In contrast to how Lost Ark was doing on Friday, New World spent the morning trimming down its server list, merging 60 struggling low population servers into more active servers in order create a more viable experience.
And Amazon does have a game on its hands that requires a minimum population in order to be viable. Otherwise, crafting stations and such drop down to tier 1 and the whole thing sort of falls apart.
I will give Amazon some credit. They did at least design well for server merges. They knocked out the merges Friday morning and people were on their new servers and ready to go long before Lost Ark was up and running for its launch.
Of course, our server was once again on the merge list, so I was interested to see where we had landed.
Our company appeared to have landed intact when I checked on Friday. Now to see what sort of situation we would have to deal with.
We started on a server where the Syndicate held the center territories, then were merged into a server where the Covenant held most of the areas. As time went by the Syndicate managed to wrest a few of the central zones from the Covenant, so we had some cheap travel.
This time around it was time to throw us in the pool with a Marauder dominated server.
Actually, that is pretty balanced. I have, after a few months, come to associate Cutlass Keys with the booby prize; the group that holds it is generally in third place on the server. But we will have to see how things shake out over time with the influx of new players.
Of course, the locals were all set to welcome us to their server.
The taxes were later reduced, but that was my welcome to the server.
As long as the servers are up, stable, and they haven’t broken or lost anything as part of the merge, I suppose it doesn’t matter to much to our group where we land. It would be nice if the instant travel was cheaper, but it doesn’t take forever to walk anywhere if you’re short on Azoth. They are actually handing out some more free server transfer tokens today, but where would we go that was any better?
I am also probably not as invested in the game as might be were circumstances different. Once again, the whole “one character per server” thing, which makes some sense in a PvP only title, but less in one where PvE is a major component of play, means that my one guy needs to do all the things, including staying on track with the rest of the group. Even harvesting and crafting nets adventure experience, so I have had to lay off play at times because even working on trade skills can get you out in front of the pack.
But you do start to wonder where the game is headed and what Amazon is going to be able to do about it. Nobody expected it to stay anywhere close to its 900K concurrent player peak at launch, but after rolling out servers and giving away free transfers to get that under control, we’re down to where 50K concurrent players is a good day.
That still isn’t a number to sniff at. Those numbers likely put it ahead of, or in the zone with, most of the Daybreak titles, save for DC Universe Online, when it comes to MAUs. And EVE Online is happy when it breaks 30K concurrent users these days, but still runs along. So there is a business model to be made with that level of user engagement.
But can they hold on to those numbers and, more importantly, monetize the game to keep it viable without driving many of them away? Daybreak numbers for even their lower population games, like EverQuest II, still include a large percentage of people paying the monthly subscription fee.
And then there are the problems. PCRedbeard mentioned a John Strife Hayes video about the problems New World has had since launch… and watching it was somewhat staggering.
The funny thing about that video is that I remember most of the problems coming up, and can even remember what I was up to when some of them came up (the instance group started playing when they turned off all trade between players at one point) but the unexpected results of many of these issues and the knee-jerk fixes that Amazon applied, that was eye opening.
And the state of the game and how Amazon has seen fit to try and make it last longer seems pretty shaky. It isn’t a lost cause, but I will be interested to see how they plan to turn this around.