In a forum post on the New World forums, the developers broke down their reasoning behind one of the biggest changes currently on the New World PTR: 40v40 Wars. However, the player base pushed back on this, citing performance issues and more.
The forum post (first spotted by MassivelyOP) gives the reasoning behind testing the war tweak, though the dev team stresses this is very much still experimental in nature. Currently, in the live game, wars are 50v50 affairs, seeing 100 players smash each other for control over a fort and, by extension, the region it sits within. On the PTR, though, the most recent patch notes show that wars are now 40vs40, which the developer's state is in an effort to make the content less chaotic and more tactical.
Developer Zin_Ramu on the forums breaks it down, stating that the team is actually testing two changes at the same time: reduction in players as well as a change in how defenders spawn throughout the war period.
The first change is due to the fact that the dev team is looking at ways to make it easier to coordinate for New World Company leaders, make the actual combat feel less chaotic and more tactical, and more. An added bonus to this would be a possible improvement in performance with simply fewer people participating.
The other change is meant to allow for a shift in win probability. Right now defenders can respawn on capture points, making it incredibly hard for attackers to dislodge their enemies. The test going on right now on the PTR hopes to help swing the attacker/defender win rates to something a bit more balanced. According to the New World team, defenders currently win about 80% of all wars, and the team would like to see that number closer to a 60% win rate. Through this change, Amazon hopes that it will see defenders more able to be dislodged and coordinated attackers see the siege move into the fort itself more often.
However, it seems players weren't all that keen on the change for one major fundamental reason: it's already hard to get into a war, dropping 20 more slots can simply make it harder.
As of now, war in New World being limited to even 50 people means that, even in larger companies, players are chosen based on who is popular, who could help win, and more - leaving many players behind never getting the chance to experience war. By removing 20 people, many responders on the forums point out that it's just going to get harder to be chosen.
Other players are wishing for wars to be faction locked to ensure that the people participating in war are those with a vested interest (the attacking or defending faction). Many commenters also mention that one of the major issues that still permeate the battlefield is not necessarily the lack of tactics, but the lack of solid performance. Lag, rubber banding and disconnects still plague wars themselves.
In a post earlier today responding to the suggestions, Zin stated that the team is holding off testing 40v40 wars for now, instead, they are focusing more on the spawn change while they work on ways to ensure that more "people can participate in war."
You can check out the full post on the forums. Currently, on the PTR along with these changes, Amazon is testing New World's next update, which sees the Heart of Madness content available for testing. Within this content is the new weapon, the Blunderbuss, as well as a new endgame expedition, Tempest's Heart.