New World Review – Is Aeternum Worth a Visit?


by in General | Oct, 4th 2021

New World is the latest MMO to hit the market, so we’re here to travel the land and review it. News outlets did not receive early access to the servers, which in this case does make sense. We don’t want the regions to have particular advantages going in, because a big part of this world is capturing regions. This is Amazon Games’ first major game, and it’s also an MMORPG. That’s a lot of hype to live up to, and they were rewarded with days at a time with 700k+ players accessing the various servers. This leads to a major downside when you try to play at night. Many servers have hundreds of players waiting for 45 minutes to an hour (sometimes longer), and that can be frustrate. Thankfully, New World doesn’t have a subscription fee, only an initial purchase. It does feature a real-money shop, but nothing in it thus far is predatory or pay-to-win that we’ve seen. As of now, it’s all cosmetics and things of that nature. Nothing to give an actual advantage.

This is why, for the purposes of this New World review, I did not review it in the evenings. I have too many things to do in my day to wait for three hours just to play my character. You can play this game as a PVE or a PVP player, but to be honest, it feels like there’s more to do if you’re into PVP. It’s a three-faction game, like Romance of the Three Kingdoms on an island instead of China. Players group into guilds (called Companies) and can take over towns for their faction. There is quite a lot to do in this game though, from crafting, gathering, exploring, completing quests, and of course, PVP. This sounds all very standard for an MMO, but it feels like Amazon’s approach is different nonetheless. It’s incredibly satisfying to wander the land, chop down trees, mine for ore, and slowly amass a fortune. I’m torn on my New World review, though. Why? Let’s get right into it.

In The Beginning:


The beginning of New World is really quite good. Set in the days of Colonial Expansion, our ship gets pulled into a horrifying vortex, and we land on the island of Aeternum. Here, people don’t seem to die when they’re killed. It is also invested with zombies and a corruptive force that slowly covers the land. The character customization is mediocre at best, but I do like the art style and art design of the world. I just wish we had more choices for all people. As this is a classless MMO, you won’t pick a starting race or a starting class. We’re all regular humans, with regular human weapons. And magic weapons.

It’s important to know that New World is a more action-oriented MMO, compared to Hotbar-based MMOs (like WoW, FFXIV). The gameplay reminds me of a more action-packed ESO. If I had to classify it, it’s a Survival MMO. Not in the traditional sense, though. You don’t have to build a house out in the wilderness, but you can purchase homes in the various towns and forts. You spend a great deal of time finding chopping trees, mining ore, and picking potatoes, corn, and squash out of zombie-infested farms. We use all these resources to craft and help build up the towns we call home.

Though I say “Survival”, it’s honestly pretty beginner-friendly. You aren’t tied to annoying mechanics like needing to eat and drink all the time. But you will spend time cooking for rations and meals to heal while you’re on the road. So you’ve made a character, and you’ve gone through the tutorial. It’s a lengthy tutorial but it teaches you pretty much everything you need to know, and I appreciate that. But the biggest part of the game is honestly the combat. Except for some quest rewards. Quest rewards that require you to skin something, only one person can get credit. Quests that simply require killing something, as long as you took part, partied or not, you get credit. This can lead to some waiting, so be prepared for it.

The Faction Factor:


It is so important which Faction you pick early in the game. You can only join Companies of people in your faction, for example. You can’t change factions for 120 days either, so you have to make an informed decision. If you decide to PVP, you can also be ganked by people of the other two factions at any time (outside of safe areas). If you pick a faction that winds up not controlling a lot of territories, the quests that take you into enemy territory become very dangerous. Sure, you can be PKed anywhere, but there are bound to be more of the enemy faction in their home ground. You also represent your faction in Wars, PVP Battles (50v50), and over the control of settlements.

So if you’re going to play with friends, come to an agreement on a faction. The three factions don’t have any real mechanics behind them, just lore. The three factions are the Marauders, Covenant, and Syndicate. 

  • Marauders: A “Ruthless Military Force”, using strength to justify their actions – and secure freedom. 
  • Covenant: A group of fanatical hard-noses, they’re better than you, and they know it. They smite sinners and bring righteousness.
  • Syndicate: The sneaky, intelligent faction, they skulk in darkness and obtain secrets for unknown purposes.

Each Faction has tasks you can perform (side-quests) that give you exp, faction reputation, and a currency. Each group has its own gear, and neither is better than the other. It’s just styled after their faction. 

Immortal Combat:


Combat appears to be pretty divisive among media outlets. It’s pretty simple to get into, but you don’t get a whole lot of options for attacks. You get three buttons for attack skills, and most of them have pretty lengthy cooldowns. You have a Light Attack (LMB), Heavy Attack (Hold LMB), and you can Dodge (Shift, Light/Med Armor), and a weak little juke (Heavy Armor). Makes sense that you can’t dodge roll in plate mail. It makes up for that with higher defensive stats though. You can also block with RMB. Even if you have a Shield equipped, you won’t use it to defend unless you’re wielding a Sword and Shield though.

My character for this New World review has had a shield on their back for nearly the entire game. But unless I’m using the Sword+Shield skillset, I won’t use the shield to block. I just block with my weapon and hope for the best. Frankly, the attack animations feel kind of sluggish when it comes to finding time to block. Blocking in general did not feel rewarding. Then you have your three attack buttons, and that’s combat! Combat might be simple, but it’s still a lot of fun. 

For example, you can cancel attack animations to use other attacks, like your combat skills. This leads to really awesome combat combos, which can absolutely devastate your opponent. It plays very much like a traditional action RPG, and even though most of my time was spent fighting enemies higher level than me, I could win out with patience and planning. Kiting enemies to be clumped together so I could hit them all at once was rewarding. Not to mention, when you die (it’s going to happen), you don’t lose XP, you don’t lose gear. 

You’ll teleport back to the nearest fort/town unless someone comes to res you. It’s not a very long timer though, so in parties, this is preferred. You can also craft campsites to resurrect at. Now, you can’t build a campsite on a Landmark (any area with a name), so you’ll likely see lots of campsites littered on roads and in the grass outside of areas. 

As far as combat goes though, you can wield two weapons and swap between them at will. Each weapon has its own attack types, speed, strength, and abilities/traits. As you defeat enemies with a weapon, you gain mastery with it. Each Mastery Level will give you a trait point to put in for abilities and talents. We talked about that recently here, if you want some builds to try. Leveling up will also give stats, and each stat is built for a series of weapon types – except Constitution. That’s just for Health. It’s a simple, easy-to-grasp system.

Weapons:


Physical Melee: Sword+Shield (Tank), Spear, Great Axe, Great Hammer, Rapier

Ranged Melee: Bow+Arrow, Gun

Magic: Fire Staff, Ice Gauntlet, Life Staff (Healing/Damage)

I like this system after learning it for my New World Review. I’ve swapped out weapons and tried all of them out, which has made my stats kind of a jumbled mess. Thankfully, until level 20, you can respec your stats for free. That way, you have time to try out what you like, then devote yourself to a build that you enjoy playing/you think is powerful. We do have dungeons in this game (Expeditions), so having dedicated tanks and healers is nice. However, you don’t get to queue up like in more modern MMOs. It’s more like older MMOs when you have to use General Chat/Friends List to get people together and meet at the dungeon. Being able to respec when you want is nice, but some builds are just better than others.

PVP in New World feels very good too and feels skill-based after testing it for this review. I’m not the PVPer I used to be, but this game has a lot of it. You don’t have to PVP, but you may feel left out of the overall purpose of the game. There’s so much fun in conquering areas, and grouping with your faction to stomp out enemies that bear a different faction emblem than you. Thankfully, you don’t have to PVP though. You can spend your time crafting, exploring, fighting zombies, whatever floats your boat. However, I will say the enemies for PVE aren’t incredibly varied. That can always change with updates.

The Grind – Experience, Crafting, Everything:


The story is pretty thread-bare in New World, and this makes the overall grind feel kind of boring when playing for this review. The quests are ultimately all the same. Go kill X Evil Creatures, go open X chests/urns/boxes, craft X/Y/Z things. There’s a lot of quests though. You can help improve your towns by doing missions from the Job Board, you can raise your faction rep by completing missions for them, and then there are the wealth of side-quests from the NPCs in each town. You also have a Main Story Quest, and no matter how hard I grinded, I always felt underleveled. It was a fun challenge until I reached the point where I needed to do a dungeon. Then there was nobody around running Armine. 

You also do a lot of running from place to place. There are no mounts, and there’s apparently a lore reason for it. So you have to run across this humongous, vast island. On top of that, no matter what level enemies are, if you get too close, they do aggro. Level 6 Zombies began chasing me, despite being Level 22, and I could two-shot them with a Hatchet. You have Fast Travel to places you’ve been before, but it uses a currency that can be tedious to farm at first (and it has a cap). Running from region to region is really frustrating just to complete one or two quests, then run all the way back again.

While you’re running around, you’ll be farming materials. Bushes, Hemp, Trees, Ore, Fishing Bait, all manner of things. You can only carry so much though until you get more bag space. I spent quite a lot of time around my starting town, building rep with them. It was also a great way to farm resources for crafting. Crafting’s incredibly easy and is honestly pretty awesome. You need to do a little of everything to be successful though. You can keep your crafting materials in the storage for that town, and run around to craft whatever you are working on. 

As you find new things, kill enemies, and craft, you build rep with the region you’re in. Each time that level-up triggers, you can pick a new bonus for that area. Things like fewer taxes for the area, faster gathering speed, more EXP from acts in the region, or more reputation gains. It’s a brilliant system, and keeps me invested in the area I’m in. The systems and combat are really fun in this game, and I don’t especially mind grindy MMOs. The quests and various PVE content points just don’t feel great. It’s a disappointment because this game has been the only time I’ve ever truly enjoyed fishing in an MMO! I will say though that the resources feel spread out across the world, but you can check the New World Map linked in this review to see where things spawn at.

What To Do For Endgame?


Is there anything you can do in the endgame? Once you’ve hit Level 60, you have reached the end. There is level-60 only content, like Outpost Rush. This is PVP Mode (20v20), filled with ancient technology and sources of Azoth (one of the currencies – used for fast travel and other things). Players will do battle for strongholds and resources and require skill, gear, and communication to see it through. At Level 20 Weapon Mastery, there are Legendary Weapon Quests to do, which is promising. You can compete in Arenas, go on Expeditions (dungeons), Invasions, Wars, and defeat Corrupted Breaches. There is of course, plenty of side quests and crafting to do, so there’s quite a bit going on. Most of the big content is PVP-based, though. That’s something to be aware of. Hopefully, they had some more PVE content like raids, but there’s still lots going on at the end.

Final Verdict 7/10:


On a personal level, I don’t know if New World will continue to capture my full attention after playing for the review. I like the concepts herein, but I’m just not a PVP guy right now. It is fun to explore and gather though. I will probably keep coming back. This feels like an MMO that a casual player can play and enjoy, but you will almost always be behind the hardcore people that log in for hours and hours at a time. Even if it’s not a game I love, I respect the work put into it. It feels like a step up from the more action-oriented MMOs like ESO or even Guild Wars. One thing people might not like is that there are no NPC vendors except for your faction vendor. Making money requires you to sell stuff on the Market Board, and complete quests. 

If I could gather my friends to play together on one server, this could be a whole lot more fun for me – but that’s the hardest part of an MMO. I enjoy crafting, building a reputation in areas, things of that nature. Spending time clearing the growing corruption in my areas, and gearing up for faction wars/invasions/territory control is charming, but it’s not necessarily for me. Even with that, I’ve enjoyed my time with it and will continue to periodically log to explore, chop down trees, and look for elusive ore to mine. Just beware of the long queue times. Despite not loving everything about New World in my time working on the review, overall it’s been a very positive experience.

Pros:


  • Beginner-friendly and easy to get into.
  • Combat and Crafting are both equally fantastic.
  • Solid PVP that feels fair and skill-based.

Cons:


  • Enemy variety is not high.
  • So. Much. Running. Around.
  • Quest design feels bland and mediocre.

A code was provided for the purposes of this review.

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