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At A Glance - A Look at Wurm Online

MMORPG.com Correspondent Mike Balent writes this At A Glance look at the java-based game Wurm Online that apprently holds more than some readers might expect.

Recently, I decided to try out Wurm Online. I went to the site, made a free account and began my adventure. Wurm Online has both premium ($16USD every two months) and free servers. The game is Java based and is being developed by an Indy developer. The game is skill based, and is a refreshing change from the countless clones that flood today’s market.

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The Beginning:

As I log on, I can see the corpses of some recently deceased players. It was a very dark night, and it was raining. I slowly walked over to the NPC guide, and he explained to me how harvesting and crafting worked.

Crafting and Harvesting:

Harvesting:

The harvesting system in this game is different than usual. Firstly, a player can train whichever harvesting skill they want, they are not restricted in anyway. They do not have to choose what profession they want to be – they can harvest everything available.

Now, since I am playing on a free server, all of my skills can only reach level 20 until I make a premium account. There are plenty of different skills, and I can learn them all. There are harvesting skills like mining, woodcutting, the list just goes on.

To harvest, it requires a player to travel around the land. You have to search for items you want for crafting, such as a certain type or ore, or maybe some logs to build a house (more on houses later). It can take a good amount of time finding the item you are looking for, and it can become a hassle, but it is worth it for some of the great items you can craft.

My view on harvesting

I found the harvesting to be interesting. It can take a while to find the materials, so you have to be patient. It is also a good idea to just take whatever materials you come by; you will most likely need them in the future. The more materials you have the better.

Crafting:

Crafting is a key part of Wurm Online. While I am still a newb, the community helped me out and explained to me that everything in Wurm can, and is, crafted. You craft anvils, stoves; EVERYTHING in the game can be crafted. There are no restrictions to what you can do.

Crafting isn’t just using harvested materials, though. You have to complete every step, do each little detail, so you can actually make the item. It’s no easy task, and can take a lot of resources to complete. The whole game is based around crafting.

My view on crafting

I found the crafting to be a great system, and you jump right into it when you are low level. The NPC guides actually don’t even teach you combat; they just go over crafting and harvesting. They tell you how to make nails, planks, etc.

Not only that, but the crafting can take time and patience. I was recently making smelting iron ore to make nails, but I had to stay by the fire and make sure it didn’t burn out. I had to feed it every 15 minutes. It is great features like that which makes Wurm Online’s crafting so interesting and unique.

Now, this doesn’t mean there aren’t any problems with the crafting. The crafting is very repetitive and unfortunately involves a good amount of point and click. I believe the good outweighs the bad, though, especially with the amount of freedom that is offered when crafting.

Housing:

In Wurm Online, housing is a very popular feature. Houses can be made anywhere, and can be made from wood or bricks. Fencing and stone walls are also important, and can keep players out of the house.

Wurm Online feels a lot like a colony. The land could be described as a village in the 1500s. Firstly, everywhere in Wurm can be a place to create a house. This ability is taken advantage of, and there are houses everywhere. Big ones, small ones, little ones, large ones, they’re all over the place! Just begin digging, flattening, etc. and you can begin building your house, it doesn’t matter where you are. There are no areas where you can’t create a house. Now, this doesn’t mean the level of certain skills isn’t important. If you do not have a high carpentry level, you will be restricted to crafting certain things. Your digging skill will also have an effect on where you can dig, flatten, etc. a plot for your house (For example, if a place is too steep, this will have an effect on where you can dig and flatten). Also, in certain areas, you need permission to build a house or dig.

The houses can be used for storing different items, or putting a merchant in them and selling items. Due to the fact that banks can only hold up to five spaces (in the free to play server), storing items in houses can be very helpful. Players have to craft the nails, the planks, and all the other items that go with making a house. This can involve a lot of materials, and it takes patience to find all of the items.

My view on housing

The freedom in Wurm really shines through the housing. Players aren’t restricted to doing things, the world is their oyster. Players’ key motivation for building houses is so they have a place to store things, since the bank spaces do not hold many items. Players need nails, planks, etc. to build their houses. The housing in Wurm is the best I have seen, since players can build where they want and every item involved in building houses can be crafted.

Building a house can take awhile. It involves patience and a large amount of materials to create a house, so be ready.

Game Mechanics:

As I have said before, Wurm Online is a very unique game. Because the game is so different, I will explain some of the game mechanics.

  • First Person: Wurm Online is a game that is first person; there is no option of having a third person view... Players can see up to 16KM, even on lower end computers.
  • Food & Water: In Wurm, players have a dependency for food and water, just like in real life. For the first 24 hours of gameplay you get free food, but after that you’re on your own.
  • Community Driven & player controlled: Wurm Online is completely driven by its community. They run the economy, they create items, and the community controls the land itself. The players can do whatever they want; the whole world is in their hands. They could build a house, dig a mine, or maybe even cut down a forest. The choice is theirs.
  • Crafting: The crafting is Wurm is very important, and is a key mechanic in Wurm. Almost every single item is crafted by a player. For example, one day it was foggy and players were discussing the possibility of building a lighthouse. That just shows how crafting is a key mechanic; whenever they see a problem they discuss building something that can fix it. A player inventing their own crafted item is very common in Wurm.
  • Evolving World: The world changes every day (by both nature and players). Since the world is ran by the players, the world changes constantly. One day there might flat ground and the next day there’s a house! You never know. Nature can also change the world by natural disasters occurring.
  • No instances: Wurm Online is free of instances. There are no restrictions, you can go anywhere in the world without being stopped.
  • PVP: There is only PvP on the wild servers, which you have to pay for. On the wild server there is open PvP, where town raids happen at least once a week.

One Last Tip:

Before this article finishes up, I would like to throw in one last recommendation. For players who are serious about playing Wurm Online, I highly recommend you take the time to join a village. A village is a group of players that join together; some gather food, others work on houses; they do all the things that you would expect a settlement in the 1600s to do. Everyone has to do certain things to keep the village running.

A village is a great way to meet people, especially if you are new to the game. With the help of your village, you can get land for a house; maybe some players will lend you the materials. Villages really are a great way for players to experience how Wurm Online is community driven.

If you are interested in joining a village, go to this link that shows villages that are recruiting.

In the end, Wurm Online is a truly unique game. It is not a very popular game, having only a few thousand active players. But this is not really a problem, since there is always someone to talk to. Surprisingly, for a Java based game, the community is mature and helpful. I probably had around 50 questions, all of them being answered by the kind community. The community in Wurm isn’t perfect, but in game they were very nice (at least from my experience).

I hear a lot from the community that players are looking for open housing, or a game with in-depth crafting, or maybe a community driven game. Wurm Online is every single one of those, but it is overlooked because of its graphics and being browser based. As the user Nerf09 said, “I have standards, and those standards aren't too high.” This statement is implying that, even though Wurm Online is exactly what he is looking for (and more); he would not play it because it was Java based. If people just look past the graphics, they will be very pleased with the game. After all, Wurm Online is a crafter’s paradise. I would also like to thank Paulscott for the help while writing this piece; couldn’t have done it without him!

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