feel as out of date as I thought a fairly traditional MMO, in 2020, would.
New World was unveiled at The Game Awards last year. It’s an online world inspired by the Age of Exploration but based around fiction rather than fact. You’re not discovering America but sailing to an island in the Atlantic Ocean called Aeternum instead, a place where a magic called Azoth comes from and shapes the world. It’s a setting that allows the game to have both gunpowder and magic, and swords and arrows.
I realise none of that sounds particularly exciting, but New World has some interesting ideas. The most exciting revolves around territory control, whereby guilds – companies – can own areas other players can live in, levying taxes and building those areas up and, of course, fighting over them. Or, rather, Warring over them. And this is what I got a chance to try: a War, a kind of instanced, 50 vs. 50 fight involving a few capture points and a fort.