Saturday, July 24, 2021

IN THE EVENT YOU Play ” NEW WORLD “? Beta Impressions From The Frontier

Amazon Games’ upcoming MMORPG New World is in the spotlight as a lengthy closed beta session shows off the action ahead of an August 31st release. New World has changed its vision multiple times over the course of development, and now the question on everyone’s mind is – where is this going to land on release? What kind of player is it for? What kind of MMORPG is it? And perhaps the most important question, is it worth your time at all? Over the course of the beta (and a demo session that took me into an endgame slice with a fully-geared character), I’ve seen some areas with huge potential that are currently underserved in the MMORPG space – and some others that could be intense detriments for the title. Let’s talk about New World!It successfully lands a powerful frontier survival vibe If you’re familiar with survival games that have you punching wood to get a house going, New World delivers on this front initially by giving the player myriad survival pursuits. Hunting turkey on the borders of your established safe zones to raise your cooking skill and create rations is far more engaging than it has any right to be. Hunting down elusive saltpeter deposits in mines and crafting your own shells for your old-timey rifles feels fun. Being able to skill up in everything to your liking is a classic system à la Runescape, and its nice to know you can work up every single crafting and gathering skill if you wish, right down to doing some fishing. Banging together your first batch of gathering tools is actually freaking awesome. Digging up carrots and potatoes feels meaningful. Coming back to your town in the middle of the wilderness to trade feed and talk with your fellow explorers has all the allure of bustling about Disney’s Frontiertown, and I’ve rarely had so much investment into crafting and trading systems in MMOs. I can see potential problems with these aspects later down the line, i.e. do I really want to spend my time in the endgame gathering resources just so I can play the game, but for now, there’s plenty of magic in creating my own food, ammunition, and supplies before I trek out into the wild. It feels gritty, it feels raw, and it feels fresh. Faction PVP can be a lot of fun Territory control and faction-based opt-in PVP not only bring back a bit of realm-vs-realm feel from the glory days of Dark Age of Camelot, but they inject something that many online experiences have moved away from in the last decade – social interaction. That means yes, you are going to see a player named PoopyPants (Yes, this was a real player I saw) cutting down trees and screaming outside of town about the price of silver ore, and your chat feed is going to be inundated with comments that make the infamous Barrens chat look downright erudite. However, it also successfully adds shared social stakes to the experience, even if you choose not to interact at the verbal level with any other players. By funneling players into three different factions, you have an investment in your tribe regardless of how deep you want to take it. If you still just want to solo and bring back a load of furs to trade in town, you can – but the real fun is to be had by grouping up, interacting with others, and eventually taking over some territory as your chosen faction. At the solo, guild, and greater level, having game flow dictated by players instead of the “theme park” experience is a bold choice and more than a bit refreshing. The issue here is how interesting and meaningful are these faction wars going to be in the endgame? While I don’t have the answer to that yet, the prospect of really engaging with other players in a meaningful way in a MMORPG gives me a powerful nostalgia bump and some serious differentiation from many other genre offerings today. On the flip side, if you’re not really interested in territory wars or PvP, other existing MMORPGs might be a better choice. The combat is New World’s biggest weakness In almost every MMORPG, you’re going to be doing a ton of combat. It’s probably the biggest portion of the entire gameplay experience. With limited skill options, awkward animations, and very little excitement, New World’s combat is decidedly dull. Now, there’s something to be said about popping an opposing faction member from a great distance before you engage in a 3v3 skirmish that gets real greasy, but that’s more about the player-to-player interaction than the combat, which can often feel wooden and wonky. While I enjoy systems that attempt to break the genre out of the tab-targeting standard that’s been grandfathered into MMOs for ages, it misses the mark here.  I found it hard to determine if the other aspects of the game that seem enjoyable can carry this particular aspect either, as combat is the core of almost every other pursuit. Even if you’re just spelunking for saltpeter, you’re going to have to fight a ton of various zombie-like creatures, wolves, or bears, and it simply does not feel good. This problem is exacerbated in group experiences, both PvP and PvE, but more pronounced in the latter. Chewing into spongey opponents as a pack with the glaring lack of feedback from weaponry is almost comical, and your options in combat feel extremely limited and lacking. Everything can feel the same Enemies, locations, and activities can become a big bowl of mush without breaking it up with some PvP pursuits. You’ll see many of the same rickety little fishing villages, decrepit farms, and crumbling ruins as you traverse the giant world. Killing some undead buccaneers at level 5 feels the same as it does at level 15, and you’re going to be doing a ton of daily-quest/fetch style activities in order to grind out your faction reputation, like wandering around the aforementioned locations for boxes and killing X undead baddies. It feels intensely repetitive even after only twenty hours of gameplay, so I’m concerned about how that will translate to the endgame – will I still, as an elite member of the Syndicate, still be wandering farms killing undead and picking taters? I mean, I do like picking taters... Travel is rough When you’re just starting, it’s fine that you’re walking everywhere because you don’t have far to go. However, this takes a turn at around level 12, where you’ll find the autorun button and some movies on your favorite streaming platform to be your best friends. The world is large, and traveling it all on foot is a huge pain. Without mounts, and the fact that fast travel is limited by resources, moving around the map is an absolute bore and a chore. I realize there are other meaningful concerns that probably flow into this decision, like the implications of having everyone zoom around in a game that’s attempting to create stakes with territory control and PvP, but this becomes harder and harder to ignore the more you play and get quests on opposite ends of your map. Forging ahead Based on the beta, New World is going to be an interesting but potentially niche addition to the current crop of MMORPGs. However, it seems to really serve players that want to play with small groups of friends for faction skirmishes and that are interested in greater territory control wars with big guild politics and all that. If you’re not interested in that kind of greater pursuit with plenty of social interaction and PvP, the PvE elements by themselves do not seem compelling enough to keep things rolling.  While I love the feeling of crafting my own stuff, slowly increasing the areas that I’m strong enough to explore, and fastidiously upping all my gathering and crafting skills, I can see those charms fading rapidly as the activities become somewhat rote. The dynamics involved in faction wars and territory control seem to be the peppy antidote for the never-ending rock farm in various undead shacks and homesteads. As with other games that lean into this kind of emergent gameplay (RIP Shadowbane), some of New World will be what players shape it into.
More
    Home Tags Policy

    policy

    Facebook critics have formed their very own oversight board

    Sponsored Links ASSOCIATED PRESS Several prominent Facebook critics have formed a rival oversight board that will scrutinize the company’s content moderation practices and other policies. The group is called the Real Facebook Oversight Board. UK-based advocacy group The Citizens announced the committee one day after Facebook’s formal Oversight Board said it would start assessing moderation disputes next month. That body will have up to 90 days to make decisions on cases, and it’s unlikely to have a bearing on how Facebook handles November’s presidential election. "This is an emergency response," Guardian journalist and founder of The Citizens Carole Cadwalladr told NBC News. "We know there are going to be a series of incidents leading up to the election and beyond in which Facebook is crucial. This is a real-time response from an authoritative group of experts to counter the spin Facebook is putting out." We’ve had 17 years of Zuckerberg’s apologies. Now it’s time to [email protected]#detoxfacebook #realoversight Wednesdays – FACEBOOK LIVE https://t.co/TmcHfybijW pic.twitter.com/kVVnRyGPES — The Real Facebook Oversight Board (@FBoversight) September 25, 2020 The Real Facebook Oversight Board comprises 25 or so experts from the fields of academia, civil rights, politics and journalism. Among them are the company’s former head of election integrity operations for political ads Yael Eisenstat and early investor Roger McNamee. Other members include UK Member of Parliament Damian Collins, NAACP president Derrick Johnson and Marietje Schaake, a politician and the international policy director at Stanford University's Cyber Policy Center. The group will discuss Facebook platform issues in weekly public Zoom meetings and broadcast those on Facebook Live. Topics will include political ads, militias organizing themselves through Facebook events and the spread of QAnon conspiracy theories. The first meeting is set to take place on October 1st, with a focus on election issues such as voter suppression and misinformation. Facebook announced plans to form its own Oversight Board in 2018 and revealed the first batch of members in May. Some experts have suggested the board’s mandate is far too limited, as a large part of its work will center on content moderation appeals. Facebook will abide by that panel’s decisions but the company can ignore the Real Facebook Oversight Board’s suggestions entirely. It voiced concerns over that group to the investment firm Omidyar Network, which has provided funding to The Citizens. Facebook spokesman Jeffrey Gelman told NBC News the company tried to convince investors that "we are ultimately working toward the same goal." In this article: facebook, oversight board, oversightboard, carole cadwalladr, real facebook oversight board, policy, news, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Comments 52 Shares Share Tweet Share

    Facebook's Oversight Board shall begin hearing cases prior to the US election

    Sponsored Links Erin Scott / Reuters Faceboook has confirmed that it’s Oversight Board set up to rule on moderation disputes across the company’s platforms will begin to hear cases as early as mid-October, just ahead of the November US elections (via the Financial Times). “Since the first 20 Oversight Board members were appointed back in May, we have been helping to get them up and running as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson told Engadget. “We look forward to the board beginning to hear cases in mid to late October.” The board will be made up of journalists, lawyers and activists across the political spectrum, and will rule on appeals from Facebook and Instagram users as well as questions from within the company. They’ll be aided by a new software tool “that allows members to securely access and review case information from anywhere in the world,” and will be trained on the company’s community standards and policy process. Since the first 20 Oversight Board members were appointed back in May, we have been helping to get them up and running as quickly as possible. That has included finalizing a new software tool that allows members to securely access and review case information from anywhere in the world; and training them on our Community Standards and policy development processes. We look forward to the board beginning to hear cases in mid to late October. Shortly after launching the board, Facebook announced that it wouldn’t be ready until “late fall,” leading to fears that it would arrive too late for the US elections. It appears now that it will come sooner, though with not a lot of time to spare before votes are cast on November 3rd. Plus, decisions could take as long as three months after an appeal is first heard. Facebook said it tried to speed up the process without affecting quality. “Building a process that is thorough, principled and globally effective takes time and our members have been working aggressively to launch as soon as possible,” the company said. The board includes Alan Rusbridger, former editor in chief of The Guardian, former Europe Court of Human Rights judge Andras Sajo, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former prime minister of Denmark and John Samples, the vice-president of the libertarian Cato Institute. Facebook has set aside $130 million for the board, but said that its decisions won’t necessarily set any precedents and that it can only address certain kinds of content. On top of that, Facebook has made it clear that it’s still in control of what happens on the site. In this article: Facebook, Oversight Board, US election, misinformation, community standards, policy, appeals, deleted posts, news, gear All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Comments 53 Shares Share Tweet Share

    Must Read

    Get notified on updates    OK No thanks