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New World: Aeternum won me over despite Amazon’s mixed messaging

Published Jun 14th, 2024 2:30PM EDT
New World: Aeternum launches on October 15.
Image: Amazon Games

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If you saw the announcement for New World: Aeternum at Summer Game Fest, you might have assumed Amazon Games was announcing a brand new title. Instead, New World is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that launched in September 2021 on PC, and Aeternum is a rebranded and “enhanced” version of that game for PC and consoles.

But it’s not new. In a community Q&A this week, New World game director Scot Lane explained that the announcement at SGF was for new players who have never heard of New World. If you already own the game, your progress will not be interrupted when Aeternum arrives on October 15th. There will be some new content and quality-of-life changes, but the game itself will still be the same old New World when you log in after the update.

This mixed messaging didn’t go over well with existing players, who proceeded to review bomb New World on Steam and complain on every available social media platform and internet forum about Amazon’s inexplicable decision to market Aeternum as a new game.

I couldn’t begin to explain why Amazon chose to announce New World: Aeternum this way, but I can tell you what it’s like to play New World on a console: It’s great!

I had a chance to play New World: Aeternum on Xbox for about an hour at Summer Game Fest Play Days, and having never played New World before, I really enjoyed it. For those of you who didn’t know, New World is a fantasy action MMORPG set on the fictional island Aeternum in the 17th century. You fight enemies, gather resources, craft gear, and go on quests while exploring an enormous world and teaming up with other players.

Combat in New World: Aeternum.
Combat in New World: Aeternum. Image source: Amazon Games

The gameplay is more similar to a traditional action game than most MMOs. Think The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, or God of War. This translates perfectly to a controller, as you’ll attack, block, and dodge the same way you would in those previously mentioned games.

After battling my way through the tutorial as a ranger, I arrived in Monarch’s Bluffs, which is one of New World’s many regions. I received a few quests from Aelstrom, who claimed to be a fallen king, and began doing the rounds as a typical MMO newbie. I took out several plodding, simple enemies, gathered items for delivery, and skinned a boar for its pelt. Along the way, I got a peek at the game’s crafting system, which looks rather comprehensive.

A snowy environment in New World: Aeternum.
A snowy environment in New World: Aeternum. Image source: Amazon Games

My favorite part of the game is how leveling works. You can level your character like in any other RPG, but you’ll also level up each weapon class just by using it. I leveled up my bow a few times just by killing enemies from afar. The same is true of crafting — if you want a higher cooking skill, cook meals. If you want a higher woodworking skill, chop down trees.

After an hour, I made it to level 6 and found my first dungeon, but it was already time to leave. I walked away excited to see more of the game, unaware of the backlash that was brewing online. There’s a lot to like here as an MMO fan — I just hope Amazon learns from its mistakes and has a more open dialogue with the New World community going forward.

New World: Aeternum launches for Xbox, PS5, and PC on October 15, 2024.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.