At 2 o’clock this morning I stood up from my desk and shouted obscenities at a dead critter. It was an outpouring of rage and anguish that had been building up for hours. It was not the corpse’s fault, but rather New World’s, for making me waste so much time hunting it only for a random passer-by to skin it, forcing me to continue this miserable quest. So I yelled until I was out of breath, and then ate three scoops of ice cream, which I immediately regretted. Late night desserts don’t sit well. I’m blaming New World for that, too.
New World is teeming with wildlife, and a significant number of early quests, most of them generic and repeatable, task you with culling their numbers. This is frequently wolves, but pumas, deer, boars and even sheep must be put out of their misery. Killing regular animals is definitely one of the weaker common RPG quests, and even for an MMO with survival game vibes like New World, where these animals provide you with lots of helpful resources, the vast number of these humdrum tasks is egregious.
Some games with prominent hunting support this with additional systems, like tracking in Red Dead Redemption 2. In New World, you have to earn that kind of utility. You can eventually see animals on your compass, but not until you’ve levelled the skinning skill up to 25, and then only small ones. You won’t be able to track the big predators until 175. Otherwise these hunts are just like any other quests: you go to the area, you bump into the mob, you kill it. If it’s a hostile creature, it will attack you, making things easier, but skittish beasties like deer will flee, forcing you to give chase and kill it from range. The risk here is that the time it takes for you to run up to the corpse might be just enough for another player to start skinning your kill.
While there are plenty of quests just designed to make you defeat creatures, hunting quests often demand skins as well, so it’s not good enough to just kill your prey. And even if it was, competition for spawns is so great that you might not even be awarded the kill, because you only had enough time to get one stab in before it went down. It’s not clear how much damage you have to inflict before an enemy dies for the game to acknowledge your contribution, and sometimes one attack seems to be enough, but I’ve been in plenty of brisk fights where I’ve managed to get in a few slices to no avail.