Amazon says New World's economy is just fine, thanks

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Some upvoted player complaints on Reddit and one doomsaying blog combined last week to paint a dire picture of New World's in-game economy. According to a site called PlayerAuctions, a "currency crisis" in the game had led to a runaway spiral of deflation: There's simply not enough money in the game to support stable economic activity, forcing prices for everything down and jacking the value of the currency itself so high that players were resorting to barter in order to acquire items and resources.

It's hard to say how widespread this issue actually was, given that each New World server is essentially its own unique economy. For players who were running into it, crashed prices of in-game items meant that there's basically no realistic way to make money through professions (and thus no incentive to pursue or level them up) because it's effectively impossible to sell your stuff. Meanwhile, the skyrocketing value of currency because of limited (and shrinking) supply means that expenditures with fixed costs, like repairing equipment or paying taxes, can suddenly be out of reach. And because New World doesn't have NPC merchants, there's no easy way for Amazon to impose cost corrections by implementing minimum prices.

But apparently Amazon doesn't think it needs to anyway. In a post on the New World forums, developer Zin_Ramu said the in-game economy is "performing within acceptable levels," and that despite reports, all servers are actually producing more money than is being removed, "by a good margin." That surplus shrinks as players enter New World's endgame, but it hasn't yet reached a point where direct action is required.

"Players are consistently generating a positive gold balance every day but there is a downward trend," Zin_Ramu wrote. "If this trend continues and we get closer to a negative in-out, we will take action. Our goal isn’t to drive this value to zero or make it so no one can amass wealth, instead we want to ensure that overall gold balance per server stays in-check so coin remains important."

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Two indirect actions could help smooth out the endgame economy, they said: A fix for a bug with the Azoth Staff that will enable players "to complete high level corrupted breaches which generate good gold per hour" (our New World leveling guide says the staff is an "essential item" for quick progression) and the return of the Outpost Rush PvP mode, "a great source of income" for endgame players.

Unfortunately, just a couple hours after the post on New World's economy went up, Outpost Rush was switched off again so developers can continue to work on it. Its ongoing absence could be having an outsized impact on the game as a whole: This Reddit post on the issue of deflation (which actually predates Zin_Ramu's economic update) says Outpost Rush rewards players with 250-350 gold per game, which cumulatively is a major contributor of currency.

"I imagine Amazon Games bet this would be a heavily played game mode as it offers good amounts of Azoth, Gold and uncapped Gear Score loot," redditor Vettlen wrote. "I think when Outpost rush becomes available, you will see more level 60s buying materials which will help normalise the economy." According to achievement statistics, 8.3% of New World players have hit max level.

Amazon appears to expect, or at least hope for, that outcome: Zin_Ramu said the studio is waiting to see how those changes impact the in-game economy before it makes any bigger moves.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.