New World devs unveil Dark Souls-like dungeon, the Amrine Excavation

Expeditions are instanced team encounters with big bad beasties and valuable loot drops

When New World, Amazon Games’ upcoming historical-fantasy MMORPG game, launches on August 31, it’ll feature a new type of instanced event called Expeditions. The studio has just unveiled one of the first of these – called the Amrine Excavation – giving us an idea of Expeditions’ gameplay, challenges, and big scary bosses.

In a preview event for the new content, Amazon reveals that Expeditions are somewhat akin to dungeon runs you might see in other MMOs. Small gaggles of players head deep into specific locations – in Amrine’s case, a spooky, cavernous network of chambers beneath a forest – to tackle bosses which are tougher than the usual AI nasties you’ll encounter in the game’s world, Aeternum. All for the promise of much better loot drops, of course – this being key given the game’s classless progression system.

Going by Amrine as an example, Expeditions’ criteria are pretty simple at face value but demanding in practice, requiring at least three players and an Azoth staff, as well as recommending a minimum level of 25. Once inside, players quickly prep consumables and kit they’ll need, before facing down enemies like Plaguegeists, Scavengers, Punishers, and Retchers – malevolent spirits and zombie-like creatures that pack a punch.

The environments in Expeditions can presents a challenge, too, with close quarters in some spots of Amrine, and sheer drops down chasms threatening doom in others. Gangs of zombies and more monstrous enemies called Abominations, which are like car-sized, clawed bats, use a lot of melee force to gang up on players in these spaces, making fights tough if you’re under-levelled or unprepared.

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Players progress through a network of dark, underground spaces, following simple objectives that ask you to find story clues, unlock ways forward, and best baddies. Elite supply chests can be found along the way which hoard some special loot – like high-level kit and helpful consumables – but they take a hot minute to open, so are a reward for clearing those hordes.

Bosses encountered in Expeditions can include enormous Ravagers, which are like furious, armoured ogres crossed with minotaurs, and have some pretty devastating slam and noxious spew attacks. They’re real bruisers and need a team with its wits about it – and preferably some big-time dodging skills – to batter their health down. There are also powerful spirits like Foreman Nakashima – a brutal and fire-resistant poltergeist – who unleashes bursts of magic attack damage and purple AoE rings with stun effects that you really don’t want to step into.

The overall effect is something not only reminiscent of World of Warcraft’s world dungeon instanced zones in terms of gameplay, but also a little Souls-like in its flavour, with gloomy, foreboding environments, dark fantasy bosses, and pretty intricate combat. That impression is especially helped by the medieval-style armour sported by one of the devs in a playthrough I get to witness.

In a Q&A session following the event, game director Scot Lane touched on this inspiration, saying that “the combat style is influenced by Dark Souls and several other action-RPG type games”. He added, “if you’re a traditional MMO player, you’re used to either tab targeting or more of a simple combat, and we wanted to bring that action-y combat into the genre at scale for an MMO, and we’re really excited about the results”.

Going by Amrine, it appears Expeditions won’t be overly lengthy or involved affairs, with a dungeon run of experienced devs taking approximately half an hour to complete a run. But, they offer some pretty different gameplay content to what we’re seen revealed for New World so far – such as its large-scale 50v50 wars or pleasant pastimes like fishing – and will likely be a satisfying venture for MMO fans who love to team up with some pals to sink their teeth into some story and boss battles, and nab some great loot.

New World launches on August 31, 2021.