One of the main features of Amazon’s New World is an ongoing struggle between three massive player-run factions for control of Aeternum Island. This is causing some players to behave badly, from harassing members of other factions to loudly shouting obscenities in local voice chat. Today’s update adds a helpful login screen reminding players how to be nice to each other.
While I am off peacefully gathering cooking ingredients in the forests and field of Aeternum, more competitive-minded members of The Syndicate, The Marauders, and The Covenant, the three factions, are locked in a never-ending battle for control over the island’s various zones. For a large portion of its player base, controlling land is everything in New World. Controlling a zone gives a faction guild domain over in-game settlements. Once in power, they can upgrade defenses and crafting stations, giving their side access to resources and equipment that could give them the edge over the competition. This massive, player-versus-player conflict is basically all the endgame New World has at the moment.
When you split a server’s population into three factions and set them loose to compete over an island nation, hostility spreads like weeds. When two factions are fighting each other, global chat is filled with an amusing yet depressing amount of ill will. Names are called, threats are made. I’ve seen players following other players about town, harassing them in local area chat. Before I disabled local voice chat, which is a horrible feature in a game where hostile factions share the same spaces, I got to hear what sounded like a teen calling out members of The Syndicate using homophobic slurs.
It’s a real problem. One that MMOs like World of Warcraft or good old Dark Age of Camelot avoided by keeping their warring factions from openly communicating with each other. New World has no such chat restrictions, so players are free to verbally assault each other all day long.
But not really. The new message popping up while starting up New World this morning reminds players that there’s a thing called the “Code of Conduct,” which they agreed to abide by before they started playing.
“Protect The Community” reminds players that Amazon Games will not tolerate bullying, aggression, or hate speech, all of which I have seen many examples of in my first week with the game. “Play Fair” warns about using cheats, exploiting glitches, or selling in-game items for real money. I’ve definitely seen exploiting glitches, but so far my server seems to be gold seller-free. Finally, “Respect Each Other” means don’t grief, pretend to be someone else, or report other players falsely for abuse. I’ve not seen any of those, but I guess it happened somewhere if Amazon feels the need to point it out.
Will the new message make a difference? Maybe it will. Maybe players getting a little too into the in-game conflict will see the screen, realize what they have been doing, and change their ways. Maybe all they needed was a “Before You Play” screen to remind them how to treat other human beings.
Still, I am never, ever turning local voice chat back on.