Amazon Games’ New World has been the talk of the internet town this past week, and I’ve already sunk about 80 hours into the game, questing, mining, logging, harvesting, you name it. I’m addicted and I’m not afraid to admit it. Most of my playtime has gone into just foraging the wilds for resources like iron ore, wood, and herbs, all so I can craft better gear, better food, and increase my crafting levels.
Unlike in Final Fantasy XIV, my other timesink MMO, crafting, and gathering in New World is much more straightforward. Approach a rock, press the E key, and wait for your character to finish mining. Once they’re done, the resources get deposited into your inventory and your mining level progress increases a little. It’s not just the simplicity of the act of gathering that’s gotten me hooked, however; over the past few nights, as I’ve stayed up till 3am without fail just trying to get that mining level up as fast as possible, I finally figured out the root cause of my mining obsession.
It’s how good that chunk audio effect sounds whenever my pickaxe hits the cold, hard rock.
I’ve spent tens of hours chopping down trees and mining rocks in New World, and over time, I began to realize that the sound of my pickaxe plunging into an iron vein would sound different depending on my location. If I was mining out in the open air, the audio effect sounds off once and fades out slowly. But if I mine in a cave, it sounds so much more defined and echoey.
Then I dug even deeper; the sound effects for regular boulders, iron veins, silver veins, gold veins, and starmetal veins are all different as well, with their own additional echo effects depending on where you’re mining them.
Of course, this level of immersive sound design doesn’t just apply to rocks. It applies to pretty much every aspect of the game, though it’s most noticeable when you’re mining or chopping wood. It’s like the sound engineers literally went out into the wild and mined rocks under various different circumstances just to get the right audio files for the game, and New World feels so much more immersive and alive because of that.
I’m fast approaching the 100-hour mark and even when I’m not playing New World, I’m thinking about that audible chunk while I work, while I eat, and even before I sleep. It’s become a hypnotic sound that I’ve intrinsically linked with the act of leveling up, and even after I’ve maxed out my mining skill and never need to hit another rock again for the rest of my life, I can still see myself coming back to the warmth and familiarity of that feeling of cold, hard steel meeting the surface of the stout, unmoving rock. Chunk.