Hello! Over the next few days we're going to be going back over some of our favourite games and moments and themes and whatnot from this very strange year. We hope you enjoy looking back with us!
Maybe I'm getting old (or just slower) but it wasn't New World's rather thrilling and actually challenging combat that kept me coming back for more - it was poking around at bushes and boulders that did it for me.
You see, New World rewards crafting and sourcing materials with experience. Other games do similar things, but it's a bit more noticeable with Amazon's MMORPG. Completing quests is better, of course, but I didn't find that gripping. Having spent too many years (decades!) completing overly familiar quests, I fancied crafting and being overwhelmed with options.
Because of all this, exploring the world of New World is incredibly distracting. You'll start heading towards a quest location then realise there are a bunch of boulders nearby that you could hack away at, gain some resources, then pick up some experience along the way. Once you stop, you realise there's a copse nearby - ohh, plenty of trees to chop down! Then there are herbs, a small pond to collect some water. Wait, what was I doing? Ohh yeah, that quest. Anyway, I think I saw an interesting source of ore nearby.
As someone who likes to feel like they've found 'everything' (don't let me near Minecraft), New World is a never-ending supply of distractions. And you know what? It's incredibly relaxing because of it. So I don't care about the quests or particularly about levelling up either. I hear there are some amazingly vast battles within the community, but I've got some herbs to collect.
Once I've had my fill of tree chopping and mining, I can head back to town. Town can take a while to head back to. New World doesn't currently offer mounts to jump on the back of, and fast travel options are limited. I quite like that. It gives you more time to take in the world and - you guessed it - smell and pick the flowers as you go. It's far too serene for a game that also offers some great combat.
Once I reach town, it's possible to craft all sorts of things. Starting out, iron crafting tools is a good place to begin, with more options developing the more you do. Again, I have little aim here even though there are a wealth of crafting options. I just like the sense of satisfaction that I've created something. Anything gives me that rush.
Once done, I'll head back out and it'll take me three trillion hours to reach a quest location because I'm like a magpie distracted by shiny things, but my shiny things are literally everything.
New World is like a more mature version of Animal Crossing in that way as there's always something different to do. I never really got into Nintendo's game, but I'm desperate for a mainstream MMO where I can just be a craftsperson who bumbles around rather than feels obliged to attack anything. Someone who sets up a stall like at a church craft fair, keen to capture passing trade, rather than having to use the relevant game chat channels to advertise wares. For now, New World scratches that itch simply because I can roam and do my own thing while still feeling like I'm making gains.