New World First Quarter Checkup

It is quite a show.

As someone who played New World during its beta period, I’d kind of hoped that our first quarter checkup would be a lot more positive than it is. Unfortunately Amazon seems to have put the C team on this one, as launch problems have only compounded over the last three months leaving behind a trail of embarrassing news stories and a development team constantly working to fix mistakes caused by their previous fixes.

If you’ve been playing New World or tangentially watching the news unfolding around it, you’re likely aware that every week seems to bring an embarrassing new story about the game breaking extensively and in rather unique ways. There have been exploits around players simply wiggling the game window causing their character to stop acknowledging damage in-game, seemingly a new dupe exploit every other week, and fixes that just cause new problems. Last week servers were breaking causing their in-game timers to spiral weeks into the future, and when Amazon attempted to compensate players for tax losses they accidentally gave people massive amounts of gold leading to an 11 hour downtime on the EU servers to try to fix the immediate breaking of the economy.

New World has been functioning on a system of “if it can break, someone will break it.” Company wars were sidelined for a while by a system that allowed people to mass-report participants and have them temporarily banned, companies figured out that you could reset influence by simply changing the town’s controlling company name multiple times, hatchet exploits allowed players to solo end-game activities, chat exploits allowed people to post html code and big photos of sausages in chat, and the trading post has seen itself disabled many, many times in order to shut down the transfer of goods during a discovered item duplication exploit.

Now New World is still a heavily played game on Steam, keeping its player ranking in the top 5 at most times. But its recent peaking of over 150,000 concurrent users is far and away lower than what it was at launch of over 900,000 players. Negative reviews ramped up over the last week after Amazon altered elite mobs to be much more difficult, and overall there’s been roughly ten thousand new negative reviews over the last ten days. Current standing of New World is a 70% ‘mostly positive’ review rating overall and a 57% ‘mixed’ rating for recent reviews.

Ultimately New World is still standing pretty strong in terms of player count, although it may be at a point where Amazon can start merging all the servers they opened to deal with launch traffic. We’re at an important point where players are in-game and playing, and Amazon needs to address the major problems that the game has before those players leave and don’t look back. New World can be a great game, and one that continues its success into a long term service. But Amazon needs to get their act together and stop releasing fixes that just break more systems.

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