The most basic description of a Life Staff is that it is a weapon-type in New World, which focuses on healing and protection. In other words, it's the main focus for those that seek a supporting playstyle.
Starting off with the most obvious it's the targeting mechanic. The lock-on mechanic is essentially required due to the nature of the single target heals being incredibly small and delayed, making hitting moving targets impossible without it. The issue with the system is the fact that it feels very unnatural to use, as it doesn't feel instinctive and more often than not, clunky. Some of the settings can help you find a solution to use something bearable but nevertheless clunky is the best way to describe it.
The current settings either have some serious overlap, major clunkiness, and unresponsiveness or don't have any real use at all. There are also too many mechanics within the settings that could be their own settings, such as "Sticky Lock" and "Manual Target Lock" causing your abilities to auto-cast on the target, that should be its own separate setting, to better optimize the game and options given to players.
The abilities themselves are mostly fine-tuned, with some minor issues here and there, except for the Splash of Light. This ability was incredibly powerful in Wars during the closed beta because it healed all allies, regardless of if they were a group member or not. This meant it was perfect for spamming off cooldown in wars to give everyone a fighting chance, this however is no longer the case and it only heals targets within your group. Sadly, this means it has no place within any build anymore, it's outclassed in healing, cooldowns, and everything else, by all other abilities.
However, the biggest issue with the Life Staff is the contrast between its two skill tress or lack thereof. The Healing tree just provides overall less healing than the Protector tree because of how two abilities within the Healing tree fall flat when it comes to their uses. Divine Embrace is outclassed by Lights Embrace and Splash of Light is outclassed by Beacon.
Hopefully, the Protector tree will not be nerfed to the level of the Healer tree, rather the Healer tree should be buffed to the level of the Protector tree, as, to be the best possible healer in the game, you need to mix and match between the trees, and not just spec into the Healer tree, as it intuitively makes sense in the first place.
Even with all these issues, however, the Life Staff focus is still very fun to play, and anyone looking to play support in the game has our recommendation. Or, if you are wondering if supporting is viable in New World, then this is our confirmation that it most definitely is!