New World is a gaming platform that has been around for over two years. We recently interviewed Mutators, the designer of New World’s game and how they think about gameplay in relation to power leveling.

New World interview: Mutators, the midgame, the level 30 wall, and more

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This week, Amazon released a big movie for New World, detailing the January update and providing a sneak glimpse at what players may expect in February. We sent interview questions to Amazon Games’ World Experience Lead Mike Willette before of the video’s release to get some insight into the upgrade, the game’s near future, and its existing pain points. Willette spoke with us about the studio’s mid-game goals, the logic behind mutators, and Amazon’s development priorities. He also gives a sneak peek at some planned PvP stuff. Continue reading!

Many MMO users objected when mutant expeditions were originally introduced, claiming that they were just a technique of extending and randomizing current material rather than creating new content. Is it an accurate portrayal? Is it possible for Amazon to explain their reasoning?

Mike Willette, Amazon Games: We’re always developing new stuff. Mutators are a new layer of gaming complexity that challenges players in exchange for higher rewards. It’s an additive system that we’ll continue to improve as we add more content.

I’m curious if you could describe your thinking process for prioritizing patch features. One of my authors, for example, points out that the game lacks a group finder, despite the fact that we know (through datamining) that Amazon is working on one. Why concentrate on elements that encourage people to participate in excursions rather than the technology that makes them simpler to plan and more available to a larger group of players?

Each game subteam has a backlog of features and bugs to work on. Each team prioritizes live problems, features, and bugs with feedback from our community teams. Complementary features may not be ready for launch at the same time in certain circumstances, therefore we consider the value of getting the core of the product out sooner rather than later.

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Is it possible for Amazon to reveal the percentage of gamers that create expedition content? What proportion of the playerbase is projected to be interested in mutant excursions vs explorations against other game content? To put it another way, are there enough players in this game tier to warrant concentrating on it?

Expeditions are attended by a large number of players. Players have demanded additional complexity and diversity in their Expedition experiences since the debut of Expeditions, so it’s something we’ve emphasized.

Our New World writer has written extensively on the game’s perception of a “wall” around level 30. Is Amazon trying to address the idea that the midgame is dragging in order to drive more people to that endgame now that the studio is focusing on producing more things to do at the distant endgame?

For players, we’ve been focusing on bringing additional material and diversity to both the middle and end game. We revamped the onboarding missions and introduced new AI animals to the beginning locations earlier this year. More modifications are expected in the future.

In relation to the final question, what kind of content is Amazon going to provide for players who like the more laid-back “survival game” approach of the 1-30 game, or who are more interested in PvP and RvR than endgame dungeon stuff in New World?

In the future, we want to offer additional PvP-focused content. There’s nothing I can say right now, but stay tuned!

Can we anticipate combat changes in the February patch? I know Reddit has been pressing for combat updates – can we expect combat fixes in the February patch? [Editor’s note: This issue was covered in further depth in this week’s developer video, which was released after we submitted our questions!]

Bugs, combat, and balance are not one-time solutions. We’re always analyzing player interactions and searching for new ways to enhance the overall feel and responsiveness of the game. With each new version, you can expect to see improvements.

New World isn’t finished cooking yet, according to our readers, and it might take months or even years to get to where it needs to be – which isn’t unusual for MMORPGs. Is Amazon on board with that view, and if so, when do you believe the studio will be at a place where its “basegame” concerns are resolved and gameloop is completely polished, allowing the live team to concentrate only on “new”?

Every day and every release is treated as Day 1. I don’t believe you can ever fully declare anything is completed or done as a creator—always there’s something you can better or develop. In the months and years ahead, we’ll continue to provide new experiences and moments for gamers.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us!

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