December End Game UpdateBased on feedback on the High Water Mark (HWM) system and our desire to have a compelling and diverse end game, we are making some major updates in our December 1.2 patch.
Our goal for the end game is to provide a variety of activities that all provide compelling rewards and interesting challenges. In this article, I’ll discuss 3 big changes we’ll be making – improving our end game gear progression, increasing rewards for some end game activities, and tuning difficulty of end game content.
Expertise & Gypsum SystemSince New World's launch, we've heard the feedback from our community that the HWM system was not communicated effectively, promotes a single monotonous activity, had too much randomness, and was a bit too grindy. So, we are completely revamping the system to address these concerns. This new and improved HWM system is called **Expertise**.
In the December update, Expertise will govern the highest drops you can get per slot, much like HWM did. But starting in early 2022, it will also govern the effectiveness of your gear. This means if your War Hammer Expertise is 520, and you equip a 550 Gear Score War Hammer, the weapon’s effective Gear Score will be reduced to 520. While we understand to some players this may result in a temporary reduction in power, we believe in the long run this will result in more rewarding progression loop that can’t be bypassed by buying gear off the trading post.
A major improvement provided by Expertise is that a player’s Expertise per slot is displayed on the inventory screen, as well as the average Expertise of all equipped gear. Additionally, each time a player gets an Expertise bump, a level up banner will appear showing their new Expertise Level. Note that the Expertise system unlocks at level 60, so this information will not be shown until then.
The second major improvement we made is adding a way for players to control their gear progression. To achieve this we introduced Gypsum. Gypsum is a new resource that is found by doing a variety of activities. Gypsum can be crafted into Gypsum Orbs, which can then be turned into special caches called Gypsum Casts. Gypsum Casts are gear type specific and when opened guarantee an Expertise bump for that type of gear as well as an item of that type. So if you really want to increase your Bow Expertise, you can craft Gypsum Bow Cast. Players can earn Gypsum by doing 7 different end-game activities:
- Obsidian Gypsum – defeating level 60+ open world named bosses, typically found in Elite Landmarks
- Sapphire Gypsum – defeating the final bosses of The Lazarus Instrumentality and Garden of Genesis
- Ruby Gypsum – found in Outpost Rush Caches
- Emerald Gypsum – found in Trade Skill Aptitude Reward Containers
- Citrine Gypsum – found in Arena Caches
- Amethyst Gypsum – found in Breach Caches
- Topaz Gypsum – found on hostile creatures Level 55+, but only after consuming a special Attunement Potion that can be crafted at a Tier 5 Camp.
We believe that providing different ways to collect Gypsum will allow players to play a variety of content, while always finding at least a few activities they love to progress in their gear score. Engaging in these activities for 30-60 minutes a day will earn players enough Gypsum of that type to craft a Gypsum Orb (except for Topaz since the Attunement potion can only be crafted once a week). After players have earned sufficient Gypsum for an Orb, they won’t earn more for 23 hours. Gypsum Orbs can then be crafted into Gypsum Casts of any weapon, armor, or trinket type. Note you can only craft any type of Cast, once per day. Opening a Gypsum Cast will guarantee an Expertise bump and reward players with a random piece of gear of that type with Gear Score equal to the new Expertise level. We’ve introduced a new Kiln crafting station in all end game zones that allows players to craft Gypsum Orbs and the various Gypsum Casts.
Note that we’ve tuned down the general chances of getting an Expertise bump to compensate for the guaranteed bumps that were added with Gypsum. Elite chest odds were reduced a little, but open world named enemies were reduced a lot. But we have increased up the amount your Expertise increases with each bump to make Gypsum Casts and the random bumps feel more valuable.
Reward ImprovementsTo ensure all our end-game activities provide compelling rewards for the effort and risk involved, we’ve reviewed them and made some adjustments. We will continue to audit our rewards for each activity and make further adjustments as necessary.
For this round we’ve focused on Expeditions. Our goal is that Expeditions are super rewarding experiences, since they require a time-investment to craft an Orb and are challenging content. We’ve made 4 adjustments to make them more rewarding:
- Each expedition boss will guarantee a random Expertise bump
- We fixed all chests in Lazarus Instrumentality and Garden and Genesis so they have a chance to provide end-game Expertise bumps
- Added Item Shards as a guaranteed drop for Expedition Bosses and as a chance to drop from Elite Chests
- Added guaranteed Sapphire Gypsum drops for each Expedition Boss
Items Shards are a new crafting ingredient that enables players to craft an item with a specific Attribute Bonus on it while still being able to use a Craft Mod to guarantee a perk. Item shards are guaranteed to drop from Expedition Bosses and have a chance to drop from Elite Chests in Expeditions and Elite Landmarks.
And as discussed above we’ve added Gypsum to a variety of our end game activities. This should make all those activities more rewarding, since they will result in gear progression and one guaranteed good drop from opening the Gypsum Cast. We felt that War and Invasion were already rewarding enough and due to their limited availability wanted to be careful about making them even more rewarding. Arena Bosses also guarantee an additional random Expertise bump, which along with the Citrine Gypsum hopefully make them rewarding activities now.
Difficulty AdjustmentsWe’ve made several adjustments in the end-game difficulty to compensate for some accidental overtuning we did in the November patch. We improperly set several enemies to a difficulty level above what we intended. With these changes we hope to find a middle ground between the too easy end game content we had pre-November and the overtuned HP sponges we had afterwards (the upcoming December release notes will provide more specifics on those changes). Remember level 66 Elite Landmarks are supposed to be really hard, requiring very optimized gear and consumables. With the changes to Expertise, players can progress their gear in a variety of ways before venturing to those end game areas.
We’ve also modified 2 other Elite Landmarks to become end-game POIs. The Malevolence Elite POI in Edengrove was upleveled to level 66 content and now has 6 Elite chests that can all provide end game Expertise bumps. And the Imperial Palace and North Dynasty Shrine Elite Landmarks in Ebonscale reach were also upleveled to level 66 content and 8 Elite chests were added. Now there will be an end game open world area in each of the end game territories (Ebonscale Reach, Shattered Mountain, Edengrove, and Reekwater).
We’re sorry that the end game experience was not at par with the start of the game and hope these changes start to remedy that. We’re not done yet and will continue to refine, improve, and add to our end game over time. But hopefully these changes will create a better foundation to build off. Everything other than the Expertise’s effectiveness on gear (which will be released early 2022) will be available tomorrow to try out in our PTR. Please let us know your feedback on the Expertise and Gypsum system in the PTR feedback thread.