New World Review 2022 - Is It Good or Bad?

New World promotional art
Amazon Games (right) attempts to conquer the army of gamebreaking bugs (left) it unleashed upon New World, 2021, colorized

Present-day New World looks like a shadow of its former self. Reviews were generally favorable at the game’s release, but eventually players noticed glaring issues that detracted from New World’s functionality and fun. As an avid player, I will set aside my biases and judge the game as fairly as I can to answer the question: do the game’s issues outweigh the enjoyment it has to offer?

About New World

As a massively multiplayer roleplaying game (MMORPG), New World stood out from other games in the genre with its focus on large-scale player versus player (PvP) combat, robust crafting system, and current-gen looks. Amazon Games (AG) released the game on September 28th, 2021, and it was met with great praise.

Over 750,000 players were online during launch day according to New World’s Steam charts, and over 900,000 players the day after. However, the player count has steadily declined since then, currently averaging just over 65,000 players at peak times.

What happened? 

Players generally agree that New World was not fit for release, despite being in development for six years. An overwhelming amount of bugs, dysfunctionality, and questionable progression systems ruined those early positive impressions, but there’s still some good to be found in the rough.

New World’s Story

Where do the Corrupted come from, and what do they want?

New World’s story summed up:

MMORPG storylines are traditionally not their strongpoints, and New World doesn’t stray far from this path. Your character starts their journey on a galleon with Commander Thorpe, a friendly non-player character (NPC) who is infatuated by a mysterious box belonging to an unknown, hooded man. After the short cutscene, you promptly crash onto the island of Aeternum where you discover a land rich with exotic flora, fauna, and . . . black sludge.

Shortly after, Thorpe becomes corrupted by said sludge and serves as the game’s primary antagonist. From there the story follows fairly standard beats with a couple of twists. All in all, the story isn’t terribly interesting. However, learning about the island and its inhabitants is.

Aeternum is host to a curious assortment of creatures, ranging from reanimated skeletons to forest dwellers made of the very bark they protect. Snippets of information about these denizens are scribbled on letters left by previous adventurers, oftentimes describing a frightening encounter. This adds a bit of allure to New World’s indigenous factions, and I still find myself pondering their origins.

New World’s Gameplay

Players on the Blue Team defend an outpost against the Red Team in a match of Outpost Rush.

An example of War gameplay:

New World is clearly centered around its PvP combat and crafting system, the two strongest selling points of the game. Typical MMORPG activities like leveling and group dungeons are present as well, though their quality is a bit of a mixed bag.

Character Creation and Classes

Character creation in New World offers just enough cosmetic options to give your character a unique look, though the level of customization is relatively low compared to other current-gen titles. Still, the variety of beards, tattoos, and neon-blue pigtails is sure to make your character stand out from the crowd as you clobber your foes in PvP.

Your class is determined by what weapon your character has equipped, and their respective specialization trees (called Weapon Mastery) which you may allocate skill points into, e.g. Warhammers can be specialized for damage or crowd control, Sword and Shield can be specialized for damage or tanking, etc. There is also no limit to how many weapon types you can master; you could eventually earn maximum skill points for all Weapon Masteries, and switch roles simply by switching weapons.

New World PvP

Small skirmishes can break out between PvP flagged parties of different factions.

As previously mentioned, PvP is the focus of New World, and AG acknowledged as much during the game’s development. Once players complete a quest chain at level 10 they are sent to join one of New World’s three factions: the fanatical Covenant, the militaristic Marauders, or highbrow Syndicate. After players choose a faction to join they can “flag” themselves for PvP. 

When you flag yourself for PvP, you can attack other flagged players outside of towns and other safezones. There are also quests given by faction representatives that encourage PvP for useful rewards. Players who do not wish to partake in PvP may leave themselves unflagged to go about their adventuring in relative peace.

Endgame PvP adds two different activities for players to take part in: Outpost Rush and Wars. Outpost Rush is a 20v20 instanced battleground where players compete to control three outposts to gain points in a king-of-the-hill fashion, while Wars are massive 40v40 battles organized by companies (i.e. a guild of players) who vye for control of a town and its territory. Charging into a giant PvP battle with your friends is exactly the kind of experience I want out of an MMORPG, and AG makes this a lot of fun.

The PvP in New World is stellar, and can only get better as AG builds on top of this already solid foundation. However, recent updates plague PvP combat with lag and desync issues, which unfortunately tarnishes the game’s most shining feature.

Gathering and Crafting

A player braves the nightmarish Shattered Mountain to mine an Orichalcum node.

New World’s gathering and crafting system is both complex and satisfying. It allows players to make their own equipment out of resources they gather in Aeternum, such as weapons, armor pieces, jewelry, and potions. 

Generally, I think resource gathering and item crafting tend to be the most boring components of a MMORPG, but in New World I found myself picking and chopping everything that would let me. Shimmering nodes of Starmetal also motivated me to get my mining skill up, mostly because it looked cool and I wanted to mine that fancy stuff. These natural resources are a clever way AG invites players to instinctively explore the continent, since shiny mining nodes or vibrant herbs are visible over great distances.

Crafting stuff out of the materials you’ve gathered feels great too. Whether it’s turning raw resources into a refined ones (e.g. Silk, Iron Ingots, Leather) to sell on the Trading Post or smithing a weapon for yourself, there’s a lot of freedom in crafting progression. On the other hand, endgame crafting is a bit reliant on dice rolls for the best gear, which can feel like a letdown when such expensive materials are crafted into a less-than-ideal item.

Leveling gathering and crafting skills are undoubtedly more grinds, but the consensus is these experiences are both enjoyable and relaxing. This system remains mostly unchanged, though AG recently made the experience requirement to reach max-level crafting a much taller order. They felt players were becoming master crafters a bit too quickly, and this change was met with some negativity from the playerbase.

New World PvE

Players stumble upon the Shattered Obelisk expedition, one of the group dungeons in New World.

New World’s PvE aspects are a bit of an afterthought, according to alpha and beta testers. If the copy-pasted questing wasn’t evidence enough (more on this later), group dungeons were apparently non-existent through the majority of the game’s development. Eventually these dungeons, or Expeditions, were added at the tail-end of development, and have turned into some of the most enjoyable content in New World. They are filled with small puzzles, engaging encounters, and genuinely challenging boss fights.

At the endgame, PvE consists of two Expeditions, Invasions, and the controversial Expertise grind. The endgame Expeditions Garden of Genesis and Lazarus Instrumentality epitomize what made all of the early-game dungeons so enjoyable, and are fun to hack and slash through many times over. Invasions are a 40-player horde mode in which you defend against waves of Corrupted enemies for 30 minutes, and are rewarded based on how long you survive.

Expertise and Mutators

The Expertise grind is New World’s endgame gear progression system, which is a source of backlash among the community. Essentially, armor, weapons, and jewelry all possess a stat which dictates the quality of respective gear drops. For example, if your Greataxe Expertise is low and a boss drops a rare Greataxe, the weapon you are presented with is a much weaker version compared to a player with maximized Greataxe Expertise.

AG introduced additional avenues to help players increase their Expertise more quickly through increased drops, the Gypsum system, etc. Previously, the only effective way to bump up your Expertise rating was to mindlessly swarm open-world group dungeons with an army of players, so these are welcome changes. However, it remains a tiresome part of the game I can’t help but roll my eyes at.

Mutators are the most recent addition to New World, and are all the rage. These are more difficult versions of endgame Expeditions, and are essentially the same as World of Warcraft’s Mythic+ system. Players encounter buffed up mobs and are timed to complete the Expedition quickly for better rewards. The added challenge has revived interest in the game a bit, but is still relying on recycled material to keep players logging in.

All in all, the biggest issue here is simply this; there isn’t enough PvE content at the endgame. Present PvE activities are wonderful, but without more variety players will quickly find themselves twiddling their thumbs.

New World Combat

Showcase of combat while questing by IGN.

Combat Overview

Thankfully, combat is one of New World’s best features. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to the passive tab-targeting auto-attack prevalent in most MMORPGs. Players can perform light or heavy attacks with each swing, and can combo some impressive damage if they time their abilities correctly. Surprisingly, there are even headshot specializations for you Counterstrike pros out there.

As mentioned earlier, the combat is unfortunately in a clunky state. Lag is a huge issue that desyncs players in large PvP battles, frequently making characters snap back to where they were seconds ago. There are movement speed bugs that can grant characters unfair speed advantages, and an inability to cancel active skills once their hotkeys are pressed. These were non-issues during the game’s release but have emerged from recent updates, much to the dislike of the playerbase. AG developers say they are working quickly to fix these issues.

Weapon Mastery

The Weapon Mastery system has remained unchanged from New World’s release and for good reason; it needs no fixing. Weapon Mastery trees invite deep theorycrafting without being too complex and work seamlessly with newly added weapons e.g. the Void Gauntlet. You can create your own homebrewed spec and genuinely be effective in PvP or PvE, which is a degree of customization that feels great. AG ironed out a few initial bugs with some of the abilities and Weapon Mastery is in a perfect place for future updates.

New World’s Quest and Mission System

Adventurers fight the Lost, a race of ghouls and ghosts found on Aeternum.

Questing Overview

New World’s questing system is a topic of major scrutiny among the playerbase. Essentially, you are stuck with the types of quests you receive within the first few hours of the game until you reach the maximum level of 60. Almost all of the quests fall under a “go here and kill x number of enemies” and “loot chests for these items” type.This may seem like typical MMORPG grind fare, but feels much more repetitive due to a lack of enemy variety. You fight the same zombies, skeletons, and dryad mobs into the endgame with almost no reskins encountered throughout.

The main story quest suffers from similar problems, but at least there is an overarching goal with some interesting twists that separates it from the standard quest loops. AG has recently added more quest and enemy types to the game but as a whole questing still feels static.

That said, quests turn players into pioneers when they’re sent to explore New World’s vast and varied wilderness in a way that feels organic. NPCs and quest givers are usually dressed to fit their zones (e.g. pirate garb in coastal zones, furs in snowy ones), and consistently engage the player with playful dialogue. Despite the repetitive subject matter, the journey players undertake while questing is delightful.

Town Boards

The various towns scattered about Aeternum offer jobs on their respective Town Boards. These tasks are similar to standard quests but involve things like killing a number of troublesome animals, gathering resources, or crafting items that contribute towards the town’s functionality. Some may be completed without ever leaving the settlement, which makes them an effective supplement or alternative to questing. Town board missions ultimately feel like another grind, but at least they provide a wider variety of things to do.

Faction representatives at each of these towns offer their own missions as well, most of which encourage PvP in some form. These quests are usually not great for leveling, but do allow for some powerful rewards down the line.

New World’s Graphics

New World sports an impressive amount of current-gen detail compared to other MMORPGs

Examples of New World zones:

One thing the majority of players agree on is New World’s presentation. It is a beautiful game, and might be the best looking MMORPG currently on the market. MMORPGs generally sacrifice graphical quality due to the sheer amount of assets that can be on the screen at any time, and New World still looks detailed despite taking similar liberties.

The Environment

Each zone is beautifully crafted, ranging from colorful Autumn forests in Everfall to tropical beaches in First Light. I found Weaver’s Fen to be particularly impressive, personally. It is a putrid marsh, but when sunlight hits the swamp gas just right a lovely warm glow illuminates the entire zone.

Endgame areas span from gorgeous to terrifying. Shattered Mountain is where you’ll spend a lot of your time, and it’s basically a hellscape. Towns in ruin, gigantic demons, and Corrupted wildlife make up the majority of the experience here. On the other hand, Ebonscale Reach is a lush jungle filled with vibrant, Chinese-inspired architecture, and is easily my favorite zone to venture through.

All in all, the environments in New World are pure eye candy.

Character Animations

A splendid array of cosmetics and emotes.

New World character animations are smooth and expressive. Whether you’re crouching behind some rocks, strolling through town, or giving someone a thumbs up, it all looks natural.

Combat animations are top-notch and visually appealing as well. Characters drag their Greataxes along the ground when charging at enemies, sparks jumping about, while others use Firestaffs to levitate and soar through the air in a fireball. The accompanying sounds are also immensely satisfying; Warhammer wallops emit a Mjolnir-esque ring, Musket shots crackle and echo into the distance, etc.

Environmental Sound Design

Additionally, New World’s environmental sounds are arguably the most immersive aspect of the game. A pickaxe swing at an iron node or hatchet chop into a young tree sound like their real-world equivalents. You can hear other players gathering like this in the distance, and really sells the feeling that Aeternum is full of life.
The sound design team alone deserves nothing less than a 10/10 across the board, and honestly carry a lot of weight when considering the overall state of New World.

New World’s Developer

Amazon Games Studios (renamed Amazon Games) has an inconsistent game development history.

Amazon Games has a shoddy track record with its game releases. Both Breakaway and Crucible were canceled, which were two of the three games the studio was developing. The third is New World, which currently outlives the studio’s other two attempts at game releases. It can be viewed as a success in comparison, but New World’s beginnings were also executed poorly, and raises eyebrows at just what goes on during AG’s development process.

Bugs and Exploits

The ugly truth is, New World was a buggy mess upon release, and continues to be. In the beginning, AG would quickly address these bugs as players discovered them, but much like a hydra each attempt at fixing bugs sprouted many more new ones.t

Among the worst of these were item duplication exploits which allowed players to crash server economies, weapon passives with no upper damage limit, and intentional lag abuse that would allow companies to win Wars by forfeit, rendering the efforts of the opposing 40-player team useless. There are countless minor bugs which have yet to be addressed, such as replaying achievement notifications and clipping through terrain, which seem like easier fixes but have still gone untouched.

Developer Communication

Despite this, AG is the most responsive developer I’ve seen in the MMORPG genre. They punctually respond to player concerns on the official New World forums, and are completely transparent about upcoming patches. AG regularly takes suggestions made by players and implements them if they are deemed reasonable. They also acknowledge (and apologize for) the rampant amount of bugs from previous patches, and are chiseling away at this mountain with their weekly updates.

This level of communication is unprecedented in my experience. Blizzard would take months to address serious bugs in World of Warcraft, while AG implements fixes in a few days. This responsiveness alone bodes well for the development of New World moving forward.

New World’s Price

The standard edition of New World costs $39.99, while the deluxe edition costs $49.99 and includes some extra cosmetics for player characters and houses. There are microtransactions, but no pay-to-win elements since everything in the shop is purely cosmetic and has no effect on gameplay. You can also pay for server transfers, which is a nice quality of life option, but it is unclear if other services like this will be added in the future.

Final Verdict

Commander Thorpe asks "Do you want to continue?"

Look, I like New World a lot. There’s a solid foundation for a very fun MMORPG with uniquely fast-paced combat, but is unfortunately bogged down by a heap of bugs, connection problems, and a questionable endgame grind. At times you will feel like you are playing a beta test of New World rather than a fully released title, even after all of the updates. It is for these reasons I cannot currently give New World anything higher than a 6/10. Currently, the game’s positives outweigh its negatives by a hair.

However, the communication and responsiveness from the developers gives me hope for the future of the game, and I firmly believe New World is worthy of an 8/10 or 9/10 in the near future.


  • Beautiful world that invites players to explore every corner
  • Absolutely perfect sound design
  • Crisp, skill-demanding combat
  • Dungeons that are genuinely fun and challenging
  • Massive PvP and PvE events


  • Bugs, and lots of them
  • PvP is currently in a laggy, clunky state
  • Expertise grind is unfulfilling
  • Lack of endgame content

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Of all his passions that have flourished and faded, video games have stuck with Alex since the beginning, much to his parents' chagrin. It's only natural that he shares his obnoxious opinions on them.
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: PVP
Currently Playing: New World
Top 3 Favorite Games:, ,

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