Overall, I have had a very positive experience in New World, especially for a new MMO. I am glad I got to experience most features during beta (solo, expeditions, war, corrupted portals, trade skills, etc.). Though I never got to end-game stuff (only reached level 30 on one toon), I am confident I will enjoy my time in Aeternum at launch.
There are several items that Amazon still needs to work on (bugs, server stability, mini-map, faction balance, etc.), for it to feel fully fleshed out. However, Amazon seems committed to making this game successful and has already made significant changes. I have no doubt we will see improvements soon after Launch.
Quest lines are kind of awkward, especially main quests - there needs to be a clearer purpose behind them. One quest can send you ALL over the map. I would prefer main quest lines send you step-by-step through the zones so you can experience each zone's story and conflicts. Right now, quests seem aimless.
Expeditions are fun - a bit of puzzle thrown in there and the fights can be challenging. There are 6 expeditions at launch (3 are end-game I believe). There are several reasons to continue to go back after completing the initial quest (crafting components, gear, etc.) I am hoping they add tiers (like WoW's heroic or mythic) for challenges later in game.
Open World Group Areas (I forget what they call these) are fun to just show up and see who else is there and work together to get loot.
Corrupted Portals - Quick group content with decent loot. But it also can get repetitive. I am hoping they add variations soon... use the different forces - Corrupted, Lost, Angry Earth - with more variety of bosses and encounter mechanics.
More world bosses - and give them stronger influence over the area around them... like maybe they can attack settlements that need to be defended in a PVE event, similar to invasions.
Raids need to come soon. Raids build a lot of sustainability into a game, plus they are great for Guild/Company activities. Cheering as the BBEG falls after weeks of planning, prepping and fighting - those are some of my greatest MMO memories.
What is in game is fun and combat is satisfying, but there needs to be more.
Wars are a lot of fun, but they are limited to 30-minute battles that won't occur very often for most players, unless you are in the territory-owning or attacking Company, or are chosen by one to participate.
Instanced PVP needs more at lower levels. Outpost Rush looks fun, but you have to be level 60. They need lower tier options... maybe 20, 40, 60. Also I am hoping to see more variety of Instance PVP in the future (I am confident this will come).
PVP Flagging - There needs to be more incentive to turn on your PVP flag. 5% XP gain and additional Faction quests just aren't enough. There should be XP, Gathering, and Weapon experience gains... and higher gains, maybe 10% each. Possibly more gold gain too from creature kills. Enough to make even casual PVE players consider flagging for the rewards.
Factions - I am nervous about the territory claim functionality. I am worried we will see a map full of purple, yellow or green. I haven't seen what incentives Amazon has in mind, but they need to strongly incentivize Companies to switch Factions when there is massive imbalance. If they do this right, this will be a fun feature.
Fort Control - Amazon should add features that lets whatever faction controls the Fort also get territory benefits to a lesser degree of the territory owners. Just need more reason for the other 2 factions to battle it out for the right to attack the town owner.
Open World PVP - there needs to be some activities beyond territory and fort control. A suggestion I heard that was awesome was to link PVP to Trade Routes... i.e. when a Faction controls 2 or more territories, their members can access storage of both territories. However make this impact the open world. Create trade caravans that travel between the same faction-owned towns, and these caravans have to be defended by the owning faction (PVP-flagged members), and attacked by the opposing factions (PVP-flagged members). Victory rewards could be higher amounts of crafting and gathering materials along with gold... to get the crafters/gatherers feel benefit in opting into battle.
I have many thoughts, but those are my primary ones LOL
What I am rolling into Launch with:
Combat Build - I am likely rolling with PvE/PvP Tank build - Sword/Board (full Defender tree) and Great Axe (mix of Reaper and Mauler), with a focus on Constitution and Strength. I will also level up the Life Staff, to make it easier for solo content. I will eventually master all the weapon skills, but love the feel of tanking so far.
Trade Skills - I plan to max out all Gathering and Refining skills. I will likely focus on Arcana, Cooking and Armoring for my Crafting skills, at first. I will max out all the Crafting skills eventually (this will take quite some time).
August 31 is both a short and long time away LOL. I really look forward to experiencing more of the game with RoH!