I’d like to talk about something that doesn’t seem to get focused on much by game developers or the more vocal side of the gaming community. The Mid Game. When I say Mid game I’m talking about after tutorials and before getting to the maximum level. Most people play in this area for as long as they feel like it. A lot of times the mid game gets missed and the majority of attention is paid to game mechanics that affect the end game with raiding or the player versus player scene. New World gives you an excellent mid game experience. What I mean is leveling isn’t as linear as it is in a lot of games. The speed in which you level doesn’t have to depend solely on grinding a set of quests. New World’s Leveling includes almost every mechanic it has. There is leveling progression through player versus player, player versus environment, gathering, refining, and crafting.
Player versus Player can be turned on in town or certain travel points all over the New World map with a simple press of the U key. You can get xp from killing other players after you hit level 10 and have joined one of New World’s three available factions. Opting into PvP grants bonuses to the experience gain you get from the already available PvE quests along with the option to take PvP only quests from your faction. These faction quests affect the influence within a certain area which helps in the larger PvP strategy, but the details will get me off track here. Let’s just say if you want to be flagged for that look over your shoulder excitement that comes with it, do it. You’ll get ganked but it’s a very viable option.
Player versus Environment leveling can be as focused or as random as you want it to be. You can completely ignore crafting and just do combat which would be slower, or you could follow the story quest, side quests, faction PvE quests, dungeons, and do town board quests along with your PvE combat to speed things up.
Story Quests will lead you to different areas like the traditional quests in many other MMORPGs. If you just do the Story, you will likely need to catch up by other means to keep a sufficient level for the next area. The recommended levels are on the quests themselves so it’s really easy to work out where you should be. Side Quests within a town are worth doing especially if you don’t want to craft and are region specific so you have less time trying to find them. Faction PvE quests are very much like side quests only they are repeatable and part of the reward is for faction points you can use for a multitude of things but if you are going with the pure combat route it’s an easy source of replacing gear to match your level. Dungeons are typically found through completing the story quest but are a nice change of pace to which you can go from several levels below it and struggle, to a full group of the recommended level or higher and clear it with ease. It is a good source of experience and gear, but also crafting materials to craft dungeon-specific weapons. Town Boards are really dependent on which faction owns the region and how well they keep up with the need for upgrades. If the owner is on his game, you will have twelve items you can accept which can have combat kill, harvesting, cooking, crafting, or crate gathering which you will usually need to kill to get to.
Gathering items for crafting and town board quests feels very natural and fluid with the gameplay. You can craft Flint gathering tools very early on in the tutorial. The pickaxe, skinning knife, sickle, and logging axe all use the same material, and the first fishing pole isn’t that difficult to make either. All of these tools can be equipped at the same time and eventually you can make or try to buy higher rarity items that will increase their functionality and speed. When gathering, it’s everywhere. You could spend your entire game just running around and getting items to sell or give to a crafter and although it would take longer, it is possible. The sounds from gathering are actually very well done and almost soothing to some people. For me, it gave me a nice break from the typical. In many MMORPGs the nodes for gathering are spawned seemingly at random and have specific leveling areas to match what level you should be to quest in that area. In New World, placement of “gathering nodes” are organic. If you weren’t specifically looking for them are very much a part of the scenery. The only exception to the organic gathering system is fishing. To be honest, when you find a body of water and just want to take a moment, fishing has a calming mini-game, and as you gather other material you have the chance to get fishing lures to increase the types or number of fish that you get. Fishing also will get you random items like chests.
Refining seems to be innocuous but when it comes to non-combat leveling it is a very easy source. Whatever you gather be it stone, ores, hides, and wood can be refined into crafting materials. At first with just the raw materials, but then using items gathered through other means like Sand Flux, Sandpaper, Crossweave, Solvent, Tannin, and others to make higher tiers of items for higher tiers of crafting. If you gather at all, the only reason you would avoid Refining is if you would rather sell the materials on the Auction system.
Crafting itself is a huge part of New World. In most games, the randomness of loot drops from combat only serves as placeholders. If you want the best gear while leveling the crafting in most games doesn’t do a good job of varying for everyone’s gameplay. In New World, through gathering and other means, there are items that can be added to turn a bland random craft into exactly what you or your customer wants. Armoring will make, you guessed it, armor. But you can also craft bags to increase your carrying capacity along with different consumables to decrease damage taken and repair your gear. Arcana is for Refining elemental motes, making potions for a variety of uses, making magical weapons including some based on dungeon drops, and upgrading items used in crafting. Cooking is for crafting meals with healing benefits that can include temporary buffs. It also refines gathered components into material used in a variety of crafting like Dyes. Engineering is used to make Tools, repair kits, ammunition, Bows, Muskets, Spears, hatchets, and Proficiency boosters that increase your resources gathered for a limited time. Weaponsmithing makes Primarily Strength melee weapons, repair kits, Honing Stones that temporarily buff damage on a weapon, and shields. Jewelcrafting is used for refining ingots into trinket components, consumables that give elemental damage absorption for a time, and trinkets which include rings and amulets. We finish this list with Furnishing. You can create not just pretty furnishings for houses, but also Trophies with varying permanent buffs and Incense which with everything I’ve seen says It is consumable but I’ll be honest I’m not sure what it does as I didn’t get much experience with Furnishing in the preview or Beta. Every craft also has items that are made purely for completing town board quests on top of the regular crafting and gathering quests.
So, what does this all come down to? A ton of things to do that doesn’t include any necessity for leveling outside of the tier of tools you will want to upgrade for gathering. Myself, I primarily did gathering and engineering in the Beta. I found myself doing the odd quest here and there, but typically I was helping out my company through getting the materials and crafting tools and weapons they needed to keep progressing. I thoroughly enjoyed my time even though my initial plan was to get to max level to check out the endgame. That didn’t work out. The mid game in New World is just so varied and capable that I just couldn’t focus on one thing and I loved every minute of it. If you are like me and were initially wary of the game because of its Player versus Player focus on the endgame, there is another world to explore. New World’s excellent mid game.