Let me start out by saying that I really love New World and have enjoyed the preview quite a bit. I wouldn’t bother posting this if I didn’t want to see the game succeed, not only at launch but also well into the future.
The picture above is an empty job board. Job boards are great ways for players to pick up fetch quests that give them experience and bit of gold.
As you can imagine this is pretty helpful when you’re just starting out as even crafting requires an investment in New World.
The problem is this really doesn’t bode well for the future. While this was taken near the end of the preview, keep in mind that this isn’t a bad representation of what happens as players progress in a game.
Why you might ask?
Well let’s look about a month after launch of the game. By this point most of the people who bought the early adopters will have powered through to the end game. As is what happens in MMO’s. The friends they’ve convinced to join them will have probably also powered through.
So what you likely have at this point, sans any other rise in population due to marketing, would be the steady trickle of people flowing into the game.
Now imagine those players who already see a low to no population starter town.
At this point high level players have no reason to come back to the town. Even the guild that captured the town most likely doesn’t have leveling players and are probably working to undermine towns in higher level areas.
Since these towns aren’t going to keep players in them for very long, and the players who will be there likely won’t buy much, these towns probably wouldn’t be a great investment for a high level guild either.
While yes veteran players will come back to these low level towns either to take them or to contest them for conquest. Will veteran players who hold the town actually bother investing in them?
As what would be most likely the case, veteran players will have moved on to higher level territories. Since fast travel is limited, why would a person bother travelling to another end of the map just to craft if they can simply walk over to the closest town.
If veteran players can just simply use other towns with content closer to their level, why bother investing in a low level town so far away?
By investing, I mean putting coin into leveling the settlement equipment and or the settlement.
By not investing in at the very least, the equipment of the town, the job board stays empty. There’s no reason to stay in the town if you can only craft tier one maybe tier two goods at that town.
This won’t give new players a good impression as it can look like the game has already been abandoned by the player base.
Games that run on Steam have a 2 hour window to grab players attention before they’re able to request a refund and uninstall the game. That’s 2 precious hours that any game on steam has to try to make the best impression it can on anyone fresh into that game.
While sure your veteran players are important to the lively hood of your game, every game has player turn over. It’s always a good idea to try to keep rotating in new players all the time.
Therefore, keeping the new player towns active and thiriving makes your game appear to be lively. If there’s less people as you move on in the game only gives it MORE of that new worldish exploratory feel.
That is a far stretch from the usual MMO where all content is strictly focused on the end game areas and the beginning areas are completely devoid of life.
SO! My suggestion here would be to give all players an incentive to come back to these towns even if it’s only upon occasion. The best suggestion would be to turn the new player settlements into thriving neutral hubs of activity.
These stable NPC towns could also buoy the player driven economy when there’s little to no PvP activity or between patches when PvE players will inevitably play other games until new content arrives.
How will this work you ask? Well my suggestion would actually be that of a 4th NPC faction that would operate as a neutral faction. One that could not go to war with the other 3 factions and would only retain control over those low level area towns.
Then I would suggest that those towns are controlled by NPCs that accept donations for the upgrades players want to see made to those towns.
These towns could have a middling rate for taxation. That would make them less expensive than a friendly faction town, but more expensive than an enemy faction town.
This gives players an incentive to drop in if they’re surrounded by enemy towns to get some crafting in, BUT wouldn’t detract from people to go to friendly faction towns to get cheaper crafting rates.
New players can start out as members of this 4th NPC faction and have the options of leaving it either permanently or temporarily to join any of the other factions. This 4th faction can also not allow for the formation of guilds within the faction, which would be similar to the EvE online new player corporations.
This actually gives more weight for PvP’rs to conquer territory since it would help their wallets. It also gives them an interest in undermining territories since in the end it would also hurt their wallets until they flipped the town. Finally for players that want to guild up, they’d have to leave the neutral faction in order to do so.
How does the 4th faction keep the economy stable?
Well say that the faction that holds a town has a guild leader hiatus or that guild simply can’t afford upgrades. Well until the town is undermined, people can take their business to the NPC New Player towns to continue operating until friendlier factions took control.
This would mean that New Players would see people milling about the new player towns. It also could make great recruiting opportunities for guilds as they’re milling about and crafting anyway.
My final suggestion for keeping New Player Areas fresh, would be to add a conflict to those areas that draw high level characters. What if these towns could be thrown into NPC conflict by having them attacked by corruption or the like.
This could be something that rewards high level players with either level appropriate loot or even faction currency. This way they have a reason to come back to the New Player settlements and participate.
This could be done in a well marked area so it would be obvious what was happening. If there are crates nearby the area with only one or two ranged or support weapon types, the low level players could help support the high level players.
This gives veteran and new players a chance to mingle. It gives established guilds a chance to recruit new blood. It also gives new players a chance to get to know folks invested in the game which will hopefully give them incentive to play past that 2 hour mark.
Granted there’s probably a bunch of other methods that could work here, hopefully this will at least get the ball rolling. I know it is weird to start looking at what the new player experience might be like well after the game launches before it even does.
However, keep in mind that anything that’s done before the game launches to help keep new players coming in is just going to help make for a steady revenue stream. It will also save future development that will be inevitably be required since a lot of games have had similar problems with their new player experience issues.
Until next time I’ll be getting lost in the woods! Stay safe, stay healthy, and have fun out there!