New world is fine, but you can’t beat the buzz of a new MMO
New World, the first major MMORPG launch in years, has an incredibly vibrant and enthusiastic community, but you better enjoy it while it lasts.
I don’t like the New World yet. As a largely solo MMO player, I find his early quests disappointing and repetitive. I know it’s basically such a staple, but I thought maybe this one would be different. Despite everything, I take advantage of my stay on the island of Aeternum, only for the buzz. The last major MMORPG launch was The Elder Scrolls Online in 2014, so New World’s insane success might not come as a surprise. As of this writing, 330,000 people are playing it on Steam, with a daily peak of over 700,000. Only the unstoppable Dota 2 and Counter-Strike rank higher in terms of player volume.
This means that when you log into New World, you feel like living in a way that I haven’t felt in an MMORPG in years. The Starting Zone Cat is a never-ending, bustling scroll, with players sharing tips, having little chats, and some announcing that this is their first MMO, which is greeted with a wave of welcoming positivity. . I haven’t seen a single jerk yet, which is really remarkable for an online game. Of course, your mileage may vary. I might have been lucky and picked a server with an unusually low number of assholes. Even though I prefer solo quests in MMOs, I still like the world I’m in to feel alive, and New World is positively lively.
Playing MMOs at launch is always an exciting time. I have fond memories of running in crowded starting areas like Korriban in Star Wars: The Old Republic or the Shiverpeak Mountains in Guild Wars 2. It’s a singular moment for an MMO, when pretty much everyone world is on a level playing field, discovering the game together, and just as clueless as everyone else. The dismal cynicism that inevitably seeps into these games has yet to manifest. Eventually it will happen. Give it a few years (if New World lasts that long) and the chat will be full of miserable veterans laughing at your basic questions. But for now, it’s pretty.
I played Guild Wars 2 last year, trying to replicate the thrill of my first year, and it was deeply depressing. I have always considered him to be one of the best examples of the genre. But while it was still the same game, all of life had been sucked into it. It felt like I was going back to the city you grew up in to find that everyone you know has moved and your house has been demolished. It actually happened to me. When a world boss spawned (in Guild Wars, not in my hometown), I would sprint and it would be me and three other people, away from the huge crowds I found myself fighting with at launch.
I know this is all part of the natural lifecycle of an MMORPG. But it was a stark reminder that these games are defined by the number of people who play them. People who are currently logging into New World are having an experience that no one else who will play the game in the future will ever have. I think that’s why playing it, even though it’s actually pretty average, is more exciting than it should be. It’s like being a part of something. I doubt this game will ever be considered a shining example of the genre, but at this exact moment, it fills an MMO-shaped void that has been left blank for far too long. Are we witnessing the beginning of a renaissance of the genre? If New World’s player count is anything to consider, there’s definitely an audience for it.
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