A New World Dawns

The day has come at last.  After changes and postponements and what not, New World goes live today.

Just how new and how worldly?

I received an email yesterday morning from Amazon with the Steam key that was the fulfillment of my pre-order.  I launched Steam and plugged that in and downloaded the client, which weighed in at about 39GB, putting it about on par with the Diablo II Resurrected client I downloaded last week.

After that all there was left to do was wait.  And even the wait wasn’t that long.  The various server regions were all set to start up at 8am local time… except Australia for some reason.

It is 8am somewhere

That means pretty much everything is live now.  But I won’t bother to log in until later today, after work and the usual rest I need.  It is hard to sit at you desk at home all day working and then transition to games.  I need to be somewhere else for a while.

Amazon has provided a whole bunch of details about the launch in a post on their site, including the list of servers available.

Meanwhile, somebody has also put together a whole web site about which streamers will be on what servers for launch so you can avoid  the servers that are going to get slammed because somebody with 100K followers is going to swamp the server.

As for why I am playing, a legitimate question after my somewhat tepid summary of the latest beta relative to where the game stood a few years back, there are a few reasons.

First, I remain interested in how it turned out.  The change to a theme park stance has worn away any hype I might have had for the title, but that might be a good thing.  Hype knows no sense or logic, it only knows hype and it is very easy to let hype inflate your expectations.  Lower expectations mean a more appraising look at the title and less likelihood of real disappointment.

Second, it has been a bit of a ride getting here since the game was announced back in 2016.  Five years isn’t that long of a stretch… let me tell you about some Kickstarter backed MMOs that promised to ship more than five years ago that still aren’t even in beta… but given the gyrations and the delays and the change of course… again, I am interested to see where it ended up.

Third, it is a bit of an event in the genre, the first big studio launch of an MMORPG in a while.  How it goes will likely be read as a barometer for the genre as a whole.  Are MMORPGs a thing again?  Is the market ready for new blood?  And how long has it been since I was at an MMORPG launch?  Expansions don’t count and I cannot remember the last time I was there on day one for a new title.

Finally, it is kind of a low commitment.  New World is buy to play; grab the box for $40 and no subscription required.  I am down with that.  Not having a subscription cuts both ways of course.  While it makes it easy to buy in, I also have a tendency to prioritize the games I am paying a monthly fee for when it comes to play time.  But we’ll see.  I also want to see the day one cash shop versus what it looks like a year from now.

I have no idea where I will end up server-wise.  And the fact that companies (guilds) are capped at 100 people means I’ll likely not join one any time soon if only to avoid taking up a limited resource for some group.

And, of course, we’ll see if Amazon is really ready.  There is certainly a chance that there will be issues.  It would barely be an MMORPG launch without some problems.  I’ll be along for the ride.  Let’s see how it rolls.

Addendum: I peeked in this morning just to see how things were going and it is queues everywhere, rolling up into the 25K zone for some “cool name” servers, like Valhalla in US East.  I expect we might see some additional servers coming online before the weekend.

Addendum 2: Oh yeah, new servers inbound

8 thoughts on “A New World Dawns

  1. Shadow

    Similar place as you, I’m checking it out tonight after my son’s Baseball game, which should be plenty of decompress time. I’m not on fire for it, but I’m interested and curious, which is more than I’ve been for an MMO in a while.

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  2. bhagpuss

    I got in immediately, no queue to speak of (15 people, ten seconds) and played smoothly and without any problems at all for almost three hours. I got to level 10 then logged out and wrote a post about it.

    It is without doubt the smoothest major mmo launch I can remember. The game feels polished, slick and finished at the starter levels. It’s almost unrecognizeable from that original alpha but get that out of your head and just take it for what it’s become and it looks very convincing.

    Whether there’s as much content in the mid-high levels remains to be seen. It wouldn’t be the first mmorpg to be fully rendered at the start and barely sketched out at the end. I suspect the polish goes all the way, though. It seems to me someone at Amazon is determined to get this right.

    The big surprise for me was the voice acting. Either my memory is even worse than I thought or they’ve re-done it all and done it much, much better. It made a huge difference to my engagement with the narrative. Wasn’t expecting that at all.

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  3. zaphod6502

    For some inexplicable reason the Asia Pacific region is only covered by one server group based in Sydney Australia so the entire Asian region has been trying to log in to the small number of servers here (with the resultant bad pings). Servers here are averaging two hour waits to get in and the two busiest servers have queues of over 25,000 people and six hour waits to log in. Hopefully this settles down by the weekend and they can add more servers.

    As for the game itself it is excellent. The highly detailed graphics somehow have an excellent smooth framerate and the UI is very modern and easy to use. I don’t know what sort of graphics engine they are using for the game but it runs very well.

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  4. Shintar

    Call me cynical, but I don’t expect that things have changed very much in the MMO scene… meaning there’ll be huge hype at launch, but by the 30-day mark player numbers will be in free fall and the first “why New World failed to captivate me” posts and videos will start cropping up. In the end it’ll probably settle into its niche, like so many MMOs have; I just don’t see anything particularly exciting and new about it.

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  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Shintar – I will be interested to see what the population looks like a month, three months, and six month down the road. People keep saying that a lot of this is hunger for something new, and New World gives you some of that.

    I will give Amazon credit though. They’re hoping for success and planning for… if not failure, then a collapse from the opening day peak. They have their realms in server groups set to be collapsed down into a single server if the population sags.

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  6. kiantremayne

    @Shintar – some sort of drop-off is inevitable. And the “why New World failed to captivate me” posts and videos started before launch :) The interesting question is where the numbers plateau – at the ‘dismal failure’ level, ‘moderately prosperous’ (i.e. on a par with the likes of ESO) or somewhere higher.

    I like New World. It doesn’t revolutionise the entire genre but it feels very solidly put together, polished, and manages to both comfortably familiar and have just enough that’s new in the setting and mechanics to set it apart. That’s also a description that would have worked for vanilla WoW, which also had capacity problems, a scramble to add more servers and way worse in-game bugs at launch.

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