New World: release date, open beta, combat, and everything else we know

The release of Amazon’s anticipated MMO, New World, is imminent, meaning it’s not long before you can set out into Aeternum to stake your claim, and starting claiming what others have already staked. New World is all about building up factions, forts, and settlements—carving your own little paradise from of an island that wants nothing more than to throw you back into the sea.

But New World also features some pretty massive multiplayer content, letting you invade player-held forts to steal away territory, or defend your hard-fought holdings from wave-after-wave of invading monsters. At the centre of this is New World’s complicated mix of Companies, Factions, and Territory, as players battle to take territory from the island, but also from each other.

On top of all this, you have the usual MMO staples of class levelling, loot, and dungeon-like expeditions that see you delve into Aeternum’s mysteries. This guide rounds together everything there is to know about New World, including how the game plays, and its many modes. One thing’s for sure: there’s going to be no shortage of stuff to do when New World releases.

(Image credit: Amazon Game Studios)

What is New World’s release date?

The New World release date is September 28, 2021. Pre-loading is available now.

New World sure hasn’t had an easy time getting to a launch date. The most recent delay is its third, originally expected in August 2020, then in Spring 2021, then August 2021. 

Does New World require a subscription?

No, you don’t need a subscription to play New World. You only need to make a one-time purchase—it’s $40 for the standard edition—though there may be expansions or other things to spend money on in the future.

There is a New World in-game store, but it is mainly for purchasing cosmetics such as skins, home decor, and pets.

Will there be a New World open beta?

New World hosted an open beta from Thursday, September 9 through Sunday, September 12

New World previously had a closed beta that launched on July 20 and ended on August 2. It was available to those who pre-ordered the game and filled out a beta sign-up form. However, no player progress is carried forward from the beta. 

Check out the New World trailer

We don’t know if New World will be the next great MMO, but we can safely say that its big axes look very fun to swing.

What kind of MMO is New World?

There’s a PvP territory control element to New World, but it isn’t a totally player-driven sandbox. If you want, you can spend all of your time fighting monsters, leveling up, and finding or crafting new gear. You can group up with other players to take on world events or attempt a boss fight. You don’t have to pay much attention to player politics at all, and can play New World like a standard open-world RPG: Explore new areas, kill new things, find new resources, craft new stuff.

If you want to fight other players in the open world, you can turn on your PvP flag once you join one of world’s three factions. If you’re killed by a player from another faction, you only lose some equipment durability, and maybe some pride and time. Your reward for opting into PvP is extra experience points for everything you do.

What are New World’s different modes?

There are a variety of different New World game modes for you to try out in Aeternum. Here’s a summary of each:

  • War Mode: This massive one hundred-player PvP mode sees your faction attack or defend a fort in order to determine the fate of a territory.
  • Expeditions: This mode is basically New World’s equivalent of the MMO dungeon, and sees you and four friends building a balanced party to solve puzzles and defeat bosses.
  • Invasion: This PvE defence mode sees 50 players defend their fort from waves of enemies, including the powerful Void Destroyer. If you survive for 30 minutes you win, if not, the territory is downgraded.
  • Outpost Rush: This PvPvE mode is a 20v20 battle where you compete to capture outposts, gather resources, and upgrade your defences, all while fighting off enemies, and other players. You can see it in action below.

How many players can be in a server at a time?

Amazon says that we’ll share the world with “over 1,000” players at a time. Also considering the New World beta hit nearly 200,000 concurrent players, there should be plenty of space. Here’s a full New World server list showing what’s available on launch.

What’s the story of New World?

You wash up on Aeternum, an island of legend which contains veins of a magical mineral called Azoth that both empowers and corrupts. So it’s a lost island of magic and monsters.

There are ruins left behind by an ancient civilization (and guarded by skeletons), natural creatures enhanced by the magic, corrupted settlers, and other baddies to fight. There’s more to the story than just the setting, though, and Aeternum is also filled with plenty of secrets. There’s even a villain, called Isabella, who you can see at the end of this trailer.

(Image credit: Amazon Game Studios)

What about factions?

There are three different New World factions that you can join at level 10, letting you become part of a company, and fight in faction wars and events:

  • Marauders: A military faction set on turning Aeternum into a free nation.
  • Syndicate: A secretive society searching for hidden lore and enlightenment.
  • Covenant: An order of fanatics who want to cleanse the land of those they deem heretics.

Your faction can’t be changed once you’ve chosen it, so make sure you choose the same one as your friends—unless you want to fight them, that is. There are also four enemy NPC factions:

  • The Corrupted: Infected by the corruption of Aeternum, this faction seeks to expand its influence by taking over faction forts.
  • The Ancient: An ancient civilisation who harnessed the power of Azoth.
  • The Lost: Doomed to immortality without a soul, these ghouls are trapped between life and death.
  • The Angry Earth: The nature of Aeternum, mimicking humans and animals to fight what it sees as an infection on the island.

(Image credit: Amazon Game Studios)

How do Companies, Forts, and Settlements work?

If you want to really get involved in New World’s social side, you can found or join a company. Companies are 100-player groups—New World’s guilds, basically—which can take over and govern territories. These companies are affiliated with one of the game’s three factions, and inherit the faction of their Governer (the person who created the company).

New World’s island setting is divided into territories, and can be further divided into settlements, which act as player-hubs for crafting, quests, inns, buying houses etc. Each territory also contains a fort, but once that fort is claimed by a company, it falls under their control and that of their parent faction. This fort can be taken away by another company, but first they must declare war, having first undermined the company’s influence in that territory.

It sounds complex, but it’s basically a system that means you can’t constantly steal forts back from each other, as you have to fulfil the conditions for declaring war first. A Governor sets the tax level, which affects how much certain actions in the territory cost, and can then use this money to organise public projects, upgrade the settlement and the fort, or just take it for themselves—though the players in your territory might not be too impressed. The Governor can also deputise Consuls to help them out with management.

(Image credit: Amazon Game Studios)

You said you can buy a house?

Yep. At level 20, you can buy a house in a settlement, and it’ll act as a respawn or fast travel location. It’s not going to be in a unique plot—many players can ‘own’ a house on the same plot of land, but once they enter they’ll see their personal version of the interior, which will be customizable with decorations and furniture (some of which can provide you with buffs out in the world). You can bring up to four players with you into your house to hang out.

At level 40, you can buy a second house, and at level 60, you can buy a third house, allowing you to quickly fast travel between three settlements. Buying a house in a settlement is a good way to get involved in that particular territory, so be sure to pick one with a low tax rate.

Aside from being recruited to help defend a fort from invading players, a company might recruit you to help defend a fort from invading monsters. If PvP isn’t your thing, you can still participate in big sieges by signing up for one of those monster invasion defenses.

How do leveling and combat work?

While New World’s combat requires more than just tactical skill—your attacks have to connect with hit boxes, and there’s dodge and block timing to master—you level up like in a typical MMO. As you gain levels, you’ll be able to add points to a few base attributes. Strength will increase your damage with melee weapons, and agility will do the same with ranged weapons—it’s the standard stuff.

As you use different weapon types, you’ll also gain proficiency with them independent of leveling. The more you use, say, a sword, the more active and passive swordfighting skills you can unlock in the mastery tree. Active skills are special attacks—a spinning attack that hits multiple enemies, for instance—that have long cooldowns. If you wanted to, you could completely master every weapon type.

There are plenty of weapons to use as well. New World has swords, hatchets, spears, warhammers, bows, rapiers, great axes, and even muskets. There are also magic weapons such as the fire and life staffs, and the ice gauntlets. You can have two weapon sets ready to go at any time, and can switch between them quickly by pressing 1 and 2. 

There are also seven crafting skills: armoring, arcana, cooking, engineering, furnishing, jewelcrafting, and weaponsmithing, and these allow you combine resources to create clothing, weapons, consumables, and even furnishings for your house. You’ll also need high tier crafting stations to make high tier items, and to gather rarer materials from more dangerous parts of the island.

(Image credit: Amazon Game Studios)

Is there magic in New World?

Yes, but magic in New World is linked to the use of different types of weapon. There are life staffs (which are good for healing and protection) and fire staffs (which are good for fire). Each have two separate skill trees that allow you to specialize in a particular type of offensive or support magic. There are also the ice gauntlets which unsurprisingly let you to use ice-based magic.

New World also has a Creator Program 

Amazon has a New World Creator Program for players interested in creating content around the game. Accepted members will have access to benefits to like early access to content, special events, giveaway codes, and other special privileges. 

Where can I get more information?

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