During the PC Gaming Show today, Amazon Games announced that its New World massively multiplayer online game will be available as a closed beta July 23. The company also revealed new details about the combat system for the colonial era online game. The game has been in development for years, and it represents a big test of Amazon’s move into the game industry, following the May launch of its Crucible team shooter game.

The closed beta will be the New World’s first massive test. It will be for players who have preordered the game. The open world MMO will launch August 25 on PC. The alpha version has already been available for about 19 weeks, said David Verfaillie, New World’s head of player experience, in an interview with GamesBeat.

“The big thing we want to see is how the game holds up at scale,” Verfaillie said. “We want to know how the servers hold up, how lag-free the play will be, and if the frame rate is good. We’re going to get a lot of information about how it plays.”

PvP combat

Amazon is also debuting the combat tree and the way that battles unfold as the players take each other on and battle the environment. The game pits players in three different factions against each other and the haunted wilderness of Aeternum, a mysterious island in the twilight of the Age of Exploration.

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Your success in New World ultimately depends on their capability to conquer not only rival factions but the undead legions, or corrupted souls who want to purge the humans from the island. You can take part in huge player-versus-player battles, where one faction can declare war against another in a region and try to take over a fortress within a half hour. The siege pits 50 players against 50 others in a battle for control of a fortress.

To fight a war, a faction has to gain a foothold in a territory and then declare war. Players get ready for the big fight, but the war can only happen at a certain time of day, so that all-night battles don’t leave players exhausted. In big siege battles, attackers can place their siege weapons anywhere they want to breach the walls. The faction that wins takes over the territory and reaps the tax revenues from the region, helping the winning team grow faster.

“It’s a pretty cool system that has lots of moving pieces,” Verfaillie said. The team will also test how well the economy flourishes as plays trade goods and distribute them, Verfaillie added.

PvE battles

You can also fight the undead, or corrupted creatures, and take on big bosses in player-versus-environment (PvE) battles. New World has dynamic moments in which corruption appears in parts of the world, and players have to band together to stamp it out. Players can get introduced to war in a PvE setting where they collectively battle against corrupted enemies such as giant bears.

The game will have seven weapons at launch, including a couple of magic weapons with a full magic system. Each weapon has a mastery system that enables players to customize their gear, based on different advancement trees. You can develop your weapons to offer more support, healing, or damage. You can use blades or guns.

“There’s a lot of opportunity for emergent gameplay,” Verfaillie said. “We think that blend allows players to sort of get introduced to the experience and have a more curated experience, and it also gives them a chance to create their own stories. And I think that’s really interesting, another part of the value proposition which helps differentiate us, is our setting in the 17th century.”

Verfaillie said that the alpha testing helped the team find out about how players will exploit the systems. The team added more directed content and quests that helps players get onboard to faction gameplay and how to use a staff to fight corrupted creatures. The team also changed how you can fire a magic staff at a target. Earlier, a player was locked into a single position. Now you can change the aim as needed. You can also cancel out of attacks more freely, swap between weapons, and move to different targets.

The missions will reveal pieces of a larger mystery that players will unravel.