New World: Hot & Cold

New World confuses me greatly. And others too obviously. Bhagpuss is enjoying it, UltrViolet definitely isn’t, Kaylriene is surprised to be leaning toward yes, and Nogamara has resisted the temptation altogether.

There are things about it that are great (gathering/crafting), and things which are terrible (are there any enemies other than Withered??). After three days I was ready to call it quits, then decided that was unfair after conversations with the Warcraft team who were playing and enjoying it. A weekish later and I’m still on the fence, not fully committed but not fully against it either.

In honour of my confusion, and in lieu of coherent thoughts, here’s a listicle.


  • Gathering is a stupendous triumph. Seriously. The way you can see a node from miles away, be it an outcrop of iron or a shuddering sparking herb. So much more satisfying than a dot on a minimap. Then when you harvest there is a stub left which eventually respawns (which is a little strange for ores but we’ll put it down to ‘magic’).

  • The sound design is excellent. The cracking echoing ping as you strike an iron node makes me want to spend all day hefting a pickaxe. You can hear enemies before you see them, snuffling up from behind. And each herb has a different sound that reflects their visuals, from spewing poison to crackling light.

  • Crafting appears to be acres deep. The UI is easy to understand – with a few gotchas like cooking auto selecting too high components – and there are millions of recipes. Which require millions of things to be gathered in return: a perfect feedback loop.

  • Storage is immediately generous, though there is waaay too much stuff to collect. I instantly filled one town’s storage, having to use another as backup. Which encourages you to smelt and hammer and craft your resources to reduce the storage requirement – another good feedback loop.

  • I was pleased to stumble on a ‘rare’ boar early on, though I’ve only seen one other rare since.


  • Levelling is achingly slow. Which is good, but bad, but good. Feels bad being left behind, and there is no way to participate in the flagship PVP at low levels. But an honest-to-goodness grind to level is a new experience after Warcraft, SWtOR, GW2, etc. It feels even slower that Warcraft Classic.

  • Not quite convinced by the action combat. It’s quite fun creating a hatchet storm, but the dodging and parrying feels quite hit-or-miss and a little random. Though this is probably due to my woeful framerate (see below).

  • It’s weird seeing someone with a nice shield and not being able to source it or identify it. I suppose we’re meant to ask, but the chat is also quite badly handled.

  • It looks like PVP is delivering for those that enjoy it, but I’m not sure I have the stamina to get all the way to 60 in order to participate.

  • Going way against trend, I don’t love the look of the game. Most seem the opposite. Some of the vistas are nice, and the lighting can be quite atomspheric, but I don’t get the same sense of wonder I do from something like GW2 or Warcraft. It’s a bit too much like, well, our world, rather than a New World. The strange unexplained structures are the most interesting graphical flourish, but I fear there’s no rhyme or reason to them.


  • OMG I am so sick of Withered.

  • For the first 20 levels it’s been zombie Withered. Or ghostly Withered. Or half-buried Withered. And that’s it. The lack of imagination is a little perplexing – you have total freedom to create a world and you come up with one NPC? The hot theory of PVE shunted into a PVP engine rings most true here.

  • I watched some Level 60 streams and they still seemed to be attacking @#$@#$ Withered. Albeit much harder hitting, but still just slightly less-hunched crown-wearing ghost-humans.

  • Speaking of – everyone is human. No fantasy here. No variations. It gets a little boring seeing the same body type with the same armour on hundreds of people.

  • The quests are woeful. Go kill Withered. Go open crates (seven crates to be precise – always seven) guarded by Withered. Then do it all again. I’ve seen feedback that at level 40 it’s the same.

  • The story is barely there, or if it is it’s hidden in scraps of paper. Which is fine I guess, but it’s not very satisfying when the quests in each town are paper-thin excuses to kill more w*******. There seems to only be one ‘main story’ quest, and it’s pretty dire too.

  • The storage is great, but it’s very annoying transferring goods from one town to another if your faction doesn’t own both towns. A unified bank may not be realistic, but nor is fast travel.

  • Character movement is…odd. It feels very floaty, and given the huge amount of time spent jogging that’s a shame.

  • Loading the game at anything other than native resolution is a muddy mess – the scaling is terrible. For me that means having to run it at 4K, which also means 30fps. A little frustrating, especially when an ancient game like Warcraft can seamlessly handle scaling a 1080p resolution up to crisp 4k.

Writing all this, and reading back, maybe I’m not so confused after all.

It seems the one thing keeping me interested is the gathering. Which may one day lead to interest in crafting, but at the moment it’s just the gathering. That’s a surprise, though double-gathering in Warcraft is always my default. Perhaps I’m just a hoarder at heart.

4 thoughts on “New World: Hot & Cold”

  1. I am probably close to where you ended up yet I am really enjoying it as opposed to WoW at the moment…so why . I do find it almost like meditation…I put on a podcast, start grinding, and either come back with XP or a hundred stones/logs etc…
    The main hook for me is definitely the idea that I am getting known in my town, and am helping my faction even though I don’t PvP.
    Having said all of that, if tomorrow something broke and I moved on to my game backlog, I don’t think I would peer in the rearview for very long.

    1. Agree Warcraft is pretty dire at the moment. A few dailies, weekly raid, nothing else of interest unless you latch onto a mount or pet hunt. So NW is refreshing compared to that. I don’t get that sense of town renown or Faction growth when I play, despite dutifully doing the missions. Nothing seems to change as a result, but maybe I’m not paying close enough attention. The repetition of the quests was just killing me – without the trillion things to gather on the way to-and-from I’d be asleep. Which I guess is meditation of a sort 😉

  2. Totally disagree with you on the story, which you’ll know from what I’ve posted I imagine, so I won’t rehash that argument. Probably the most intriguing and involving narrative in an mmorpg since The Secret World for me, although I suspect it will end upbeing just as vague and unfinished as TSW was.

    There are some amazing mob designs later on – not that much later, either – the cemetery in Everfall has some of them. Some of them I found so spectacular I died trying to get good screenshots. It’s true there are fewer variations than in other mmorpgs but the various types of, what shall we call them, lapsed humans are strongly tied in with the story. The Withered, the Lost, the Corrupted are all very different and understanding those differences appears to be key to the mystery.

    I would personally prefer more playable races but I believe the focus on humans for playability is also tied into the core story, or so I’ve read somewhere. There is one other race on Aeternum that I’ve seen so far, though, the Angry Earth, which presumably means more are possible. Not sure if they appear at higher levels or not.

    The quests are exactly the kind I like. The kind I don’t like are long quest chains with many steps and “heroic” storylines so I’m very happy to see none of that here. Such long chains as we get seem to be nicely broken down into short segments which is how I’d like all games to do it. I appreciate that’s not a very modern view!

    I love the levelling speed. I don’t think it’s anywhere near as slow as WoW Classic, let alone original EverQuest. I’m almost level 34 after couple of weeks. After a couple of weeks in EQ first time round I was about level 8 or 9 and I played more hours then. In WoW Classic, maybe somewhere in the 20s? Also, so far at least, the rate of levelling seems flat. I can’t see that levels in the 30s take any loner than in the 20s or the teens. Don’t know if that carries on.

    PvP is an interesting one. For a while you only needed to be 40+ to get into the team on my faction but that might be because we had hardly anyone in the 50s. Now we have a few more near cap the ladder is being hauled up. I think soon it will be 55+ or don’t bother and that’s presumably where the game will stay. Not sure that’s a sustainable design combined with slowish levelling.

    Although I sound very positive, it’s mainly because I’m always much more interested to write about things I like than thngs I don’t. I have plenty of issues with New World but not more so than any other mmorpg and since NW is indeed new it gets a pass on them until the novelty wears off. It certainy isn’t my ideal type of mmorpg by a long way but it’s not like we’ve been snowed under with better options lately.

    1. Perhaps it’s the method of storytelling more than the story itself. I found myself collecting the scraps but not reading them because they were often non-sequential. My patience for unravelling a mystery provided in bits and pieces must be low.

      Very much agree about writing about what’s good and fun, and enjoying a new MMO is definitely that. NW was surprisingly quick to start to rankle. I felt I needed to list down the pros and cons because I couldn’t quite put my finger on where the balance lay.

      Encouraging to hear the mobs change eventually!

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