Thursday, September 30, 2021

Jogging Round The Park In New World

As I was playing New World this afternoon, I wondered what I might find to write about later. It didn't seem that a lot had happened. Certainly nothing I hadn't commented on before, in my posts on the various alphas and betas these last few years. 

I'd done a lot of gathering, of course. Fought a lot of animals and undead. I'd been shopping at the Trading Post. I'd spent a lot of skill points or mastery points, whatever they call them. Both, probably.

What I'd done more of than anything, though, was jog. I'm not a great fan of jogging, in life or in games. If you're going to run, run.  I kept trying to, but none of the usual keys made me sprint and although I kept meaning to open the Settings menu and check if there was go faster key, somehow I always forgot when I got to a safe spot.

Photobombed by a Norland Nanny as I teleported.

New World does have some form of instant transport, possibly more than one. I found one location I could reliably teleport back to but only one. Other places said I could but I couldn't seem to manage it. One quest made a big, big deal of how I'd be able to teleport back at the end but I couldn't. 

None of this had anything to do with bugs or glitches, of which I've seen remarkably few. It had a lot more to do with me not paying attention because I was squirrelling. 

As others have said, there's an awful lot to do in New World. At low levels, at least, you'll never be stuck for something to fill your time. Another thing I was thinking about as the kilometers ticked by was how I'd define a "sandpark" mmorpg, which is what New World is, probably. 

Oh, hey, that looks interesting!


I decided it's when there are more organized activities provided than you can reasonably expect to finish but it really doesn't much matter which of them you do or in what order. 

  • A sandbox doesn't have much in the way of prepared entertainment at all. It relies on your imagination and your energy and if you don't have enough of either to keep yourself entertained then that's your problem.  
  • A theme park hands you a program of set pieces and asks you to follow the signs and enjoy them all in the right order and gets awkward about it if you try to jump the lines or go round the wrong way.  
  • A sandpark just shoves everything in front of you at once and says "Look at all the stuff we've got for you to do! Off you go! Have fun!" There's no right or wrong way to approach things. It's all going to be there when you get to it and you can do it in whatever order you want.

Okay, there are certain rules and barriers but the rules are vague and the barriers are low. If you want to focus on your skills or your stats or your gear you can do that. If you want to get right on with grabbing territory and having small wars you can do that. If you want to make money to buy a home you can do that.

Try not to focus on what I'm wearing. I know it's difficult but try.


That's something else I was thinking as I trotted across the map. Making some money to buy a house.

One thing that annoyed me in the last beta I was in was that there was housing in the game but I couldn't find any way to see what it looked like from the inside. Other mmorpgs have a "Tour" or "Visit" option. It seems like you'd need it for such a big purchase. Who'd want to buy a house sight unseen?

Of course there may have been an option and I just didn't see it. Very likely. Doesn't matter now. What does matter is whether you can look around your potential new home now the game is live and I'm happy to say you can.

I found out the way I'm finding out everything in New World at the moment. I was bumbling around and something came up on the screen and I clicked on it. Suddenly I could access a Housing Menu, which allowed me to visit friends (If I had any.) or enter an "Empty House." I tried it and there I was, inside.

The Show Home. They always look immaculate.


I'm happy to report that, as I'd hoped, New World's housing works much the way housing does in Black Desert Online. I think BDO has about the best mechanics I've seen for instanced housing in that you can see the outside from the inside. It removes all the problems of urban blight that arise from letting people build wherever they want. It avoids the suburbanism of instanced neighborhoods and it neatly sidesteps the issue of everyone being siloed in their own pocket housing universe.

In BDO and now as I found in New World, you can stand at the window of your instenced home and look out into the street, where you can see other players running past or using the crafting stations or standing around aimlessly. The windows in the starter home were a bit poky for a decent view but the principle's the thing. I imagine more expensive properties have a better prospect.

There's something else I liked. The price. The starter home in Windsward is only 5,000 gold. I had over a thousand gold by level ten just from quest rewards and mob drops. It makes the whole thing seem eminently affordable.

Purple and green should never be seen. Oh, look who's talking...


It also helps to give me at least the beginning of an idea on whare to focus my efforts, something I could definitely use after nine hours of running around semi-aimlessly, doing a little bit of this, a little bit of that and a lot of not very much in particular. As a short term goal I'm going to try and save up my five grand and get my foot on the housing ladder.

How you make money in New World is another question. One way would be to stop spending it, I guess. 

As usual, I quickly found myself engaged in quests well over my level but instead of stepping back and doing the things I was fit for I decided to buy my way out of my problems. I'd heard that the economy was currently favoring buyers rather than sellers so I took a look at the Trading Post and managed to buy myself a whole bunch of upgrades for only about a fifth of my liquid capital.

Recovering on the ledge, the only place adds wouldn't keep spawning on me.


I'm curious - and skeptical - about how the player-only economy is going to work long term. Are there any mmorpgs, other than EVE Online, that don't have any way whatsoever for players to make money by selling items to NPCs? It's been a staple of every game I've played for decades and I find it quite hard to imagine.

For now, though, it's working just fine. My new gear let me cruise through the roadblocks. At one point I found myself at level 11 fighting a level 16 quest mob with three level 16 adds in a confined space at the top of a tower and I killed them all. Granted I was at 2% health at the end but they were down and I was up so who cares if it was messy? A win's a win.

The downside of buying a random selection of gear off the TP is that I look like a drama student who lost a drunken bet and had to dress themselves by pulling random items from a box marked "Pantomime rejects - Do Not Use.

There's a town crier somewhere missing his shoes and a sewer-worker looking for his rubber gloves.


Seriously, just look at me! What is that pink petticoat I'm wearing supposed to be? Heavy armor, apparently. It looks like something Lucille Ball might have worn in a bedroom scene with Desi (Twin beds, three feet apart, naturally.) with one of Jean-Paul Gautier's rejected designs for Madonna's bustier slapped over the top. It's beyond hideous and believe it or not someone crafted it. No wonder they were selling it at a rock-bottom price.

When I was wearing all quest drops they were both understated and thematically appropriate. Now I look like I shouldn't be allowed out on my own. If I knew how the appearance system worked, or the dyes, maybe I could do something about it. Another goal to work on, I guess.

That picture was taken in Windsward, by the way, the place where I looked at the house, is very nice. Twee, even. So much so, there are in-game jokes about it. I might settle there. I'm mostly doing stuff for Monarch Bluffs right now, though.

You say twee, I say picturesque.


That's another thing I like about New World, the geographical delineation. Each settlement has its own politics and social structure and there's a whole progression element attached. You could focus on one and cap everything, the way people clear or finish zones and maps in other games, or you could just wander around and do stuff for everyone and let it all fill in behind you. You can guess which way I'm going.

I do like progression, it has to be said. I don't go all that much on linear narratives or on-rails levelling but equally I'm not crazy about everything flattening out so much it never seems you're getting anywhere. I think one of the reasons New World has such traction at the early stages is that there's a continual fizz and pop of numbers getting bigger and it feels exciting. 

EverQuest used to be great at that in the old days, when skills all went up with use and every level mattered and there were hundreds of factions to work on. It's something a lot of games seem to have tried to get away from in recent years, possibly to try and avoid players getting confused or overwhelmed. New World doesn't seem to care much about that.

Does anyone know if flax is addictive? I think it might be... (This gag would have been ten times funnier if I'd remembered that plant is hemp not flax.)


There are going to be guides telling you the "best" or the "quickest" route through all this, soon enough. Actually, I'm sure there are already. I haven't looked. The strength of the sandpark format, especially when it's done as well as this, is that there isn't really a wrong way to do anything. In the end you're going to want to have done it all so you may as well do some of it whenever you can. Any of it.

That's my excuse, anyway. I suppose I might come to regret not having more of a focus - wouldn't be the first time - but I doubt it. For now, though, I have no particular plans.

Well, except for my house. And some decent clothes. 

Clothes first, I think. Can't keep walking around looking like that.


  1. EVE does have ways to make money by selling dropped items to NPCs, for example various pirate credentials scrounged from wrecks. What it doesn't have that most other MMOs do is a way to sell your trash drops to NPCs. If a drop is worthless, it's worthless.

    1. Ah, that's interesting. I've never played EVE (I guess I should at least try it sometime, now it has a F2P option, just so I can mention it with a bit more authority) but that's the first time I've ever seen anyone mention you could sell anything except to other players.

      I have to ask, though - does EVE actually have trash drops with no use or purpose in the game that you can't sell to NPCs? And if so, did CCP add them specifically so players could use them to scam people? That really would be hardcore!

    2. Yes, there are useless drops NPCs can't buy. I think they were added more for color and cosmetics than for scam potential, though. It's pretty common for cosmetic items like this to sell for pretty good money on the player market: things like Exotic Dancer (either male or female) or Spirits are pretty commonly traded in spite of being worthless. (A lot of these are actually quest items, so they have some hypothetical use, but the quests are repeatable and often basically worthless, so you might be better off selling the item than finishing the quest.)

  2. One of the "how to craft" quests even tells you, after you make an iron sword, that you can sell it "or anything" to the magistrate at the trading post. Or something along those lines. So it seemed like at one point you COULD sell things to NPCs. Wish they'd bring that back.

    1. Hmm. I wonder if that's just a misleadingly-phrased line of dialog intended to tell you to sell it *at* the TP? I wasn't in the closed beta but there was never anything but the TP in the alpha or any of the open tests.

  3. I gotta say, any kind of foliage looks extremely great on your screenshots. Does it hold up when moving?

    As for your EVE question, I don't think there is such a thing as completely worthless drops. I haven't done anything other than PvP for a pretty long time, but at least I can't remember anything like that.

    Now, there are a lot of drops that no-one actually wants (trash mods that nobody but a newbie in their first week would ever use, for example), but unless they changed that you can reprocess those into raw materials, so they're not really useless.

    1. The foliage everywhere is thick and lush and the lighting effects are amazing. It ought to be just as good in motion but for me it's not because I have an aging PC that was barely mid-range when I bought it, which must be well over five years ago now.

      On the settings I'm using (I think I'd gone up from Low to Medium when I took those shots) the screenshots look significantly better than the same scenes appear in game. If you have a PC than can run New World at the higher graphic levels, though, I imagine you'd see soemthing a lot better.

      Back in the original alpha, I ran the game (on this same, identical machine) at the highest settings and it both played smoothly and looked incredible. There was a lot less going on in game, of course, back then. Fewer mobs, no NPCs at all, very few players. Now it's extremely busy in every way, which is a lot for my machine to handle.


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