Online game

How I survived the brutal launch of Amazon’s New World online game

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Amazon can sell almost anything, so why not have its own online game? New world, the latest Amazon Games project, launched on September 28 and immediately won over more than 700,000 players. This is good news for New World, but not great for players like me who have had to wait in long lines in line to get into the game.

The game is divided into hundreds of servers, or “worlds,” each accommodating up to 2,000 players. How do you choose? Some worlds were more appealing than others because a popular Twitch streamer was there, or just because of a catchy server name. The Valhalla server had over 10,000 people waiting in its queue. The more popular the server, the longer the wait to connect, up to several hours.

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Screenshot by Oscar Gonzalez / CNET

I tried to log in at 9:40 PM ET on the game’s release day, but the server I tried to join had over 800 people in line. This is even after Amazon Games added dozens of additional servers in the afternoon to accommodate players.

Before trying to join a server, you need to watch a CGI intro movie that introduces a bit of the story. Then, let’s go to create a character. I’m not the type to obsess over every detail of my character. I usually select the “randomize” option, which automatically creates a character. You can press the button over and over again until you find a combo you like. I usually try to get one that looks a bit like me.

What a beautiful devil

What a beautiful devil.

Screenshot by Oscar Gonzalez / CNET

With my new character ready, long salt and pepper hair and all, it was time to find a server. The world I had planned to jump into had shrunk to a queue of 500 people. Fortunately, I had other things to do in the meantime, as it took me about an hour before it was my turn to join the game.

Starting

The first was the tutorial. This is where the game holds your hand to teach you the basics of movement and combat. Because I had already participated in the New World Beta in August, it was familiar to me.

The first area you find yourself in is the Ship Graveyard, where you ran aground. A zombie sailor greets you with a flying attack and this starts the combat tutorial. The movement of the characters is done with the keyboard, while the mouse manages attacks and blocks. You can use a gamepad, if you prefer. The game will hold your hand, making sure you press all the buttons as directed before you can continue. I enjoyed this tutorial the first time around, as New World’s combat is much more action-packed than World of Warcraft and other traditional massively multiplayer online role-playing games (also known as MMORPGs).

This tutorial ends with a battle against a zombified ship captain. Ideally, this is where you use all the skills you’ve learned, such as dodge, block, and your special attack. Whether you’re fighting the captain flawlessly or getting slapped in the face, the battle ends prematurely with a dramatic ending streak that I’m not going to spoil for you here.

A strange new world

After a few loading screens, you will finally arrive at Aeternum. Players appear in random start areas across the map, so they don’t overwhelm a space with hundreds of new characters.

The first quests in the game are designed to teach you collecting, crafting, and more gear. This is also when you can see all the other new players who have just joined the game. Many were screaming in the server chat how happy they were to finally play after the long wait.

The quests you get in this boot area are mostly salvage quests: go grab a thing and bring it back. There are certain items that you learn to craft, like a Skinning Knife, which allows you to obtain the skin and meat of the local boar. These boars are usually plentiful, but with so many new players in the area, it can take a minute to find one.

After a handful of training missions, it’s time to head to the nearest town, Monarch’s Bluffs.

Life in the big city

I have been into town and it is a bit of a walk to the departure area at Monarch’s Bluffs. One thing I noticed halfway there was a large number of campfires. These act as a spawn point, a place to regain health and do some crafting. Campfires litter the road to Monarch’s Bluffs and extend all the way to the town’s front door.

It’s not a huge, sprawling city, but it does offer a lot to do. As in the start area, the quests here allow players to become more familiar with the other collecting and crafting options. The town also has a trading post that serves as an auction house and storage shed for items in your inventory.

On my first day in the game I collected wood and stones and then blacksmithed to create a longsword. As a reward, I finally got the chance to create my own campfire as a personal spawn point. But it was getting late, so I decided to set up my own campfire among those littering the city roads and call it the end of my first day at Aeternum.

It was only one day in New World, but games like this aren’t designed to be completed in a single day, week, or even over several months. That’s the allure of an online game, it’s an ever-changing world, mixed with all the chance that comes with bringing together thousands of real humans and seeing what happens. There is a lot more to Aeternum and this is what Amazon is hoping to keep players coming back for.


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