‘New World’s creative director explains why combat in the MMO is so enjoyable

ByJose A. York

Jul 30, 2021

If you are one of the 123,036 people who have played New world in the past 24 hours, chances are you’re mostly here for the fight. Officially, New world is a crafting MMO. In reality, you’re going to spend a lot of time punching zombies, boars, and everything else you can see with the game’s assortment of weapons.

Hitting things feels pretty good in New worldand it’s far from mashing number keys to get a variety of brightly colored abilities to explode across the screen. NME talked to David Verfaillie, New world‘s creative director, on how they managed to create such a dynamic fight.

New worldThe combat system is action-based, where positioning, timing, and choice of attack all matter,” Verfaillie explained, talking about the different feel compared to several other MMOs. “Our combat system is based on physical hit detection – an attacker’s weapon attack pods must hit defensive pods which move in sync with the defender’s animation.”

Simply put, if your weapon connects to your opponent, you will deal damage. If not, you won’t. Rather than dodging or evading, you’ll need to actually dodge out of a big attack to avoid getting hit by it – and you’ll want to dodge big attacks, as Verfaillie says the team came out of their way to make the fights impactful.

New world. Credit: Amazon Game Studios

“Most weapons have a few big hitting abilities that cause lags and do a lot of damage. Hitting with these feels great, and when you get hit with one, you feel it. We also use impact sound effects, visual effects, and screen shakes on some of the biggest attacks to further sell the impact of combat.

This all might sound tricky considering most MMOs live on huge servers, but Verfaillie says that – while you can never eliminate packet loss or latency issues – there are several methods to help. prevent lag from ruining your fights.

“A specific example is when a player has high latency, we slow down their attack start-up slightly, so the server has time to send information about the attack to nearby potential targets.” said Verfaillie. “Our goal is to never create advantages for bad connections, while trying to keep their experience as playable as possible.”

As someone who’s played the game a lot and even indulged in a bit of PVP the combat never seems to waver which unfortunately means every time my head gets hit it’s on me.

New world
New world. Credit: Amazon Game Studios

As a player who passed the beta armed with a spear and a musket, it’s remarkable how different each weapon is. New world is classless, but these weapons and the unique mechanics they bring to the table seem like the true archetype that every player will progress with, especially when you consider that they have their own skill trees that you progress through to use them.

“Our philosophy is to give each weapon a unique role that fulfills a player’s fantasy,” says Verfaillie. “For example, with the War Hammer, we wanted a big, heavy weapon that players could wield and feel like a barbarian. But we also wanted it to have a unique role in the game, and we felt that breaking blocks and handing out stuns would be a good niche for him.

“A favorite saying on the combat team is, ‘It’s okay for a gun to feel good, as long as all the guns have their own broken stuff’.”

New world
New world. Credit: Amazon Game Studios

All of these broken abilities come together to create the biggest challenge in the game: balancing combat.

“The classless battle system gives players plenty of options to create unique builds
– attributes, armor, weapons, gems, perks, weapon proficiency, and consumables all affect combat,” Verfaillie explains. “The number of entries creates an almost infinite number of variations that we have to balance.

“Add to that the complexities of balancing PvE combat and PvP combat, and it becomes a real challenge. Through many iterations over Alpha, we’ve reached a balance where we’re happy with it, but there’s always more to do. We will continue to work on this, long after the game launches.”

When asked what weapons might come next, Verfaillie is mute. “I can’t discuss what comes next, but I can say that we plan to continue releasing new weapons after our launch. New world. The three weapons we’ve added over the past year – the Spear, Rapier, and Ice Gauntlet, each bring their own cool and unique combat mechanics into the game, and that creates new playstyles. want to keep adding weapons that have such an impact.

Amazon Games New world out on PC on August 31.