How Amazon Games’ New World breaks the MMO mould

When you think of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (or MMORPG, if you prefer), you’re likely to imagine a handful of common, shared traits – huge fantasy worlds, strict class systems, dedicated PvP zones, and so on. The MMO formula as it stands is pretty popular, so it’s no surprise that it hasn’t changed much over the years.

But New World, the new MMO from Amazon Games launching on August 31, 2021, is breaking away from the traditions of the genre in some interesting ways. It won’t be a completely alien experience to MMO fans, but it’s bringing some bold ideas to the genre that could well change the future of MMOs.

Better yet, the game’s closed beta period has just gone live earlier today (July 20). You can guarantee your spot by pre-ordering on Steam, or sign up on the website to give yourself a chance of random selection. But before you rush off to do that, allow us to whet your appetite with some of the ways that New World is breaking the MMO mould.

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Class is dismissed

You know how it goes – you’ve been playing an MMO for 200 hours as a warrior, and now you want to play around with magic for a while. Except to do that, you need to start a brand new character and leave behind the avatar that’s become an extension of yourself.

Not so in New World. You won’t be asked to pick a class when you wash up on the shores of Aeternum. Instead, you’re free to use whatever weapons and armour you like, whenever you please. You can equip a longsword for close combat and a musket on your back for ranged attacks. If you’re a strictly ranged fighter, you can wield a bow while also casting magic with a staff or gauntlet. Heck, you can run into battle with two warhammers strapped to your back if that’s what floats your boat.

You can level up your mastery in each weapon by defeating enemies with them, unlocking new skills and abilities as you do so. And if you max out your sword stats and suddenly want to become a spellcaster, there’s nothing stopping you from completely abandoning your old path, but keeping the same character. The choice is yours.

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Attack, defend, dodge roll

No matter what weapon you’re using, combat in New World is much more involved than simply clicking on your chosen target and watching your character slowly dole out damage. You need to take an active role in battles if you want to survive out there.

You can swing your melee weapon around, building together simple combos before using an ability to strike serious damage. You can also block incoming attacks – as long as you have the stamina to do so – or dodge roll out of the way if the attack is looking particularly deadly.

Ranged fighters will need to aim true, as there’s no locking-on to enemies here – but if you do strike your foe in the head, expect some critical damage for your trouble. If they have a head, that is.

PvP is everywhere

In New World, you’ll join one of three factions – the Syndicate, the Marauders, or the Covenant. Each of these factions is vying for control over the different regions of Aeternum, and you can help them take over by completing PvP quests and battles under your chosen groups’ banner.

Whether you want to aid their efforts by collecting deer skins, or engage in full-blown war at a Fort to assert your dominance over an enemy faction, there’s plenty of PvP action wherever you go. There are no dedicated PvP zones, so if you’re on a quest for your faction, you’re wide open to attack from anyone in another faction wherever you are in the world. But if you’d rather just focus on PvE, you can easily turn off PvP at any settlement, and venture off into the world safe from the swords and bows of your fellow players.

Exterior of a player house in New World

Make your mark on the world

Whether you’re interested in engaging in Aeternum’s power struggle or not, there are still plenty of ways to make your mark on the world. For starters, you’ll gain Territory Standing whenever you complete quests in a region, allowing you to earn additional bonuses when you’re in the area. The choice is yours as to which upgrades you pick – do you need some more storage space in Everfall, or perhaps an XP boost in Weaver’s Fen? It’s up to you.

Gain enough standing in a territory and you’ll be able to buy property there. Once you’ve bought yourself a nice house, you can start crafting your own furniture to really put your own mark on the place. You can fill it up with one hundred bookshelves if you really want to – so long as you have the skills and materials.

Indeed, you can craft everything you need to survive in Aeternum at workstations across the map, and customise your items to gain bonuses that simply aren’t available when you dig something out of an item chest. And if you’re ready to move on from your favourite coat, you can sell it off at the Trading Post to another adventurer.

So now you’ve got a taste of what New World is bringing to the MMO genre. Want to start your own adventure? Find out how you can get involved in the Closed Beta that’s just gone live, and prepare yourself for the full launch of New World on August 31. Aeternum awaits!

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