New World is shifting to a seasonal model, Amazon Games has announced this morning, bringing a major shift in how updates are released for the MMORPG. This new seasonal model aims to bring more content quickly to New World while also ensuring a steady stream of rewards and goals for players to unlock as they move through Aeternum.
During a press preview last week, creative director David Verfaillie laid out the vision for Seasons in New World, driving home the idea that these seasons are meant to provide "something new" at a regular cadence for players to jump into.
"Our goal moving forward is to expand the New World experience by delivering more content on a regular cadence," Verfaillie told the press during the event. "Each season we want to provide something new that everyone can participate in. To achieve this goal, New World is moving to a seasonal model."
Seasons in New World add what is effectively a battle pass system with a free track and a premium track for players to unlock. The MMORPG aims to provide interesting content for players to unlock on each path, from cosmetics, convenience items, premium currency, and more. There will be Season-specific rewards for each track, with the paid track having more value to unlock overall.
This battle pass will also include items such as Gypsum orbs, Umbral Shards for endgame players, skins, fortune boost tokens, and crafting caches for those crafters out there. There are 100 levels to unlock each season, though the exact amount of time it'll take to unlock these rewards is still being tweaked by Amazon Games, however, they don't believe it'll take the whole season to unlock all 100 levels. The Premium Track will set players back about 20,000 Marks, or $20 USD.
Additionally, there will be skins that are unique to the battle pass, but Amazon will also be vaulting content on the pass to re-release on future passes based on feedback and the popularity of the item. Both the free and premium pass will have cosmetics, but the items will only be available on that pass, giving a reason to players to complete their tasks to level up.
Unlocking the season pass levels can happen in a number of ways, from a season journey, season challenges, or a bingo-esque card players to can unlock to earn pass XP. The season journey is a five chapter journey aimed at introducing players to the given season. These are unlocked at level 25 and are aimed at introducing players to that season. Level 25 seems to be a golden level for players, as they unlock the premium track of the battle pass and the season journey. The reason for the delay in being able to start these, according to Verfaillie is down to the fact that Amazon wants players to learn the game first before throwing all this at them.
"The main reason I think, especially with our recent leveling changes [is] you level up to 25 very quickly, and I think we want players to be able to focus on sort of learning the game and experiencing that part without having to worry about the season pass. We want players to be educated enough in the game before they make a purchase decision like that," Verfaillie told us at the press event.
Seasons aren't just the battle pass, though, as part of the idea for the Seasonal model is to provide new content for players to dive into quicker than the current model. As such, the first season, Fellowship and Fire, will feature a story with fan-favorite NPC Grace O'Malley. Grace is building a mercenary group which is called the Silver Crows to combat the threats on Aeternum. The Crows take their first customer, a Celtic spirit warrior named Skye. Alongside season one a new Expedition will be coming, the Imperial Forge, which ties into the storyline told in Fellowship and Fire.
The idea here is to provide more content every three months to give players more reasons to stick around in Aeternum, especially during those lulls in between major content expansions like we saw last year with the launch of the Brimstone Sands update.
The mercenary faction formed by Grace O'Malley is central to the storyline here, as players will experience stories with them each season moving forward, with new characters being added, while others might come and go. Each season will see players go on some sort of adventure with the Silver Crows, all the while going back to locations players have visited throughout their history in Aeternum.
However, not every location will be familiar, as new points of interest and more have been added for the seasons, or a larger point of interest might replace a smaller one that exists now. But the core structure will see players jaunt around Aeternum with the Crows.
Seasons aren't here to replace the larger content drops of expansions like we saw last year in the Brimstone Sands update. Rather, they are content drops every three months, which could be looked at as something of a stopgap of content leading into the larger drops as they come.
The new New World roadmap reflects this to a degree, showing new seasons coming with, well, every season. Spring will see the launch of Fellowship & Fire, alongside some new items such as a new expedition, new Heartrune, gear set storage, and more. Season 2, Blood of the Sands, which comes this summer, is poised to include Raid Groups, a cross-world Outpost Rus, Season Trial, which is listed as a 10-person battle, and more.
Fall brings both a season and the next expansion, which will see a "zone transformed." What exactly that means and how it'll affect Aeternum is, at the moment, unclear, but I imagine we'll learn more as the content draws closer. We'll also see a new weapon, new expedition, and more, alongside the Territory Influence updates and more coming with the seasonal update.
Winter closes out the year with a mutated seasonal trial, a new story, an expedition, and more. It's important to note that with all gaming roadmaps, they can change, which Amazon provides as a caveat towards the bottom of theirs. However, as it stands now, it looks plenty ambitious and should keep players busy throughout the whole year.
How this all shakes out with Amazon will remain to be seen. Seasons will come to New World next month, starting things off with the Fellowship and Fire update, as well as the introduction of the premium and free track of its battle pass. Season One of New World will hit the PTR tomorrow, with the official launch coming on March 28th.