New World’s first expansion, Rise of the Angry Earth, will raise the level cap of Amazon Games’ MMORPG while additionally adding a whole new type of rare item for players to chase, overhauling the game’s controversial loot system, completely transforming one of its centrally located zones, and introducing what has long been its most-requested feature: mounts.
Amazon’s MMO kicked off with a strong launch that broke concurrent player records on Steam back in 2021 but quickly faded from the spotlight as players were confronted with boring quests, a lengthy grind to max level, and little to do once getting there. The game sports a 70 on Metacritic, with GameSpot’s New World review stating the MMO is a solid player-driven MMO for those keen on PvP, but is “held back by outdated quest design and a lack of interesting endgame content.”
Set to release on October 3, just a few days after the game’s second anniversary, New World’s Rise of the Angry Earth expansion will sell for $30 (only $10 less than the base game, it must be noted, though New World does not require a subscription to play) and incorporate a number of lessons Amazon Games has learned since the game’s launch. As New World director Scot Lane said in a media briefing attended by GameSpot, Amazon Games has sought to reduce points of “friction” between the game and players since launch, including overhauling New World’s introductory zones, revamping aspects of its main questline, decreasing the amount of time it takes to level up, reducing the cost associated with fast travel, and more. Those efforts will continue forward into Rise of the Angry Earth and beyond, he said.
Like any proper expansion, Rise of the Angry Earth will raise New World’s max level from 60 to 65 and increase the maximum gear score to 700. Players will have more attribute points to spend and be able to unlock new attribute threshold bonuses at 350 points to further power up their characters. However, leveling to the new max level won’t be a weeks-long process like trying to hit level 60 in the base game was. Instead, simply playing through the expansion’s new main story quests should have players reaching level 65, or close to it, by the end of the questline, according to New World creative director David Verfaillie. Amazon did not give an exact estimate of how many hours that might take.
“It’s a very reasonable amount of time,” Verfaillie said. “We didn’t want to add any extra grind or anything. Hopefully it feels natural as you are playing the storyline.”
Earning more powerful gear will additionally be easier, as Amazon is ditching the controversial Expertise and Umbral upgrade systems it introduced shortly after the game’s launch for a much more straightforward system. Doing high-level content, like Rise of the Angry Earth’s new The Savage Divide expedition, will drop high-level gear, and players won’t need to slowly move an invisible loot table needle higher and higher for each individual gear slot in order to have a chance of finding valuable items. The game’s loot system will be smarter as well, avoiding items that roll with stats that don’t make much sense, such as a Greatsword with intelligence. Verfaillie said the goal is to have players finding better gear more often and for there to be less “trash” loot that players instantly salvage.
Going hand-in-hand with New World’s loot overhaul is the introduction of an all-new type of item to acquire, Artifacts. Functioning similarly to legendary weapons in other RPGs, Artifacts are unique items with extra perks that can completely change how some of the game’s various abilities and skills function. Additional perks can be unlocked by completing a quest chain associated with each Artifact, allowing players to unlock its full potential over time. Only one weapon Artifact and armor or trinket Artifact can be equipped at one time. Verfaillie said there will be an Artifact for each weapon type as well as each armor slot for each weight class and that additional Artifacts will be introduced to the game over time. A new Heartrune, special abilities players can equip that were added to New World post-launch, will be introduced as well and further give players more build decisions. In Rise of the Angry Earth, the new Primal Fury Heartrune has players embracing their inner beast, bashing foes with powerful unarmed attacks.
Mounts Finally Arrive In Aeternum
An overhaul of New World’s loot system and powerful new items to discover are welcome additions, but the introduction of mounts is, by far, Rise of the Angry Earth’s main selling point, as it’s a feature that Amazon says fans have asked for since New World’s earliest days. Amazon previously used lore reasons to explain why mounts didn’t exist in Aeternum, but Rise of the Angry Earth’s story, which partly revolves around the rise of the animal-like Beast Lords, will address how players can learn to tame and ride beasts of burden. Mounts will come with their own Riding tradeskill associated with them, which players can level up to improve their mount’s performance. That can be done a number of ways, such as participating in races throughout Aeternum or taking the time to feed mounts. Mounts will gain additional speed when used on roads and have stamina charges that can be used to gain bursts of speed.
Players can unlock mounts fairly early on, as the quest to earn a mount unlocks at level 25. That first mount will be “free” to players who purchase the game’s $30 expansion and complete the introductory quest, though additional mounts and cosmetics can be acquired through play or the in-game shop. Mounts will be exclusive to those who purchase Rise of the Angry Earth and will not be usable by those who only have the base version of New World.
While there will be three different base mount types–horses, direwolves, and cats–each mount type will function identically. Mounts can be further customized with skins and attachments, and certain trinkets will modify how mounts function.
“This was important to us, actually, because we did not want to get into a situation where one had some perceived advantage and you felt required to get that one even though you like the aesthetic of a different one…we didn’t want this to become part of the meta,” Lane said.
A Flexible New Weapon And A Zone Transformed
New World doesn’t feature classes and instead allows players to create their own unique builds depending on their stat allocation, the types of weapons they choose to bring into battle, and the armor they wear. For Rise of the Angry Earth, Amazon is introducing the Flail to the game’s ever-expanding arsenal. Scaling off the Strength and Focus stats, it’s a weapon Amazon said is uniquely suited for players looking for a weapon to complement a support playstyle, or for tanky, frontline combatants. The Flail has abilities that can both buff allies and debuff enemies, and can be used as a standalone weapon or paired with a shield, which will modify some of the weapon’s abilities.
Rise of the Angry Earth will introduce what will be the game’s second new zone since launch, the Elysian Wilds. Unlike Brimstone Sands, a zone that was introduced last year as part of a free update and occupies the current outskirts of Aeternum’s map, Elysian Wilds will actually take the place of the zone that is currently home to First Light. Though they will occupy the same part of the map, Elysian Wilds will in essence be a completely new zone transformed by rampant vegetation and deadly new creatures and won’t share any points-of-interest with First Watch. Amazon said it made the decision to convert an existing zone rather than bolt a new zone on to the edge of the map in the interest of keeping players centrally located.
“We talked about this a lot,” Lane said. “Part of it was looking at a heat map. First Light just had a lot less traffic than the other zones, and it’s kind of unfortunate because it’s right in the middle of the action. If we had added a new zone it would have further spread out the world, so we thought taking over this…when you look at it, I’d be surprised if you are ever like, ‘This is First Light.’ It’s basically a new zone: The biomes are different, the POIs are completely different, the AI is different. It’s going to look starkly different. We thought it made the most sense…one thing when you further spread out the world, it separates players further. So the more things we can do, players like to be closer together, the more things we can do to make that world stay tight and full is better.”
Crafting makes up a big part of New World, and overhauls to crafting to reduce the randomness associated with making items will make it so players have more control over their crafted gear. As a result, crafting will be more valuable but also more expensive. The tradeskill level cap will be increasing from 200 to 250 and unlock new crafting options across the game’s various tradeskill categories. Simplifications will be coming to many tradeskills as well, with Lane calling out the Cooking and Furnishing tradeskills as ones that will receive significant changes.
New World recently introduced seasons and a seasonal battle pass, and Rise of the Angry Earth’s release will coincide with the arrival of Season 3. Players will need to purchase the premium version of the Season 3 battle pass separately from the expansion, though players won’t need to have purchased the expansion to participate in Season 3 or level up its battle pass.
A lot has changed in New World in two years, ranging from the introduction of seasonal content to new weapons and even an arena PvP mode. Lane said the team wouldn’t have made it this far without the support and passion of players who have stuck with New World since launch, and that the version of New World players experience today and will experience when Rise of the Angry Earth releases is much different from the experience players may have had at launch.
“I think it’s safe to say, if you start the game today, it’s very, very different, in a good way, than it was two years ago,” Lane said. “We’ve spent a lot of time removing friction from the game. Like a lot of MMOs, you have places that tend to get a little grindy, and we’ve made a serious effort on the team’s part to go through and remove that.”
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