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Is New World worth playing in 2022?

New World celebrated its first anniversary on September 28, 2022 — and while its servers aren’t nearly as bustling as they were at launch, the game still has a thriving community and remains one of the most popular MMORPGs. Much has changed in a year, but some aspects of New World are exactly as they were in 2021.

Amazon has big plans for the title, but is New World worth playing in 2022?

In short, yes — New World is worth playing in 2022. However, the game still isn’t a perfect fit for all types of players. From planned content and changes made since launching to the health of the community today, here’s everything you need to know about the MMO and whether it’s worth your time in 2022.

Further reading

What is New World?

A New World player fighting a bear.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

New World is an MMORPG developed by Amazon Game Studios. The game was the first MMO developed by the studio, and it lets you unravel a lengthy main storyline or venture off on your own to chop trees, craft gear, or turn a profit selling items on the player-run marketplace.

Amazon has only launched New World on PC, and there’s no indication that it’ll be arriving on consoles anytime soon.

What happened to New World in 2021?

New World player wielding a bow and arrow.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

When New World launched in 2021, it broke some impressive records. Shortly after release, it managed to pull in over 900,000 concurrent players on Steam — vaulting it to the top of the charts. However, that success wouldn’t last. Just a few months later, its concurrent player number would drop by a staggering 90%. Most games experience a drop in player count as interest in the title fades and gamers move on to greener pastures, but a 90% drop was a shock to the community.

Many of the complaints surrounding New World involved a lack of endgame content and a missing layer of polish. Players would often run into frustrating bugs that made their time with the game less than enjoyable, and as the community slowly crawled towards the endgame, they were left with little worthwhile content to explore. Combined, these factors led to a massive exodus of New World players.

What’s going on in New World in 2022?

A player looking at a map in New World.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Amazon Game Studios hasn’t fixed all the problems with New World at launch, but the game is in a much better place today than it was a year ago. Before looking at what you can expect from New World in the future, here’s a closer look at what’s changed or been added to New World in 2022 and the tail end of 2021.

  • Bug fixes: Many of the glitches that plagued New World at launch have been squashed.
  • Tempest’s Heart: An Expedition storyline that served as both endgame content and as the final mission to the main storyline.
  • Barnacles & Black Powder: An Expedition that has you slicing through a deadly pirate horde in search of rare loot.
  • Mutated Expeditions: This introduced an element of variability to standard Expeditions, allowing you to replay the same content but with a few unique twists. This includes Elemental Mutations that cause enemies to deal increased elemental damage, Promotion Mutations that give enemies new skills, and Curse Mutations that apply harmful effects to players when struck by an incoming attack.
  • Improved PvP: It took some time, but 3v3 Arena fights are now available in New World. There’s also an improved Rewards Track that gives you a better sense of progression and enticing reasons to check out PvP.
  • New Weapons: The Void Gauntlet is a damage/support weapon that scales based on Intelligence and Focus, while the Blunderbuss is a ranged weapon that scales with Strength and Intelligence.
  • Expedition Group Finder: Easily form a party before heading into group activities.
  • Quality of Life Changes: Leveling is faster, the new player experience has been updated, world activities have been updated, and the cost of Fast Travel has been dramatically reduced (making it easier to trek across Aeternum).

All these changes seem to have had a positive impact on the community. August 2022 and September 2022 have seen positive growth for the community on Steam, and it’s not uncommon to see nearly 40,000 players online at any given time. In fact, the game is once again sneaking into the top 20 most-played games on Steam.

Where is New World headed in the future?

New World players posing in the new Brimstone Sands region.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The next big New World update, Brimstone Sands, drops on October 18. This will introduce a new region, Jumping Puzzles, more Expeditions, and the new Greatsword weapon type. The update is looking to be a massive one, and it’s a big reason why now is a great time to dive into New World. Not only will there be tons of new content to explore, but the update is bound to bring back legions of players — filling its servers and giving you plenty of fellow adventurers to explore (or fight) with.

Plans for 2023 are scarce, but Amazon did mention it is looking forward to “introducing ever greater experiences” in the future. For now, we’ll have to sit tight and wait to hear more. But seeing as the team has kept busy throughout 2022, it stands to reason that 2023 will see a similar update cadence (especially if its player count continues to rebound).

How does it stack up to other MMORPGs?

New World players walking through town.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

New World is a solid choice for fans of action-based combat and deep progression systems that let you level abilities just by using them. However, it’s far from the only MMO on the market. Here’s a closer look at the competition and how New World compares:

  • Lost Ark: Another MMO from Amazon, Lost Ark is played from a top-down perspective. Its combat is much more frantic (and more akin to Diablo than traditional MMOs), although its life skills aren’t quite as exciting as New World. Endgame is where Lost Ark truly thrives, with hundreds of hours of content available once you wrap up the main quest.
  • Black Desert: Stunning graphics, fast-paced combat, and enjoyable PvP are all hallmarks of Black Desert. It’s a bit rough around the edges and lacks some PvE, but this is a solid alternative to New World. Combat is a bit more convoluted than New World (with an elaborate combo system and tons of available classes), but no doubt it offers a similar experience.
  • World of Warcraft: The long-standing MMO is still a great choice in 2022. Its tab-targeting combat is a bit different from New World, but crafting, questing, and simply exploring Azeroth never seem to get old.
  • Elder Scrolls Online: Combat is a bit “floaty,” but New World fans that prefer to play solo will find a lot to love about ESO. With years of content updates, you’ll find plenty of PvE dungeons and PvP battlegrounds to enjoy, along with a robust lineup of single-player content.
  • Final Fantasy XIV: With a robust player housing system and a surprisingly nuanced storyline, FF14 is one of the most popular MMORPGs on the market. You’ll need to pay a monthly fee, but a generous free trial makes it easy to check out the game without breaking out your wallet.

You should play New World in 2022

New World factions engaged in PvP.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

New World is worth playing in 2022, although that recommendation comes with some caveats. If you didn’t enjoy the combat at launch, not much has changed. It’s still very action-based, and you can only slot a few skills at a time — making it much different from other MMOs that give you a gigantic skillbar.

Also, if you’re one of the many players who sunk hundreds of hours into New World, demolished its story, explored every bit of endgame content, and delved deep into PvP, then there might not be much “new” content to entice you. It’s possible that one of the new Expeditions or regions will catch your eye, but many of the updates have been of the “more of the same” variety as opposed to introducing entirely new mechanics.

That being said, the vast majority of former New World players (or newcomers altogether) will find much to enjoy in 2022. Bugs have been squashed, there’s much more endgame content to explore, and significant quality-of-life improvements make New World less of a slog than it was in 2021. Of course, it’s still New World, so if you simply weren’t enticed by its core gameplay loop at launch, then these updates probably won’t change your mind about the game.

But for the legions of players that abandoned ship, New World is slowly turning into the game that Amazon hoped it would be. There’s still plenty that needs to change, but 2022 is a great time to jump back into the action.

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Jon Bitner
Jon Bitner is a writer covering consumer electronics, technology, and gaming. His work has been published on various websites…
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