Game news New World: “We want to let players know we’re listening to them”
New World was a real phenomenon when it was released last September. While no one bet on him, Amazon’s MMO has yet managed to capture the attention to the point of breaking some records, especially that of players connected simultaneously on Steam. With its qualities and its faults, New World has been enriched with an update adding a little more lore, a new weapon and some adjustments intended to perfect the experience. The opportunity was therefore found to meet with Scot Lane, Game Director, to discuss it and give an update on the game.
HelloSolar.info: New World just released its first content update. What was the hardest part in his development?
Scot Lane, Game Director : Publishing anything while running a live service is a challenge. This version was all the more difficult as it represented nearly four months of work. At the beginning of July, we finalized our version to strengthen it and prepare it for launch. The majority of the team was not working on the launch and therefore added features and content, while polishing the already existing content.. When we merged all of these elements together, it revealed some issues that players unfortunately experienced. The decline in war performance is a perfect example. From the outside it looked like we had reverted to an older version of wars, but in reality we introduced a bug that caused spells to use a lot more bandwidth than before, resulting in poor performance when large groups of players converge on small areas using a lot of spells. In the future, we will be reviewing the process to reduce the likelihood of bugs reaching players.
Introducing a new weapon in an MMORPG is not that easy. Was the Nether Gauntlet already on your roadmap when you released New World, or have you been creating it in the last few months? Was it difficult to find the right balance to integrate this weapon among the others?
Scot lane ; Yes, it was on our roadmap. We knew we needed something that would pair well with the Staff of Life (another Focus weapon) and had been working on the Nether Gauntlet for several months. The deadlines are quite long for weapons and we already have more in development! Introducing a new weapon is tricky and requires a lot of time and testing within the team to try and get a solid balance, before bringing it into the wild. We will be observing the players and making balance adjustments every month. The balance of arms is something that will be managed and changed as long as New World exists.
Update 1.1.0 introduced + 10% movement speed if the character is running on roads. Was this a way of offering a compromise to people complaining about the lack of mounts in New World?
Scot lane ; I don’t know if I would say compromise, but more of a way to let players know that we are listening to them. Players want to move around Aeternum faster and this is a step in that direction. We have already added fast travel points and are looking at other options or improvements to run faster on the roads. When it comes to mounts, we want mounts in New World, but we don’t want to rush. When we introduce the mounts, we want to integrate them into our other game systems in order to get the most out of them to give players the best possible experience.
Into the Void introduces improvements to several mainline quests. Can you tell us more about what you mean by this more “dynamic and compelling” aspect of these quests and why you have chosen to modify them?
Scot lane : We are constantly working on our tools and strategies to improve the quest experience, and in particular we look for opportunities to make the main story more compelling and impactful. That’s why we’re adding new quest dynamics or “activity types” to the main story first and then using them in new quests we’re working on right now as well. An example is the new Wolf Den quest in the boarding section.. It has been updated from a quest of killing X Wolves to a wave event where players kill one type of wolf to collect musk, then place the musk in a different lair where they must defend against 3 waves of attacks from wolves, then against wolf Alpha. Another example is the quest to forge your Staff of Azoth. Players must now bring the components to a new POI, the Mirador Forge, and complete a traversal puzzle to climb up to the forge itself, high on the rocks, in order to craft the Staff of Azoth. We have many more quests and quest types in the works, responding to feedback from players who want a greater variety of quests in New World.
What is the most valuable feedback you have received from players that has helped you correct certain aspects of the game?
Scot lane : This is an incredibly difficult question because we have received so much valuable feedback. Rather than trying to identify the most valuable, I’ll mention a few examples that have helped us (because the value is arbitrary anyway). We’ve learned that we have more lone players than we expected, resulting in difficulty changes and extra work to make our main story questline more lone-friendly by giving players alternatives to Forced Expeditions, as well as an overhaul of the difficulty of open world quests. We’ve learned that gamers try to live beyond their means, creating a false perception of ROI based on activities. We’re looking at how to improve player house ownership, the cost / reward ratio of Expeditions, and the ability for players to earn money. I’ll end with the most important point we’re still working on, which is the balance between PvP and PvE player feedback.. We’ve made some changes to reward players who take extra risk by reporting for PvP and we continue to pay close attention to the impact of this change. We continue to work towards our goal of creating a place where PvP and PvE games complement each other.