Friday, June 19, 2020

The Electro-Skys Of The New World

Since I was moaning about Amazon not inviting me to whatever behind closed doors, super-secret, velvet rope, must be this cool to join, we'd tell you but then we'd have to kill you alpha-beta-gamma-delta test theysupposedly had going on for New World, I thought I'd probably better mention the email I got this morning.

It doesn't mention anything about not mentioning anything so I guess it's okay. I mean, I've had invites before where it literally said in the NDA that you'd be breaking the NDA if you told anyone you'd signed the NDA. Or something.

The email I got includes a link to a video that's on YouTube so I guess it's public knowledge. Here's that video now:

I watched it and learned a couple of things. One is that New World is rated PEGI 16. I wonder how they decide this sort of thing. Guild Wars 2 and World of Warcraft are both PEGI 12, which figures, but so is EVE Online, which seems like a serious mismatch. Do a lot of twelve year olds play EVE? They could. Should they?

You'd think  EVE would be PEGI 18, based on the way CCP positively embraces lying, cheating and scamming. It's the most "adult" mmorpg I can think of in terms of its explicit morality but a quick glance at PEGI's explanatory blurb for the classifications they use soon removes any illusion that complex social behaviors might form any part of their consideration.

I didn't spend a lot of time looking at the ratings of every MMORPG I've played, although I was severely tempted. I did notice that Elder Scrolls Online is PEGI 18. That's weird. It seemed as innocuous as any other MMORPG when I played it. Maybe it gets tougher, later.

Then again, maybe not. Perhaps I've just been de-sensitized by two decades of MMORPG gameplay. According to the definition, PEGI 16 means ESO features "... a depiction of gross violence, apparently motiveless killing, or violence towards defenceless characters. The glamorisation of the use of illegal drugs and explicit sexual activity ". I could probably give examples of everything on that list from the PEGI 12 titles I play, let alone the PEGI 16s. That might make for an interesting post...

The Secret World is PEGI 16, which makes a lot of sense. Secret World Legends, curiously, isn't even recognized by PEGI's search function. Based on what I saw in the first alpha, TSW/SWL would be one of the nearest experiences to New World in tone, mood and atmosphere, although you'd never guess it from the video above.

That's because the other thing I learned from the video is that the new New World is shaping up to be a very different game from the one I was expecting. I don't mean the sidelining of hardcore PvP in favor of cuddly, carebear PvE. I was ready for that.

No, I mean the way it apparently now looks and feels. Watching that video is like watching any promo video for any action MMO from the last five years. Explosions! Fireballs! Particle effects! Monsters! Oversized animals! Unfeasibly large weapons being wielded as though they have no discernible mass!  Kinetic characters leaping and jumping like actors in a 90s Hong Kong martial arts movie!  In full plate armor, no less!

There's even a flamethrower, a gatling gun and a flying skull spaceship that fires lazer beams out of its eyes! What happened? Where are the quiet, sun-drenched, abandoned fields? The deserted farmhouses with their dark, cool, mysterious interiors? The green, mossy, overgrown forests? The empty beaches with their silent tide-pools?

Yes, okay, alright. Let's dial the purple prose back a tad. The video is called "Combat Unleashed", after all. I'm sure the quiet bits are still there, somewhere. Still, I'm far from the only one to have noticed the disconnect between the game we saw in last year's alpha and what's about to be served up. My previous enthusiasm was based on what I saw back then. Now I'm starting to get those "better in beta" vibes. Only, alpha, obviously.

Closed Beta starts in just over a month. That really doesn't give it much time before the supposed launch date, 25 August. A month, in fact.  Either they're sure it's ready or they don't intend to keep that date at all. Or they've given up all hope.

I guess we'll find out which, soon enough.

1 comment:

  1. ...because nothing says crazy quite like a skull spaceship that shoots out laser beams.

    Unless it's dinosaurs with lasers.


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