New World has one fundamental problem underlying all of the complaints about it being ‘unfinished,’ buggy, having a lack of content, etc.
Underpinning all of those (otherwise valid) criticisms is the fact that only a tiny slice of the player base gets to regularly participate in the core elements of the game; the economy, the wars, the invasions, the politics, territory management, and so on.
Let’s assume all of the bugs were fixed tomorrow - literally, somewhere around 90-95% of the players out there grinding for watermarks and gear score would still soon realize, if they haven’t already, that they don’t have any meaningful outlet to use any of their gear, gold, or experience they’re gaining, because they’re literally not allowed to participate in the meat of the game.
- They don’t own a territory or get to influence any decisions about territory management.
- They’re not being invited to wars.
- They’re being kicked from invasion groups to make room for the leader’s friends and company members.
- The tradeskills they grinded to 150 or 200 don’t mean anything, because company-funded crafters already own the market and all the good recipes.
- For gear crafting, the watermarking system kind of invalidates anything other than the absolute top tier crafts.
My prediction is that these players will start dropping like flies if they’re not given meaningful ways to participate in the game. This goes way beyond “more content,” it goes beyond Outpost Rush or rated PvP arenas or ‘mutated dungeons’ or new zones or new weapons, it’s more than bug fixes and polish.
The core elements of the game, which are supposed to:
- be fun and engaging enough to help people overlook the bugs,
- give people reasons to play between content patches and keep them coming back,
- and motivate people to grind their gear score and their trade skills,
are fundamentally flawed in how they operate, resulting in the majority of the player base never getting to experience them.
So, how do we fix this? Well - already nobody’s going to read this far, but I’m going to get into it anyway, because after 300+ hours in this game, I genuinely do care, and would love to hear the thoughts of other people who do care.
Keep in mind that I don’t claim that my solution is perfect. Rather, I offer it as food for thought, both for the community and the developers. Moreover, if you don’t agree with the fundamental problem, you obviously will not agree with any solution to it, so why read any further?
If you do agree on the problem, maybe you’ll find something in my solution agreeable:
Companies controlling territory is at the heart of the issue. Territory should belong to the faction, and allow members of the faction to contribute to triggering upgrades and investments at the town board, much like performing faction missions to raise faction influence in a territory. Have all of the available upgrades on the board, and let players choose what they want to complete tasks to contribute to. Make these decisions community-driven.
Make all territory costs and upkeep be paid from a territory coffer, which no players have any access to. Make all town board tasks generate coin for the territory coffer (since the coin they offer to players is abysmal, and the time/materials have value). Have weekly votes on taxes for a territory. If players consistently vote for low taxes, the towns won’t be upgraded, and nobody will be able to craft anything - it governs itself.
A knock-on effect of making town board tasks more valuable, and allowing players to fund their territory coffers with town board tasks, is that it shifts the economy from having a coin sink to a material sink. Players need to produce things, which are then converted into coin in the territory coffer. That coin is then siphoned out of the game via territory upgrades and upkeep. This shifts demand for territory management from coin to materials, and introduces new demand for all tiers of materials of all varieties, stimulating the economy.
This doesn’t necessarily set the price of anything, the way NPC merchants would, because the value of a material to an individual player may be more or less than the value that material is converted to when it’s donated to a territory. However, it helps establish the value of labor in the game, which is sorely needed, and would keep more coin circulating between players.
Obviously, there would need to be a system in place for handling what happens when the town board project for an upgrade is completed without the necessary funding in the coffer. There are a lot of possible ways to handle this, and how exactly it is handled isn’t relevant to the solution (as long as it is robust and resilient to being exploited).
And, finally, more players need to be able to participate in wars and invasions - ideally, all of the players who sign up. This is another scenario where it doesn’t really matter how it happens, as much as that it does happen, and there are a variety possible solutions. The same companies running the same 50 people (give or take a handful) for every war and invasion (because they rarely overlap in timing), and kicking people out to make room for their preferred regulars is toxic to the game.
In all of these systems, companies with large and dedicated communities will still carry more weight and be able to influence the direction more than smaller companies and individual players; they can get all their best and brightest to pound away at town board tasks to grind gold for the territory coffer, or get the upgrades they want in a town a lot more consistently. But this way, everyone is participating in every aspect of the game, and that’s the promise New World needs to deliver on to give people reasons to keep logging in.
Players will adapt to buggy and broken games as long as they’re having fun and able to participate; there are many examples of this out there. Players will also keep playing the same content over and over, if they have reason to be invested in that content and the outcomes they help achieve. This is what is lacking at the core of New World which is causing players to be fixated on bugs and content; for the overwhelming majority of the population, the only reason to log in is a pretty world and a gear score treadmill.
At over 300 hours, I’ve got my money’s worth, so I can hardly complain. But, I really hope to see the game evolve into something more for the 90% or more players who aren’t in close with their server’s top companies.