Like many of the biggest and best MMORPGs around, Amazon Games’ upcoming fantasy MMO, New World, will feature player housing – little corners of the world of Aeternum to call your own. Early last year, the studio gave us a rundown of how New World’s take on housing will work in a blog post, but exactly how expansive this part of the game will be has remained a mystery until now.
As long as you’ve hit a certain level and racked up enough standing in its respective settlement, you’ll be able to bag a variety of houses across the world. To accrue enough standing you’ll need to help out the locals, often through killing beasties, completing town projects, and crafting items. Gold alone won’t do it – you’ll have to earn the right to settle down in New World.
Houses vary in style and size, and you can own more than one up to a certain limit, but the common theme is that they’ll offer a bunch of useful features, and you can pack them full of stuff – I don’t know about you, but I love stuff.
To find out more about what these perks and functions might be, and why Amazon Games is bringing player housing to New World in the first place, we spoke to head of world experience Mike Willette and environment art lead Rosie Strzalkowski.
What benefits does housing offer players?
Mike Willette: Our goal was to provide players with a personal space within Aeternum. One that they can customize to their heart’s desire across a multitude of settlements in our world.
On top of the cosmetic appeal of home ownership, it allows a couple of key gameplay benefits. Recall [lets] you fast travel directly home without an azoth cost – this has a cooldown depending on the number of houses you own. You get additional storage with houses, so you can place up to three extra containers per house. Finally, you can display trophies, which provide a variety of global gameplay buffs. You can place up to five trophies at each house you own, but you can’t add multiples of the same type [of trophy] in the same house.
Can you share any examples of trophies and the buffs they grant?
MW: There are trophies that provide buffs for combat, crafting, gathering, and more. Wall-mounted axes, for example, provide a logging bonus, while the horns from a wild beast provide bonus damage against similar beasts. We plan to continue adding even more beyond launch.
What different types of houses will be available at launch, and what makes each one unique?
MW: Houses can have different values based on a set of criteria. We have four categories of home, and the more of these features found in the house, the more expensive it is.
These categories include: the number and size of rooms; whether the house has outdoor space like a yard, porch, or balcony; how close the house is to amenities like fast travel points, taverns, crafting stations, and marketplaces; if the house is easy to get to; and if there are beautiful things surrounding the house, such as rivers, waterfalls, ornamental forests, flowers, or gardens.
What kind of design options do players have when it comes to the look of houses?
Rosie Strzalkowski: We wanted to give players a place where they could show off their collections. We also wanted the appearance of the collections to make players excited to collect and coordinate items. There’s a scoring system that we put in that gives points based on the items the player places and where they position them.
For example, you can place a table upside down on the ceiling, but you won’t gain points for that. The goal was to create a balance between player creativity and structure, so there’s a ruleset that players can use to compete with each other to have the best showcase house in the world for a while.
Could you elaborate on how this competitive aspect will work?
MW: Each house is assigned a house score or peacock score to determine which house in a given settlement is shown to the public. Your house’s score, the scores of any group members who also live on that plot, and the scores of the top 20 houses are shown on the ‘house enter’ screen. The total score is based on two factors: territory standing and decoration score.
Some big MMOs, like World of Warcraft, don’t have player housing. Why was it something you wanted to bring to New World?
MW: We wanted a place for players to call home. Somewhere they could personalise and have it seen by their friends and neighbours. It also had great gameplay synergy with other systems like crafting, fishing, and exploring. You can see someone’s tastes and their journey displayed in their house.
Lots has changed about New World since testing started. What changes to housing have come about as a result of player feedback?
MW: We made the more expensive homes more valuable. The better the house, the more pets, lights, and furnishings you can place inside it. We made it so players can access housing items directly from settlement storage.
We have also made improvements to player interactions with furnishings and made adjustments to how certain pieces of furniture are placed to improve the overall experience. Lastly, we reduced the territory standing requirement for purchase – now, a player only needs to have a standing level of ten in order to purchase a home in that territory.
I understand you had “hundreds” of items for players to customise their housing with as of February last year – can you tell me how many there might be now?
RS: There are over 550 in-game furniture items to decorate with, and there are more on the way after launch. These all come in in a variety of different themes and coordinated colours.
What are some of the standout items players can decorate their houses with?
RS: I love all of the furniture, but my personal favourite is the pirate captain set. The style is shabby, but there are lots of elaborately carved mahogany pieces, detailed with brass skulls and upholstered in tufted velvets. The bed is made up with a variety of richly embroidered fabrics and pillows. It comes in sets of matching materials and colours including heavy curtains, rugs, and super fun décor like a telescope, a ship’s wheel chandelier, and much more
Housing is popular in lots of MMOs, were there any games you drew inspiration from for New World?
RS: We have taken inspiration from many games with housing. Some of the new ideas we have been kicking around include ways to show off and interact with things inside your home and celebrate. But we’ll have more to come on that in the future.
New World launches on August 31, 2021. Amazon Games has started rolling out some clips taking a look at the MMO’s lore, and we’ve taken a good look at some of its major game modes, like its 50v50 Wars and dungeon-crawling Excavations, if you’re keen to know more before it arrives. Alternatively, check out our roundups of new MMOs or – to spare your wallet – free MMOs to find your next massively multiplayer fix.