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With the closed alpha for Amazon Game Studios’ upcoming MMORPG New World in full swing, we get this letter to the community where the game's developers talk about their recent progress and outline some of New World’s key systems and features. And on the video side of things, we get a new developer diary that focuses on the game’s combat and weapon progression. Let’s start with that:
And here’s the community letter:
Hello New World Adventurers!
We’ve been live with our latest Alpha for over a month now and it feels like the right time to send a letter to the community. We’ve learned a lot and we wanted to take a moment to update you on the state of New World’s Alpha and give you some insight to our future plans.
Thanks to all the Alpha players, you’ve helped us a ton! The feedback on new features has been awesome and players have helped us find bugs and new design opportunities that we wouldn’t have pursued otherwise. Special kudos to Striker who found a way to claim territories outside the play space and to Doctor Dankmeme for finding the infinite coin exploit and to all of you for submitting so many crazy bugs!
On March 5th, we released a major game update called “Factions at War” which introduces compelling new PvP experiences that we believe to be core to our game. Players will now have more control over the actions leading into Company vs. Company War by completing missions that require PvP flagging as opposed to simply declaring war with Coin. This puts more power in the hands of the players as opposed to Company leaders and creates a fun race between the Factions along the way to War.
These new features bring us closer to our original vision for New World. For us, New World is always centered on the following core principles:
As we work toward finishing the launch features, we’ve been listening intently to the feedback around the balance between PvP and PvE. Our vision is to create a world where the playstyles of PvP and PvE players will not only coexist, but will complement each other. We know this can be a challenging balance to strike, but we will iterate on our game design until we accomplish it.
- A massive supernatural world that actively confronts the players that attempt to conquer it.
- Skill-based combat that is tactical and deep at any scale.
- Progression systems that foster player agency.
- Intersecting games systems (crafting, gathering, killing the Corrupted, etc.) that allow all players to contribute to group goals.
- Territory conquest and control systems that allow players to create and manage player-driven governments.
We want PvP players to benefit from the work of PvE players and vice versa. We’ve been building systems to support this; Factions, Crafting, Town Projects, Town Progression, War, Corrupted Breaches, Influence, Missions, and soon Invasions. These different play styles will complement each other and enable players to get better gear, deal with problems in the game, accomplish missions and grow their characters, territories, and skills together.
Some of the key motivations for PvP are better rewards, controlling space, dominating others, and high stakes gameplay. Our new features (Influence Race, coin rewards for PvP, and PvP damage scaling) are getting closer to reflecting the higher risks in PvP with better rewards which should have the effect of allowing players to show their PvP dominance as well as draw in more PvE players willing to take on the heightened stakes in pursuit of those rewards. We have some feature expression around controlling space that we’ll watch to see that it is appropriately rewarding and make adjustments if not.
In addition to balancing PvE and PvP, we’ve been working feverishly to create a seamless Open World MMO with a mix of sandbox and directed style gameplay. We wanted players to have quests as an option to level and explore, but not be required to do them. We are not trying to build a Theme Park MMO. So far, the results have been good. Our first player to reach level 60, Gilden, did only 38 missions along the way, while our second player to hit 60, Nuko Miko did over 700 missions.
Part of being focused on our players means we listen closely to what they tell us, both through their feedback and their playing. We study many types of player data, play in the Alpha with you a lot, are always listening to chat, talking to players, and reviewing the surveys. We use all of this to help us refine our game, and determine which features to prioritize and what balance modifications we need to make. All of this while staying within our core vision, to build a seamless open world MMO with a mixture of directed and sandbox gameplay with balanced PvP and PvE play. This has helped us to balance TtK (Time to Kill), refine damage scaling for PvP (spoiler, this is coming next release), re-balance equipment load, and improve quests by keeping the goals closer to home.
Game development is all about listening to feedback and iterating. The best way to iterate is to find the limits, which means often pushing past those limits. Players let us know that our initial implementation of open world full loot PvP last year was too punishing. We believe the Factions at War release is getting close to the right balance of PvPvE. We are seeing this work through Town Projects and Faction Missions and we expect the Influence Race (PvP Missions) will entice some PvE players to dip their toes into the PvP pool.
I’ve seen the discussions and want to be transparent and clear that we have no plans to bring back open world full loot PvP. The vision is a world where PvP and PvE players can coexist and complement each other, which could not be achieved with full loot open world PvP. We will continue pursuing our vision, adding features and content aligned to our pillars and we are excited to embark on this path together!
Before wrapping up, I thought it would be fun to share a couple server stats. Starwater crafted over 50000 T1 swords and we were convinced he found a cheat but when we dug in, it was above board, #impressive. We have a tight race for most total kills on the Aeternum with LordDankness carrying a narrow lead over Michael Wysefoot and Roger, all with over 14000 kills.
Thanks for your continued support leading toward our launch. We have another big content beat before Closed Beta where the world will get much bigger, we’ll add more Magic, more Quests, and Corrupted Invasions! If you haven’t signed up yet for a chance to be randomly selected, you can do that here. I hope to see you in the Alpha!
Game Director, New World