Amazon recently announced that they’ve decided to delay New World‘s release date from August 31 to September 28. According to this tweet from the New World development team, this delay is seen as a response to feedback the team received during the MMO’s recent closed beta:
If this all seems a little familiar, that’s likely because this is actually the fourth time that New World has been (publically) delayed. New World was supposed to launch in May 2020, but was subsequently delayed to August 25, spring 2021, August 31, and is now set to be released on September 28. The specific reasons for each of those delays vary, but each can at least partially be attributed to negative player feedback and lingering technical issues. You also can’t overlook the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic during that time.
This latest delay is a bit different, though, simply because it comes after the game’s highly-publicized closed beta. Not only did that beta give more people a chance to actually play New World, but many more non-participants watched others play the game on Twitch and YouTube. Simply put, more people than ever are aware of what kind of game New World is, the state it’s in, and, roughly what they can expect from the MMO whenever it eventually launches.
Now, we all know that there’s no way this delay or any hypothetical future delays will ensure that New World launches in a “perfect” state. Not only is there really no such thing as a perfect game launch, but the very nature of this genre means that it is intended to evolve over time as new problems and opportunities arrive. Despite what the wording of that statement may suggest, there’s almost no way that New World‘s launch is going to be a smooth experience for “all players.”
That being the case, it seems that the best Amazon can do at this point is use these extra few weeks to address the biggest problems people had with New World‘s beta. While any list of complaints is going to vary from person to person, it feels safe to say that most shortlists of New World criticisms will include a few of the following items:
- Faction imbalance issues sometimes exasperated by streamer influence
- Controversy over the game’s use of a PvP scaling system
- Insufficent (and often unimpressive) PvE content
- A lack of variety in both PvE and PvP combat
- A confusing (and sometimes unnecessary) crafting system
- World navigation issues
- Server stability issues and gameplay-impacting bugs
It should be pretty obvious at this point that there’s no way that Amazon Game Studios can sufficiently address most of those complaints by the time the game launches in late September. That’s especially true of the game’s PvE issues which would, at the very least, require the developer to add a decent amount of new content to the game in only a few weeks.
Theoretically, they could address some of the existing PvE combat complaints by making certain enemy attack patterns a bit more complicated, but even that feels like it would take quite a bit of time to properly implement. The same is true of the game’s crafting system, which could quickly be “improved” by minor tweaks, but may be in need of a thorough revaluation.
As for navigation concerns…well, that’s kind of a funny topic. See, some New World players have already noticed that there’s a piece of lore in the game that apparently explains why there are currently no mounts in New World. While that may just be a joke (and New World‘s developers have previously stated that they’re considering adding mounts in the future), it does seem to make it clear you shouldn’t expect to be able to acquire a mount in New World at launch. That means you’re going to have to spend a lot of time wading through high-level zones and walking around environmental obstacles to get from quest to quest.
New World‘s PvP problems are even more interesting. Many of them exist because of a particularly tricky combination of uncontrollable player actions and issues with the game’s core mechanics. Even if New World‘s developers quickly find a way to optimize the game’s existing PvP system, they’re still going to have to find a way to deal with the fact that any MMO with player-controlled territories is subject to a level of abuse that could ruin the intended experience for most players. Honestly, that’s a big part of the reason why many MMO developers don’t even bother to try to implement such ambitious world PvP systems.
That leaves us with the only other major New World complaint Amazon is seemingly able to effectively address with this delay: the game’s server stability issues and gameplay-impacting bugs.
The fact of the matter is that none of New World‘s other issues matter at the moment if people aren’t able to play the game without dealing with server crashes and other technical issues that prevent them from completing even the simplest actions. New World‘s beta made it clear that, whatever else the game may be or could become, it is not currently a stable experience. This is a studio that’s still looking for a hit after a series of disastrous experiments, and there’s no way they could have released New World in the state it was in and avoided the wrath of a legion of gamers left wondering why an MMO supported by a trillion-dollar company doesn’t even have stable servers.
Many of those most upset about this delay are also those who were probably already planning on playing the game and will likely still do so whenever it is officially released. So while this isn’t a huge loss from a PR standpoint, it remains to be seen whether or not New World‘s developers are able to offer significantly improved stability when the game launches on September 28. Even if they are, the game’s closed beta made it clear that giving more people the chance to play New World may ultimately result in a much larger and more complicated discussion about whether or not the game’s other biggest problems can be addressed so easily.