Amazon can sell just about anything, so why not its own online game?, the latest project from Amazon Games, launched on September 28 and immediately attracted . This is good news for New World, but not great for players like me who have to wait in long online queues to get into the game.
The game is divided into hundreds of servers or “worlds”, each of which can accommodate up to 2,000 players. How does someone choose? Some worlds were bigger draws than others because there was a popular Twitch streamer on them, or just for a catchy server name. The Valhalla server had more than 10,000 people waiting in line. The more popular the server, the longer the waiting time to log in, up to several hours.
I tried to log in at 21:40 ET on the game’s release day, but the server I was trying to connect to had more than 800 people queuing. This is even after Amazon Games added dozens more servers in the afternoon to accommodate players.
Before you actually try to connect to a server, watch a CGI introductory movie that describes a bit of the story. Then it starts creating a character. I am not one who occupies every detail of my character. I usually select the “randomize” option, which automatically creates a character. You can press the button again and again until you find a combination you like. I usually try to get someone who looks a little like me.
With my new character ready, long salt-and-pepper hair and all that, it was time to find a server. The world I was planning to jump into had gone down to a queue of 500 people. Luckily, I had some other things to do in the meantime, as it took about an hour before it was my turn to participate in the game.
First was the guide. This is where the game holds your hand to teach you movement and basic combat. Because I had already participated in the New World beta in August, it was familiar to me.
The first area you are in is the Ship Graveyard, where you have washed ashore. A zombie sailor welcomes you with a flying attack and this starts the combat training. Character movement is performed with the keyboard while the mouse handles attacks and blocking. You can use a playing pad if you prefer. The game holds your hand and makes sure to press all the buttons as instructed before you can continue. I first appreciated this guide, as New World’s combat is far more action-heavy than World of Warcraft and other traditional massively multiplayer online role-playing games (also known as MMORPGs).
This tutorial ends with a battle against a zombified sea captain. Ideally, this is where you make use of all the skills you have learned, such as dodging, blocking and your particular attack. Whether you fight the captain flawlessly or get slapped around, the fight ends too soon with a dramatic ending sequence I will not ruin for you here.
A strange new world
After a few loading screens, you finally reach Aeternum. Players spawn in random starting areas on the map, so as not to overwhelm a room with hundreds of new characters.
The first quests in the game are designed to teach you how to assemble, make and more equipment. This is also when you can see all the other new players who have just joined the game. Many would shout in the server chat about how happy they were to finally play after the long wait.
The quests you get in this starter area are mostly retrieving quests: Grab a thing and bring it back. There are some items you learn to create, such as a leather knife, which lets you get skins and meat from the wild boars in the area. These wild boars are usually plentiful, but with so many new players in the area, it can take a minute to find one.
After a handful of training missions, it’s time to head to the nearest town, Monarch’s Bluffs.
Life in the big city
I walked into town and it’s a bit of a walk from the starter area to Monarch’s Bluffs. One thing I noticed about halfway there was a large number of campfires. These serve as a revival point, a place to restore health and make some craft. The campfires make their way to Monarch’s Bluffs and reach all the way to the city’s main gate.
This is not a huge city, but it offers plenty to do. Just like in the starting area, the quests here give players more familiarity with the other collection and design options. The city also has a trading post that serves as an auction house and a storage shed for items from your inventory.
During my first day of the game, I collected wood and stones and then made blacksmiths to make a long word. As a reward, I finally got the opportunity to set up my own campfire as a personal re-spawn point. But it was getting late, so I decided to set up my own campfire among those who flooded the roads to the city, calling it the end of my first day in Aeternum.
It was only a day in the New World, but games like this are not designed to be completed in a single day, week or even over many months. It’s the draw of an online game, it’s a world in constant evolution, mixed with all the randomness that comes from throwing thousands of real people together and seeing what happens. There’s far more out there in Aeternum, and that’s what Amazon hopes will get players back.