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Impressions of Amazon's New World

Paul Eno Posted:
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Each player also has the ability to set a small camp, terrain allowing, where they can craft some basic survival items and gear. The camp can also act as a respawning point, which can be very convenient if you set down camp right around where you’re going to be hunting or killing. You can pick up your camp from anywhere in the world, regardless of where you set it. This is convenient if you find you have strayed too far from your camp to quickly get back to it. Just hold the Y button until it tells you that you’ve broken camp and it will be immediately ready to set again. Each player may only have one active camp at a time. Using your camp as a respawn point, however, triggers a cooldown timer that will not allow you to use your camp again for respawning until your timer is up. Increasing your survivalist trade skill will diminish the cooldown time.

Your camp is not the only place you can respawn. Littered throughout the world are neutral outposts that contain graveyards that, if you have gone to that specific outpost and activated the graveyard, will serve as another respawn point. Activating a different respawn point does not deactivate any of the others. All respawn points you have activated reamain open to you to use on respawn any time you die via a post-death map screen that handily lists all of your open respawn points, starting with the closest. Just keep in mind that using a respawn point activates the cooldown timer for that specific point, requiring you to use a different one if you should pass again before the timer is up. Company buildings and structures can also serve as respawn points, with the same limitations, but having more company structures mean more available respawn points.

While the world itself has some strongly obvious otherworldy items within it (undead, massive monoliths of mysterious purpose and construction), there is currently only one spell in the game, and that requires equipping a special gauntlet that acts as a type of magical focus. That does not mean that you have no attributes that will affect your competence with the magical or paranormal forces. Some attributes seem specifically engineered to increase your defense against attacks of an unnatural kind (focus and faith foremost among them), and as you progress in your adventures, encounters with these sources and entities will become more and more likely. My best guess would be that it is a good idea to spend some time and attention (meaning attribute points) in these areas at some point.

So far, I've only briefly mentioned companies. That might seem odd, being that the companies are a major focus of the game. The truth is, all of the above merely acts as a build up to the idea of the company system. As a part of the character creation process, so I’m told, a player creates their own individual company. You are essentially a company unto yourself. However, players will likely find it necessary to join another company, or add others to their company, in order to grow and acquire a land claim. In order to really succeed at this game, you will need a company of active, PvP ready, companions who are willing to work on their individual skills as a compliment to what the company is and is trying to accomplish. I mentioned above, the need for others to flesh out the trade skills availability, and that is absolutely true. Sure, blacksmiths, hunters, harvesters, outfitters are all great and extremely necessary, but you will also need engineers, builders, repair specialists, masons, etc. Each profession provides a unique and essential service to help keep your company running smoothly.

Referring back to land claims, anyone can buy one if they can secure the funds to do so. Holding onto the claim is another subject altogether. This is another place that larger companies have the advantage. There are a finite number of claims to be had, each with varying strategic and resource value. Once a company claims one of these land plots, they are able to designate individuals for building and it will be up to those individuals to build a defensible structure around a specific point on the claim that is its center. This is extremely important in that if they lose control of that point, they lose control of the claim and the invading company gains control. At which point, the new owners of the claim have three hours to build up defenses around that point so that they might be successful where the previous owners were not.

Inter-company combat, specifically claim usurpation, was one of the adventures the staff led us through, and I’ll gladly admit that I found it enjoyable and that the system has a lot of potential. Sure, we were given certain advantages (auto level 50, max tier armor and weapons); so of course, we won. But we came away with a good sense of what capturing a claim would entail, and the systems put in place for doing it. For one, you can declare war on any other company. While the specifics of what that will mean and the effects it will have in general gameplay were still being worked on, in a general sense we all know what war means. Declaring war allows the declarer to send a challenge to the other company leaders, essentially saying “we want to meet and have tea, followed by mass butchery between such-and-such times.” At which point the opposing companies leaders will respond with, “But of course! Here is a more specific time, in the which you will find us all gussied up and eagerly awaiting your arrival at our outpost.”

With the time and place set, the invading company can then choose their strategy for attacking. Our demonstration walked us through using stealth and powder kegs to provide most of the work, with a side of brutal murder to whet our appetites. As a seige progresses and participants meet their untimely ends, they will, at first, be able to immediately respawn and jump back into the action. On sequential deaths, however,their respawn point cooldown timers will force them to jump farther and farther away until they are essentially of no consequence in the conflict.

This series of events may seem overly simple, but keep in mind that, depending on the strength and quality of the walls, they can take quite a bit of damage before falling, requiring multiple uses of powder kegs or whatever you may be using to topple them. During this time defenders can either take position on top of walls or turrets and rain pain all over you or come down and go toe to toe with you. I got the distinct impression that had we not been given such a great advantage in equipment and sheer numbers the entire process would have been much more involving.

Overall, I was increasingly impressed and excited for New World as what I experienced was very stable, beautiful, and very open-ended. In my opinion, the game seemed to employ a more finished feel and stability than some of the retail releases that have hit the market in the last year. This particular point did a lot to increase my excitement for what remains, or what is to come. The team that hosted us made it clear that this was just the beginning, which is why they still consider the game to be in its alpha stages. There is still more to come, including nonlinear lore based discoveries and adventures, more explorable area (currently the northern edges of the map are clouded out, for good reason), and even more skill systems and social systems that they are working on.

I eagerly look forward to what is to come for New World and can’t wait to hear about new developments (pretty please?) and to enact my own in-depth exploration into this New World. Thanks to Amazon and the awesome people at Fortyseven for allowing me to take part in this fantastic event and sharing this gem with me.

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Paul Eno