After all this time, people are still thirsty for ‘the new World of Warcraft’

There are so many reasons to be suspicious about New World. This is the flagship title from Amazon, a company that has thoroughly bungled its interactive division thus far, leaving multiple botches and cancellations in the wake of its efforts. In fact, the most high-profile gaming initiative that’s come from the Bezos estate is an extremely inauspicious adaptation of the Jeremy Clarkson-starring Prime series, The Grand Tour. (It racked up a 52 on Metacritic.)

The gaming nation is ready for New World, even if the game might not be ready for us.

New World developer Double Helix Games hasn’t done much to shore up the faith. The MMO has been delayed repeatedly over the past two years, including one that came down less than a month before its last scheduled release. Our impressions have been lukewarm since we started playing the beta. New World clearly has an interesting foundation—a meld of traditional MMO questing and dungeoneering and a sandbox-style crafting and territory control infrastructure—but even after all of the false starts and pushbacks, the game still looks rough around the edges.

Fraser almost had a nervous breakdown as he navigated the Kafka-esque web of resources necessary to forge a single bullet for his musket—an editorial assignment that deserved its own hazard pay. MMO aficionado Sarah also came away pretty muted and bored, which is one of the worst sensations an expansive new overworld can evoke. “I’m fully aware that it’s too early to judge the game as a whole, but I usually find some excitement to push me through the early stages of most MMOs,” she wrote. “So far, New World just feels incredibly grindy and frustrating, made worse by certain weapons seemingly locked behind level requirements.”

(Image credit: Amazon)

These sort of foreboding beta reports usually have a withering effect on a game’s hype index. (And we don’t seem to be alone in our impression of New World.) And yet, every time I log onto Steam, I see pre-orders for New World rocketing up the sales charts. YouTube is billowing up with guides and walkthroughs dissecting the MMO’s oblique flourishes, which is always a sure sign that fresh hype is boiling through the algorithm. There are currently 96,000 subscribers to the New World subreddit. It’s not quite Elder Scrolls Online’s 355,000, but this is a game that isn’t out yet. At one point during the beta, 40,000 more people were watching New World streams on Twitch than streams of retail World of Warcraft.

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