Amazon's fantasy MMO New World got off to a rough start, as it struggled with bugs, bots, and exploits. The situation has stabilized somewhat—or at least, it's not as bad as it was—and the player counts, while nowhere near what they were at launch, are still respectable: Currently more than 104,000 people are playing it on Steam, although it's still weighed down with a "mixed" user rating.
In an interview with PCGamesN, New World game director Scot Lane said the live game is the studio's "top priority" and that when something goes wrong that impacts players, "it gets our full attention." But this doesn't hinder the development of new content too much, he explained, because they're separate jobs.
"We’re still able to work on future content because the work is very specialized," Lane said. "For instance, the recent issue we had with in-game coin required engineers who understand that part of the code, while the Void Gauntlet update was handled by a different team of gameplay engineers, designers, and artists."
The priority at this stage is to ensure New World is "the best experience" possible rather than pushing out new content, so Amazon has increased testing resources and launched a public test server. "We’ve made some mistakes by moving too fast, and we’re still finding the balance of speed and quality," Lane said. "Our goal is to give every player a great experience, and as a team, we get better every day at patching and testing."
Developers are also working on improving New World's endgame activities, and new early and mid-game content for solo players is also in the works. Lane hinted at other future possibilities, such as expanding the size of the game world, permitting more than one account per server, and launching fresh servers, although that one in particular "is far off on the horizon." Smaller tweaks are being made, too, such as a recent change that enables players to run faster when they're on roads.
"Looking into the future, we’re working on ways to help connect players who are looking for expeditions and adding more quest and crafting markers," Lane said. "There are also map improvements coming, and much more."
New World developers also recently rolled out a new seasonal event, Winter Convergence, to the PTR. It's expected to go live soon.