New World, the pirate-themed MMORPG from Amazon Games that lets you wage war against other players for territory, has completely consumed and upended my life. In the past week, I have done nothing but play New World. And when I wasn’t playing it, I was either talking or writing about it or watching a stream of it. I am obsessed. During this past week, I’ve also thought a lot about the game and the feedback surrounding it, namely the backlash regarding how goddamn slow it is to get around the open-world.
Well, you’re in luck, dear reader. As it turns out, after spending a whole week with the game, I’ve finally figured out why Amazon chose to launch it with such questionable design decisions. No mounts? The need to spend a currency that’s pretty hard to come by whenever you fast travel? The inability to fast travel unless you’re in a village or at a shrine? In such a humongous game? Inconceivable!
Except, maybe not. Maybe there’s a method to Amazon’s madness after all.
The first thing we need to understand about New World is that there are no NPCs in the game that will simply buy your trash and give you money for it. The only way to make money in this game is by doing quests (which give you about 80 or so coin), or by selling items to other players. One of New World’s biggest headlining features is that the economy is entirely player-driven, and even beyond that, every region has its own separate economy.
For instance, in my server, stone blocks are selling for about 2.50 coin each in Windsward. But all the way to the west in Monarch’s Bluffs, they go for 0.50 coin each. The savvy entrepreneur will notice this, hoof it to Monarch’s Bluffs to purchase all the stone blocks they can, then come back to Windsward to sell them for a profit. They could fast travel there of course, but making those kinda trips between the two territories will cause them to run out of Azoth extremely quickly, and it’d leave them Azoth-broke in no time at all.
If New World had a more efficient fast travel system, the economy would almost certainly break. Being able to fast travel all over the world with no limitations means that players can exploit all of the markets if they’re looking in the right place; the current system might be cumbersome, but it’s also extremely rewarding for the players who put the time and effort into researching the different economies and are willing to manually travel back and forth for that profit.
The second thing we need to remember about New World is that its other headlining feature is inter-faction PvP. While PvP is completely optional, the game also highly encourages players to engage in it to help their faction earn influence and defend their own turf. Even if you weren’t doing PvP missions, having your PvP flag up while traveling on the roads can be pretty exciting and it helps to grow the competitive scene.
If you were able to fast travel wherever and whenever you want, that’d mean fewer people on the roads, and would ultimately lead to a languishing PvP scene as a result.
Finally, as it stands, the world map in New World isn’t that large, at least by MMO standards. Sure, it’ll take at least 10 minutes to run from one end of the map to the other, but for the most part, all of the regions still feel pretty close to each other. While it’s extremely annoying if you get caught in a situation where you went all the way to Brightwood only to realize you left a key item back in First Light, it’s not entirely the end of the world to run back to grab it. Time-consuming? Sure. But in those situations, you could use your Azoth for an emergency fast travel, or recall to a (hopefully) closer location if it’s available.
It’s looking pretty likely that the map will get a lot bigger over time as more content gets added, and yeah, when it becomes a seriously massive world, fast traveling will become a lot more imperative. Even then, I’d much prefer if there were some sort of pirate-themed transit system linking the regions together, rather than a straight teleportation system that could zap you across the map in an instant.
New World’s lack of a conventional fast travel system has been a pain for sure, but it’s also one of the most immersive aspects of the game and I’m not sure I’d want Amazon to scrap that so soon.