In the most recent Forged in Aeternum video, the New World team talked about one of the biggest changes coming to the MMO: the removal of Bane and Wards from the game.
While it's been talked about since a June 2023 Q&A with the developer that Banes and Wards will be going away at some point, the most recent video talks about the how and why, as well as rebalancing the game world with the removal of these key endgame grinds.
Part of the reason why Wards and Banes are going away is to help facilitate more enjoyable, meaningful gear builds. Creative Director David Verfaillie states in the recent Forged in Aeternum that the goal is, at a high level, to make this more "aspirational."
"I think, high level, we want people to be able to enjoy our gear system and really go for aspirational perks, and perks that change there build, " Verfaillie says. "Whereas this felt a little too much like a chore."
The current system results in an environment where you were essentially required to have certain perks to be viable in activities such as mutated Expeditions, PvP, and so on.
As a result of trying to expand on the many types of builds players can create, the Ward and Bane system had to be reworked, or in this case, removed entirely.
As a result, gear players receive will be "a lot more exciting" according to Lead Seasons Designer Patrick Smedley.
"It's going to be a lot more exciting because there's going to be more viable perks on it and less perks that you don't really want to see on your gear."
Some examples given are Indestructible, War, Reslient and more will be gone, with the devs removing perks they felt would never really be viable in New World.
With the removal of these perks, we're going to see a broad rebalance of existing perks or underperforming perks in the MMO. Some perks that are "overperforming" will also be rebalanced with the new system to make them fit an "equilibrium" across the game. While old perks might be removed from New World, new perks are coming in, with Ward perks being replaced by "new perks that provide different utility." An example was given of a perk called "Health" which increases the player's max health. Simple, right?
One major benefit of this change will be less gatekeeping for groups, as David briefly mentions in the video. Like many MMOs, some players want to run with those with only the optimal builds, which could present an accessibility issue for those who simply don't have the time to grind for the gear, but still want to play the content. By removing this from the MMO, it removes the reason for much of the gatekeeping, opening up content and player groups much more in the future.
You can check out the full video in the embed above, as the team also talks about the impact on inventory, as well as discusses how this change specifically came straight from player feedback. New World is in the throes of Season 2 as part of its new seasonal model as we head into the expected expansion later this year.
Also, Transmog has seen its release finally into New World, with the new system helping to spur on player creativity and customization. While cosmetics have always been a part of the MMO, the new Transmog system takes that to another level by allowing players to take gear found throughout the world and turn it into a cosmetic item thanks to a Transmog Token. Check out more on how the New World Transmog System works in our previous reporting.