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On Wards and the Future of New World

 On Wards and the Future of New World

AGS Announce Removal of Ward and Bane Perks

Many New World players, past and present, will be celebrating the future removal of Wards and Banes from our PVE gear. After all, no-one wants a complicated gear system combined with multi-layered RNG and limited gear set slots that have to be paid for with actual cash. But, what is the impact of making this announcement now, with at least one full Season before we see the changes hit live servers? And will this really achieve the desired outcome of bringing players back to New World?

What did they actually say?

In the June Community Q & A Forged in Aeternum video, David Verfaillie announced that “wards and banes are going to be making an exit from New World”, and Scot Lane said, “it’ll be safe to say it’ll be gone by the end of the year.” Katy Kaszynski made a point of saying this was a decision made in response to community feedback. 

You can read their full comments on the topic in our Snips from the Transcript below if you prefer not to watch videos.

What is content?

There’s no debate, the Ward and Bane system in its current form is challenging for newer players to engage in. Just when a Fresh 60 thinks they’ve arrived, new barriers are put up in the form of Expertise, 625 Gear Score, and Ward Requirements. They soon discover that level counts for very little, and to engage in any activities they need gear with the right perks at the right levels. 

This can be overwhelming at first, but we have to remember New World is an MMO. It’s not a game you knock over in a month or two. It’s meant to be a persistent world that you can grow and develop within. Long term goals, like building out all your gear sets, form part of what inspires some people to play. We know that it also causes some other players to quit. My question is, were those players inclined to play this type of game anyway?

Player Experience

The day before this announcement went out, I crafted a Lost Ward set for a company member, using Golden Scarabs. We spent quite a bit of time chatting about which second perks he’d like on each piece, and settled on a set that would reduce cooldowns and be flexible enough to use different weapons with (Lost Ward/Refreshing). This was fairly resource expensive, but we got exactly what he ordered with the exception of one Legendary piece that rolled Resilient as the extra perk. Which is another issue entirely. At the end of the process he said, “I’m smiling”.

This is someone who has played for quite a while, yet still has the opportunity to learn more and improve gear within the game. Being the first time he had engaged with the crafting system like this instead of relying on drops, he discovered a new way forward for building up all his sets. Something to look forward to, now stripped away by the announcement.

On the same day, another company member rolled an Ancient Ward item in preparation for Laz mutations coming up. He was ecstatic when it came out with Refreshing as the third perk and anticipated being able to sell it for some much needed coin. Imagine his dismay when this announcement made it worthless overnight.

Overly Complicated

Gear sets have really highlighted the number of sets players have, and also created a way for us to use those sets effectively. Having gear organised out of our inventory and being able to switch easily is a dream, with the only complaints being the cost and the restriction to 9 sets maximum. Gear sets have made the complicated system accessible, we simply need more of them.


What do we get if we smooth off all the complications and remove all the friction in the game? Nothing to engage with, no grit, no purchase.

The Forge Feedback

Katy’s right, players did not want a random Angry Earth type boss in the middle of the Human dungeon, as it makes gear management too cumbersome. While many of us do swap sets for that fight to allow for the extra Fire, it’s nice that the same set works for the last boss too. 

But, there’s a huge difference between needing three sets for one expedition and having a set for each creature family. One is an unnecessary inconvenience and the other is a collection.

Listening to feedback is important, but knowing which ideas will enhance your product and which ones will destroy it is more than just a measure of how loud the voices are. When SOE capitulated to public pressure, transformed the journey to Jedi from a “complicated” grind to a cakewalk and simplified their “complicated” professions system into a handful of cookie-cutter-style classes, they ultimately destroyed a good game. Let’s hope New World, with all its similar rocky beginnings, doesn’t suffer the same end as Star Wars Galaxies.

Communication and Timing

AGS do not have a good record for communication or effective timing of these kind of announcements. When Dave slipped out a hint of the Light Armor changes before Season 1, the market was in disarray with crafters and customers alike holding off until they knew what was happening. Similarly with the recent mention of a Gear Reset later this year.

Announcing removal of Ward and Bane just before Season 2, when new sets will be required for the Beast-based Trial, seems foolish, especially if the changes do not occur in that season. They continually state they only want to discuss the upcoming season, then drop a bomb like this about an unconfirmed time in the future. Is it worth investing in Beast sets, or should we just sit Season 2 out entirely?

The Outcome

Popular opinion seems to be that removing Ward and Bane is a good thing. Does this come from a vocal group of people who don’t actually play the game, or will it make a real difference and increase player population? Only time will tell.

There are many things we don’t know about the changes. Will Ward and Bane be replaced by generic versions of themselves? Will our 625 Ward and Bane gear be refundable for a resource or token? Will we get a “reroll” of the Ward or Bane perk slot? Or do we just salvage the gear we spent months and years putting together?

I would be happy with generic Ward and Bane perks. Yes, this means I’ll have five sets of pretty much the same thing, for some roles. I’m actually okay with that, as I can put different gems in each set and just swap items instead of gems each mutation. 

Incremental changes work better than extreme ones, let’s hope that’s what we see.

Snips from the Transcript

6:14: Any plans to reduce, simplify, move the ward system?

6:18: [David Verfaillie] Yes

We’ve heard the feedback loud and clear. We agree with it. We think it’s overly complex. It creates too much of a gear chase. And the chase is not fun, right? Like, what we’ve talked about is like the classless system in New World is one of its greatest strengths. I like the ability to experiment, try different builds – like super, super fun. But the problem is people are so occupied with getting banes and wards and resilience stats for PVP, they can’t enjoy the fun stuff. So we want to remove this complexity and allow people to dig into the fun stuff.

6:51: [Scot Lane] Yeah. It becomes like it goes from being this fun thing where I want to get better against Corrupted to being, of you can’t play because you don’t have the maximum requirements to be as fully optimized as possible. And so it’s created a not fun system and it’ll be safe to say it’ll be gone by the end of the year.

7:06: [David Verfaillie] Safe to say

7:07: [Katy Kaszynski] And I do want to say that this is something – we want to bring up changes that we’ve made as a result of player feedback. And this is going to be one of them. So if you recall, when Empyrean Forge hit the PTR, it had two different enemy types in it. And we heard that feedback and then we heard a resounding overall feedback – because the feedback from Empyrean Forge was they should all be the same type.

7:33: [Katy Kaszynski]  But we heard the overarching comment, which was this is a really robust, not fun system for us to engage with. And so we wanted – we took that very seriously.


8:46: [David Verfaillie] As we discussed, wards and banes are going to be making an exit from New World and it will not resurrect like people do. But what we would do, we do still like the preparation loop, right? And I don’t think gems is the right thing. We’re currently thinking about using the ward potions and just increasing their time to last a full Expedition. That’ll give people a little prep but it’s very lightweight.

9:08: [Scot Lane] And you can switch easily

9:09: [David Verfaillie] You can switch easily


Isn’t that what gear sets are for?

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Landi is an avid furniture collector and regular DPS for Don't Die Alone. She contributes to the Mutation Rotation and Faction Control series of articles.


  • First of all, great article. I have played many mmo’s in my time and each one I stuck with was for a few particular reasons. We need to have goals and things to work towards, New World outside of its average at best pvp scene had some really good offerings. The Journey of reaching 60, leveling expertise, building specialised sets for mob types and then upgrading them. It is a grind but an important grind, it gives purpose, it is a goal. I personally am not happy about the changes as it removes what I feel is a great system that had players put some thought and effort into creating a gear set to tackle what is supposed to be “harder end game content” I cant help but feel that this feedback is coming from players who either play with heavy time constraints in which case I say endgame mmo content isn’t within reach or players who only want to pvp complaining dungeons are too hard because they are not willing to develop sets to do the content. Lets say they remove ward and bane, what do we have left in playing new world? Lvl to 60, grind expertise, build a healer, tank and dps set and level them up and chug a potion which gives you ward of the type you need as the video suggested? Then what? Thats it? Pretty disappointing thoughts the team is trying to act on. MMO’s should take time and effort, if they dont, they simply wont last and players wont have that feeling of accomplishment and quit once they complete the easy goals.

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    • Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂 I agree with you 100% that meaningful goals are really important in an MMO and if you can do everything too quickly, there’s not much left for end-game. Building Ward sets is part of New World’s end game experience.

      And don’t get me started on their idea to change the Ward potions to a longer duration as a replacement! Firstly, Ward potions already have a function (strategic chug for large group pulls) and secondly, this just puts strain on an already rare resource group (Spinefish/Earthshell).

      I think it’s good to listen to feedback but it is very important to consider the pain points behind the complaints, rather than blindly capitulating to demands.

      If the core problem is exclusion from content, well first of all some content should be exclusive, which also means desirable. Secondly, what other game mechanics are contributing to this? Mutation limits, gear score scaling, etc. Is removing Ward/Bane even going to solve this problem or will the new required perk become [elemental type] Conditioning/Attunement? Which is even harder to get.

      On the other hand, Wards and Banes do suffer from what I’m calling “Essential Perk Syndrome” which means gear without it is useless (for PVE). Much like Resilient is for PVP. The solution to this is not removal, which just encourages another perk to be meta and angers everyone who has the old perk. Instead, other perks need to be raised up to be competitive so that players have a real choice about what to put on their gear.

      Make things better not worse!

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