New World: Finally Feeling Settled

I’ve had a rough time with New World. Not the actual playing of the game, but the issues that orbit the core gameplay.

First it was the queues. On Day 1 I created a character on Minda to play with Belghast’s Greysky Expeditions Company. And, being me, I created a 2nd character on a different server because I know there WILL be times when I want to play in absolute solitude on a server where no one knows me.

The launch week queues on Minda & character #2’s server (not being coy, I literally forget what server it was) broke me though. I couldn’t take waiting hours to play any more.

Solution #1 was to create a character on NA West just to spend time with. So that was my 3rd character. Didn’t last very long since the lag difference was appreciable. Felt like dodging was a lot more iffy. That character still exists, gathering dust.

Solution #2: By the time I got to Solution #2 Amazon had rolled out a bunch of new servers on NA East that were empty(ish). I deleted my Minda character, created a new one (character #4) with the same name and look on a low pop server, and re-started. The idea was to level up on the new server until Amazon gave us server transfers, which they’d promised. Then I’d rejoin Bel & gang.

This new server never had a queue and at first I was having a great time. But then the community started getting super toxic. At least the Syndicate faction was super toxic and the worst players also ‘ruled’ the faction by dint of holding land. I mean there was other faction/Company drama (super high taxes set by bitter Governors) but the end result was I kept ‘moving’ towns to try to avoid the idiots. Eventually it started bothering me just to log in. But I still wanted to play.

I fired up character #2 and for some reason, just wasn’t feeling her. I often play female characters in MMOs but for some reason that felt off for me in New World. I think it was because I figured I might start actually interacting with others and didn’t want to deal with any confusion. That’s probably a really out-of-date attitude given I know many, many people who play a gender other than what they present in real life, but whatever. In the end I deleted her and started character #5 on yet another new, empty(ish) server.

And, though I’m worried I’m going to jinx it, I think I am FINALLY comfortable with queues, community and my character. Most of the big Companies on this server have non-offensive names and faction chat (I went Marauder this time) has been mostly inoffensive. I’m still sorting this character; I started him as a full dex built, using Spear and Rapier & wearing light armor. Not sure that is going to stick but since he is only level 14 I can respec for free.

My Minda-replacement character is still on the toxic server, waiting to be able to move. He is Hatchet/Hammer and with this new character I’m trying to resist replicating him but it’s hard. Hatchet is super fun.

But anyway the point is I now log in, putter around at my own pace, don’t get my blood pressure way up due to being around a bunch of asshats, and I’m finally really enjoying the whole vibe. But damn it took a while to get here!

Of course thanks to Stargrace’s posts about Black Desert Online, I am now torn between 2 MMOs, New World and BDO. When it rains, it pours! 2016’s Black Desert Online is now becoming a new obsession, but that story is for another post.

New World and the Goldilocks Problem

Last night, it being the start of a weekend, I did something drastic. I deleted my New World character that was on Minda where my friends were all trying to play. I just didn’t want to spend my weekend trying to manage a queue around chores and dog walking and such. Since Amazon has promised free server transfers, I’m gambling that I can play on another server for now, then transfer to Minda later.

[Since New World only allows one character per server I had to delete my existing character to free up room for my eventual transfer, plus I wanted the same name.]

In the course of one evening I almost caught up to the progress I’d made in the 3 prior evenings of combatting the queue in order to squeeze in an hour of playing before bedtime. So that’s the good news.

When looking for a new server to roll on, I sorted by queue size to find one with no queue, then I chose a server with Low population. Randomly picked Nolandia (NA East) and off I went. Overall the new server is pretty chill. I even have all the chats on because it is all relatively civil (there’s always the odd troll). Gameplay also felt more responsive but I’d had to reboot my machine earlier in the day so maybe that was just local. But suddenly I had no issues dodging out of the path of attacks and such; prior to last night it felt like my dodges didn’t register quickly enough to be super effective unless a mob had a slow tell, like gearing up for a charge attack (boars).

But there is always a downside. On this world NO territory has been taken by any of the factions. At first I didn’t care because that just felt like balance to me. But then I realized that, at least as far as I know, there’s no way to level up crafting stations unless a faction controls a town. So the entire world is stuck at level 2 crafting stations; we’re stuck in the iron age, literally.

Nolandia was add on Sept 29th and Amazon added even more servers to NA East on Friday which is puzzling. Why keep adding new servers if some of the servers you have are empty? Maybe they’re gearing up for server transfers. Or maybe it’s a publicity stunt to show they’re reacting while they figure out a real solution.

Anyway I’m interested to see what happens on Nolandia. When I was on last night there was no company with more than 5 members online. [I am a boob, I was looking at “# of Claims” not number of members.] There was some discussion in Faction chat of dissolving some of the companies and everyone joining into one large company so they can take a town. I don’t really understand how taking a town works, beyond being able to out and out buy one for I think 100,000 gold. I wonder if an alliance of several small companies could do it.

I’m not too concerned since I’m not thinking of this as my permanent home, but if you ARE looking for a server to call home for the long run, maybe look for one with Medium population. Too high and you’ll spend your gaming time waiting in a queue. Too low and there’s not enough warm bodies to support all the game’s systems, apparently.

[The image at the top of the post comes from New World Status. I don’t honestly know how accurate the site is (it isn’t affiliated with Amazon), but it is reporting that there are a total of 163 players on Nolandia! (Granted, it is early on a Saturday morning.)]

Obligatory New World Post

News Flash: New World launched! It has queues! You heard it here first!

What do you mean, you already knew that? Dammit now what can I say about this game…

I waffled on New World. I had a pre-order from years ago. I’d played in a few test phases, though only lightly. I liked it well enough but I was unsure about the emphasis on PvP and such. What finally decided me was hearing that a bunch of friends were joining a Company (what New World calls guilds) together. For once, I decided, let me be a joiner. I kept the pre-order, I joined the Discord, requested to be on the roster and started, in my glacially slow way, to get to know the members of this guild.

Well that crashed and burned. The leader of the company, who had been MIA when I first joined, turned out to be a raging asshole who encouraged toxic conversation in the Discord. I’m told that compared to, say, a WoW Raid Guild, it was very mild stuff, but compared to a baseline of human decency it was vile. So I quit before the game even launched. The irony is that, even though the company had their roster all set up, once launch came they threw that all away and folks who didn’t have the luxury of taking launch day off to play were told “Sorry, not sorry, no room for you.” [I still had eyes inside at this point.] So I wouldn’t have gotten in anyway. At least I had the satisfaction of saying “I QUIT!” and slamming the door.

I’m still super pissed at the way the leadership of this Company treated people, if you can’t tell. Anyway, moving on… [Until I started writing this post I didn’t realize how much anger I was still holding onto about this…I hate seeing people treat other people like shit.]

In the end, good old Belghast created a Company and welcomed all and that has worked out as well as can be hoped given technical issues. While the roster is full of names I know and folks I follow on Twitter, actually getting people in-game at the same time is a challenge given the queues I mentioned. I have to start trying to sign in before dinner if I want to play at 10, which doesn’t leave a lot of time before bed. Most everyone else in the Company is in the same boat: we are people with day jobs.

Again, you’ve heard all about the queues. People have started referring to the game as Queue World instead of New World. Clever. Accurate. Next week Amazon is supposed to start offering free server transfers which might help. There are plenty of servers, (added after launch day), that don’t have queues now. I finally rolled an alt on one just so I can get my New World fix when I don’t have a few hours to wait before I start playing.

Did I say “my New World fix”? Yeah I did. Thing is, when I do manage to get in-game I’m having a great time for reasons I find hard to quantify. I spend time gathering materials, processing them, then shoving ’em into my Storage Chest. I don’t know why this is fun; maybe because it makes numbers go up? Sometimes I fight things, and I really like the action-y combat system, though I think they are missing an opportunity by not having Perfect Block and Perfect Dodge buffs. I read every note and scrap of paper I find because I’m enjoying piecing together the mysteries of this island. I really dig the setting.

Scraps of lore are everywhere

My progress is slow… so slow. I just run around having fun. I open the “Faction” chat and listen to the PVPers plan their attacks and I find myself tempted to join them, not that I am high enough level for that.

Just writing about what I enjoy about New World is even putting ME to sleep. It doesn’t sound like much. Maybe it is a scarcity thing. I wonder, when we get to the point that I can just log in, will it still be fun? Or am I enjoying it because it feels almost like a privilege just to get in-game?

So, let’s talk about the cons beyond the queue thing.

Con #1: You can only have one character per server, and only 2 characters per data center. People will tell you “You don’t need alts because one character can do everything.” I’m not sure that is really true. If I put all my attribute points into Strength so I can tank, how am I going to be a good healer, too? To be good with a Life Staff you have to put your points into a different attribute. (Wisdom or something, I haven’t been paying attention.) Plus I am a weirdo who kind of role-plays and I like to have different characters with different attitudes.

Con #2: The world seems pretty small. Maybe I’m missing something but at level 12 I’ve explored, I’d guess, about 20% of the land mass (a BIG chunk of the landmass is listed as levels 1-25). It also feels pretty crowded, tho that may ease as people spread out in levels. Right now the population of a server is capped at 2000 players which seems really small (again I refer you to Belghast for his thoughts on this) but at the same time, the world feels kind of over-crowded to me. There’s a lot of competition for certain resources; basically anything other than wood. I’ve killed stuff with a ranged weapon and had people run up to skin it for its hide before I can get to it. Bastards!

So we’ll see. This is a beginning and I expect the game to grow/improve over time. I probably won’t play it for months and months, but given there is no subscription I can certainly envision revisiting the game frequently to see how things change. It seems like a game that’ll be easy to revisit since you don’t have 40 skills that you will have forgotten (you can have 3 skills per weapon slotted).

I’m glad I took the plunge and I’m interested to see where Amazon takes it from here.