New World is intrinsically social. Boss encounters call for boxing out of players in order to make sure you get credit for a kill and potential drop. PvP is king, and everything players do on that front influences the entirety of the server.
One way it reminds me of older MMOs as well are player reputations.
I touched on this a bit in my article about the Rift-eqsue portals that dot the New World landscape. These large, social activities are a great way not just to earn fast and tons of XP, but also a way to get players to organically group up. As a result, you start to learn who the players on your servers are through your journeys. While the smaller server populations were a concern at one point when New World was hitting 900K concurrent player peaks right around launch, the intimacy these populations provide allow for you to really make a name for yourself.
I know who the tanks on the server I want to group with are based on the reputations they are building for themselves. Same with the healer I was by my side in every Expedition. In a faction war, familiar names pop up on the army lists, giving players like myself confidence we stand a chance knowing that Torikatsu is holding the line, or Sofi Shu is healing our squad.
It reminds me of early The Lord of the Rings Online. Nimrodel, the server I played on until the Great World Server Merge a few years back, had one of the smaller populations in the MMO. As such, Kinships and players alike were able to easily make a name for themselves in PvMP or through raiding and dungeon runs.
My Kinship, Eruchin, was known early for being able to hold lines while defending keeps in the Ettenmoors. Our main Minstrel, Ghunar, was constantly in demand as a healer among the Nimrodel groups. Lathfara and Agarethir, two of our main members, would group with another major Kinship on our server, There And Back Again, in Rift and other raid runs. This smaller population allowed for big names to organically be on the lips of all players when talking about “the best Champion,” or the “best Hunter” on Nimrodel.
While this type of talk isn’t happening on my server in New World, those reputations are already starting to form. I threw in Faction chat after a Portal run the other day that I basically want to put Sofi on retainer as my pocket healer, to which multiple other players chimed in agreeing. “God tier heals,” one player quipped in response. Azrock, a tank in the Covenant faction on our server, has become the scourge of the Syndicate, their name constantly being talked about after a major Faction war ends.
Tanks and Healers in New World are starting to make names for themselves, but this is something I’m not sure I’ve experienced in a more modern MMO, like The Elder Scrolls Online, or even The Lord of the Rings Online after the server merge. This still happens in World of Warcraft, as years of server-based stories and lore help keep names alive. EVE Online is also a MMO where this happens – and it’s a bit more impressive when you consider it’s one server, not individual ones, where these players can make a name for themselves among the myriad war leaders and industry titans.
Whether or not this feeling will stick around beyond the initial opening weeks of New World or even when server transfers finally open up remains to be seen. It could simply feel this way because the MMO is new and in-game chat is popping. Groups are being formed organically, something that doesn’t always happen after an MMO has been out for a bit. My hope is because New World is so social, where everything you do can contribute to the experience of everyone on your server through a PvP war or improving a settlement that is bustling, these reputations will continue to grow. My hope is that while we know who some of the best Rapier users on the server are right now, players will continue to make a name for themselves. I would love to see stories in global chat where players are talking about the escapades of a tank during a massive push against Fort Windsward during a hotly contested battle against two factions continue to be shared long after the initial rush of excitement around New World dies down.
Azrock deserves the credit they have been receiving from friend and foe alike. Lyle and Torikatsu, two tanks in the Syndicate, deserve to be in demand when a war is declared to hold the line for our defense. Shot callers who successfully lead an attack or plan a brilliant defense (as happened on Saturday night when the Marauder’s assaulted Syndicate’s hold in Brightwood) deserve the praise and reputation they are building.
New World’s smaller servers are primed to create big names and legends among the players. Sure, it’s a shame that the doings of the myriad companies and players don’t have far reaching effects in the whole of New World’s playerbase like a warlord in EVE might have in New Eden. But for those individual servers, individual stories and legends are being formed. And it’s the type of social history being written that I think makes MMORPG’s some of the greatest games ever made.