Amazon's New World (opens in new tab) MMO is moving to a seasonal format on March 28, which the studio says will deliver "more frequent content like new features [and] gameplay experiences," and—of course—a season pass (opens in new tab) with separate free and premium reward tracks.
New World's season pass looks fairly conventional as these things go. As players progress in the game they'll earn seasonal XP through various activities that will advance them through 100 levels, unlocking rewards along the way. Season XP can be earned through quests, faction missions, town projects, expedition bosses, and other in-game activities.
Each season in New World will run for roughly three months, and will introduce "new features and gameplay experiences" and "new limited-time premium track rewards like cosmetics." The season pass will work across multiple characters in the same world or region, and while rewards can only be unlocked once per season, they "can be claimed on any character that has unlocked the Premium Rewards Track at level 25. "
"Players [who have reached level 25] can opt-in to the Premium Track at any point during the Season and will retroactively receive all eligible rewards," Amazon said. "At the end of the Season any unearned, unique seasonal rewards will be vaulted."
The season pass:
There are also new Seasonal Challenges being added, which will be the most difficult objectives of each season but offer appropriately high-level rewards, an Activity Stamp Card that offers season XP for completing various tasks during daily play, and a Season Journey, open to players level 25 and higher, that breaks each season's story into chapters and offers rewards for completing chapter-based tasks.
The season journey:
And the activity stamp card:
Nothing in the new system is pay-to-win, Amazon said: "All of the non-cosmetic Premium Track rewards can also be earned through the Free Track and normal gameplay. The Premium Track adds 100 levels of additional rewards, giving players the opportunity to get more in-game items. The gear rolled from these rewards will not exceed 600 Gear Score and does not include any unique perks that cannot be found in-game. Premium Track Cosmetics do not provide any additional benefits."
Fellowship and Fire, the story of New World's first season, will follow a mercenary group called the Silver Crows as they help Skye the Spear-daughter take on a powerful warlock and the Varangian horde. There's also a new expedition to play through called Empyrean Forge, a new Heartgem ability called Firestorm, and new "gear set storage" that will enable players to quickly save and switch between gear sets.
Amazon also released New World's 2023 development roadmap (opens in new tab) today, which offers some insight into its plans beyond the game's first season:
As for why it's moving to a seasonal structure, Amazon said only that it wants to "update New World on a predictable three-month cadence." It's also fair to assume that it hopes to bolster the player count, too: SteamDB (opens in new tab) indicates that there are currently about 20,000 people playing New World, which isn't catastrophic but still a far cry from MMO heavyweights like World of Warcraft or Final Fantasy 14, not to mention the impressive numbers New World put up shortly after launch (opens in new tab).
Ahead of New World's seasonal kick-off on March 28, a public test realm (PTR) will go live on February 23. Full details on how to get in and what to expect are up at newworld.com (opens in new tab).