Following our special review-turned-love-story of Amazon Games' New World, we sat down with the MMORPG's Creative Director David Verfaillie and asked him the questions that we were dying to know the answers to. We also reached out to the New World subreddit for their contributions, and asked David about roadmaps, mounts, popular weapons, upcoming announcements, and plenty more.
The New World Interview
What was the most enjoyable part of designing and developing New World?
Making New World was almost as fun as playing it. It’s a game that has evolved over the course of its development, and become a unique MMO that offers a diverse blend of open world activities with an interesting storyline and quests. Being a part of that evolution and seeing the game grow and mature has been really exciting.
Working on the combat system was my first love. I’ve had a chance to work on a few combat systems in the past, but never one for an open world MMO - it’s a different and challenging beast. You have to balance creating a skillful and engaging combat system, with creating something fluid and fun that people can do for hours. You have to balance solo PvE, group PvE, and solo, group, and 50v50 PvP. I’m proud of the action-based combat system the team has built, and excited to see how we evolve it over time.
But the most enjoyable part has been designing and developing the various modes in New World. War, Invasion, and Outpost Rush all offer something different for players. They all create these tense and epic moments that are unpredictable and different each time you play. Our latest addition, Outpost Rush, was my favorite to work on. I love how it blends gathering, upgrading, PvE and PvP all into one mode. There are so many ways players can make an impact on the outcome that each match really feels different.
The question on all players’ lips, when do we get to see a roadmap?
We are super focused on resolving all the issues with the live game right now. We want to make sure all game modes are fully functional, all major bugs are fixed, and the balance for combat, economy, and progression are in a good place. On top of that we are working on content for our first few monthly updates. Once we have all of that under control and we feel like we can communicate about our roadmap with confidence, we will. We will keep it high level so we can adapt to player feedback along the way. But we want players to know what we are working on, so we can get their early reactions and feedback.
We’re amongst plenty of friends when we say we love the current activities in New World, but us MMO gamers are a hungry bunch and we’re already crying out for more. We asked our friends at Reddit and the features most often asked for were:
1. Construction of a PvP Arena (1v1, 2v1, 3v3, 1vx, + PvE challenges)
2. Company housing
3. More variety of influence gain missions
4. More dynamic events such as caravan escort and/or POI takeover
What are your thoughts on each of those, can we expect to see any soon?
I like all of these ideas and think they all have a place in New World. We’ve loved seeing all the PvP action on streams and want to continue to support it. We’ve loved seeing companies band together to try to control Aeternum and want to give them more ways progress. And we’ve loved seeing the “portal trains” and want to give those groups new and interesting challenges. But I can’t give specifics on whether we are working on any of these or what the timeline might be at this time.
Can you hint at any exciting additions in the game’s future, near or far?
For near term, I can hint at a new weapon coming in our first monthly release. It will fill an important “blank” in our weapon arsenal. Our first seasonal event is also around the corner and sure to bring people the chills. After that, I don’t want to give away any more surprises other than we intentionally left players at a bit of a cliffhanger in the main story. Expect that to be resolved in the not too distant future.
Well from that I'm gambling on a pistol and a wintry Christmas event! Tell me, are the warring faction dynamics all working as anticipated? Are you confident that current safeguards will prevent certain factions dominating servers?
In general, the war and faction dynamics are working as anticipated. We’re seeing a lot of wars (perhaps a bit too frequently), and seeing territories change hands with decent regularity. We want to see some ebb and flow in the territory map, but also want to give some advantages to defenders that build up and upgrade their territories.
We have two tools in place to help balance the factions. We allow players to switch factions, but don’t allow them to switch into the dominate faction. We also increase the influence underdog factions earn for PvP faction missions to give them a better chance at earning the right to declare war. But we may need to do more. We are watching faction balance on all the servers and if it becomes a general problem we have a few ideas to help resolve it in interesting ways.
We’ve read AG’s opinion that Aeternum is too small for mounts. But do you plan to add boats, carts, or other vehicles? Exploring the rivers and seas of Aeternum in even a rowing boat would be a joy, and dare we dream of player-controlled frigates connecting islands deep in New World’s future?
I love the density of stuff to do in New World. When I leave town to go on a quest, I get distracted with iron nodes, hemp, faction missions, and town projects. Our first and most important priority is to make traveling around the world of Aeternum as fun and interesting as possible, so people enjoy travelling on foot. Second, we want to continue to provide ways for players to fast travel when they need to get somewhere fast. Beyond that, there are no near term plans to add other ways to travel around map. But if we do add mounts or other travel methods in the future, we’ll make sure to do them in such a way that they integrate into all the other systems in New World and enhance the overall experience.
It would be nice to see some life in the taverns and inns of Aeternum. Any plans to spice them up with some tavern games, events, or NPC musicians as settlements grow in size? Designed downtime helps players form bonds.
Social activities are super important to MMOs and something we will develop over time. I love running around town and seeing players congregating to dance or emote together. There is nothing we can announce yet, but this is definitely something we are looking into.
Coins appear to have been removed from fishing chests. Was this out of fear of fishing-bots, and will us honourable anglers get anything equivalently exciting in return?
Yes, coin was removed from fishing chests due to fishing bots. We are fighting against gold sellers and bots on numerous fronts - reducing their ability to advertise, making it harder to transfer funds, and making it harder to earn gold through botting. Some of these changes are coming soon and others will take more time. But it’s a big focus for us - we don’t want players’ experience ruined by bots, whether it’s finding them at all the resource nodes or the chat spam. And remember you can help us by reporting any gold sellers or bots you see and not supporting them in any way. As for the honourable anglers out there, we want to make sure your time spent fishing pays off and will look for ways to compensate for the lost coin in the future.
Which weapons are the most and least popular, and does that surprise you?
The most popular weapons are the Great Axe, Hatchet, and Sword. No real surprises there. Great Axe is a beast of a weapon that has a bit of everything - great chasing capability and gap closers, great damage, and good sustain. Hatchet has Berserk which may be the single best ability in the whole game - it probably does a bit too much. And Sword & Shield is a weapon everyone starts out with, and the only weapon able to block ranged attacks.
The least popular weapon at the moment is the musket. While the musket has a strong following in War and some other PvP situations, it’s slow reload time and lackluster damage has led to lower adoption than we’d like to see. Some buffs are coming to the weapon in the short term and then we will consider if we need to do more.
Do you play the game in your spare time, and what weapon combinations are you using?
Absolutely. I try to play for an hour or two every night to keep up with the progression of my server and see how players are responding to the early, middle and later parts of the game. Playing with PUG groups and listening to global chat helps me stay in touch with the everyday experience of players in New World.
I’m running a STR heavy build with Great Axe and War Hammer. As discussed above, Great Axe is strong, it does a bit of everything. And pairing it with hammer gives me an additional damage type for those pesky Ancient Guardian’s, leverages my strength investment, and gives me some nice CC. Plus I love the fantasy of wielding the two big heavy weapons.
If you enjoyed this New World interview be sure to check out the rest of our Directors' Interviews with the minds behind MMO games like EVE Online, Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, Crowfall, Mortal Online 2, and more.
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