Jumping into a new MMO for the first time should be exciting. You can't beat the buzz of making it through the introductory quests, when the world opens up before you and you get to explore a vast new world.
Unfortunately, I'm eight hours into New World, and I haven't had that feeling yet.
You start with a basic sword and shield, which would be fine if the combat—and movement in general—didn't feel quite so clunky. Your dodge ability doesn't seem particularly effective either, though that may improve as you upgrade specific stats or gear. In the meantime, I guess that's why you have a shield.
I'd rather play a ranged class, though, and I was relieved to find a bow quite quickly. But much like Fraser's dilemma of needing bullets for his musket, I found I'd need arrows if I wanted to use it.
The world of Aeternum really is beautiful, though you won't discover this until you leave the beach area where you first wash up. From abandoned farmsteads to lush woodlands, there's plenty of screenshot material out there. And I was particularly struck by the housing style at Light's Hope, the first big settlement I encountered. The massive ship in the middle of town gives the whole place real character—and more importantly—gave me some incentive to play on to see what other settlements and areas had to offer.
On my way to the town, I abandoned the idea of using the bow purely because keeping track of arrow usage seems like a huge pain. After checking my character sheet to see what I could equip, I decided to concentrate my efforts on getting a fire staff instead. There were plenty of quests around the settlement, and I was introduced to the intensive crafting system, giving me a use for the vast amounts of materials I'd acquired. But I soon discovered that I'd need a very specific material to craft my fire staff, so I resigned myself to continuing with sword and shield for the time being.
Quests sent me out of the Light's Hope settlement, but it was painful to venture into areas inhabited by the Corrupted—and I'm sure my awkwardness with the weapons didn't help. Enemies spawn with frightening regularity, and searching for quest items in areas highly populated by enemies means a lot of work—especially if other players aren't around to help thin them out. One particular quest required me to kill and loot a named enemy, located in a big tent with other Corrupted nearby. I had to kill at least three or four of these to reach my target, but by the time I engaged him, the others started to respawn. So naturally, I died. When the same thing happened the next time, I learned my lesson and ran away. On the next attempt, I grouped up with another player, and we both died.
Frustrated, I decided to abandon the quest and head back to town. This is when, to my surprise, I found a fire staff in my bag. Where did that come from? Excited for the first time since logging in, I went to equip it, only to discover that I needed to be level 13. Okay, that's fine. I was level 11. I could do this.
After looking through some of the quests on the Town Projects board, I settled on some reasonably tame looking fetch quests nearby. I was hugely resentful that the game was forcing me to grind levels so early just to equip my weapon of choice, so I opted for gathering or crafting quests, though a quest to kill 20 boars seemed pretty chill, so I picked that up too.
I'm almost level 13 now and hope to begin my New World journey properly and in the way I want to play it. I'm fully aware that it's too early to judge the game as a whole, but I usually find some excitement to push me through the early stages of most MMOs. So far, New World just feels incredibly grindy and frustrating, made worse by certain weapons seemingly locked behind level requirements. I'm sure I've barely brushed the surface of what Amazon's MMO has to offer—I just didn't expect to have to do so much, so early on, in order to unlock a playstyle I might enjoy.