Game number 7 for the 10/10 Project was Wurm Online. Even though the game officially released on December 12, 2012, this is not a new game at all. According to its wiki article, development began back in 2003 and people could start playing it in 2006. Notch, the maker of Minecraft, was also one of the developers of Wurm Online.
I had tried out the game at some point last year, but that hardly counts as I had to quit after maybe 5 minutes or so due to simulation sickness caused by the game being in first person view. In the meantime, I have learned that I can deal with it better if I make sure that there’s enough light in front of the PC, but the biggest help is to put mouse sensitivity as low as possible. In Wurm Online, it’s not just a slider in the options, though. You need to open the console (via the F1 key) and then enter “sensitivity 2”. Well, you can use any number between 0 (nothing happens when you try to move the camera with your mouse, though) and 10. 1 was too slow for me, but 2 worked perfectly. With that done, playing was no issue at all.
Installing the game, on the other hand, was a bit of an issue. It somehow got uninstalled after installing it the first time. I have no idea what I did (and I usually do know that, even if I may come across as clueless sometimes ^^), but the installation folder was empty. Gone. So I reinstalled, but the game couldn’t be launched. Then I deleted the folder and used a different one to install the game again. That finally worked.
Was the game worth all the hassle and the risk of feeling sick again? Yes, yes it was! Wurm Online did not feel like a game, but more like an adventure and I loved every minute of it.
You start the game with a few basic items like a pickaxe and then you’re thrown into a foreign world – okay, not that fast. You start with a tutorial that teaches you the basics. Seeing how this game is a bit more complicated than your average MMO, the tutorial was rather long with lots of text to read. Most of the items in the game are crafted. The buildings are all built by players. You get basics like clay, cotton, water, but the rest is up to you and the rest of the players. You cannot just go somewhere and buy a pottery flask to carry water with you. First, you need to find clay, then you make a clay flask, then you need to find a stove, oven or campfire (which were made by other players or made by you) and turn the clay flask into a pottery flask. On top of that, you need to be careful where you go as there are hostile mobs around. The Wurm Online Wiki will be your best friend, especially in the very beginning.
But let’s get right into my adventure. Here I was, just freshly finished with the tutorial. I decided to join a non-PvP server. Hey, I have trouble understanding the basics of the game, the last thing I need is having to deal with hostile players on top of that! Independence it was, then. It sounded like a nice enough name for a server. Apparently, you can travel to other servers and play on there, but I haven’t tried that out.
Guides for starting out in Wurm Online said that I should try to find an empty space where I could settle. Let me spoiler you already: I did not find anything. ;) Independence was built on by other players as far as I could see. So I tried to just find a corner where I could start crafting or do something. Food and water aren’t needed to survive per se as you won’t die without them, but it’ll still give you serious disadvantages if you’re starving or getting really thirsty. Food wasn’t the problem, since you can always forage or botanize grass. This resulted in several kinds of berries that I could eat. I decided to stay close to the water to drink whenever I got thirsty. Since a pottery flask allows you to store water, I tried to make one. The first step, as mentioned above, is to find clay, which I did, lucky me! ;) Then I needed wood for a campfire or find an oven I could use, but the trees all belonged to other players and I wasn’t allowed to use any of the ovens I saw. If something belongs to you, you can choose whether others can use it or not and it seemed like nobody allowed strangers to use their stuff.
For the most part, there were no mobs around. So I felt safe – until I ran right into some wolves. I kept on running, hoping to get away from them which I eventually did – only to run right into an old angry troll. The result was a few wounds, nothing big. I tried to figure out how to heal myself, though. While doing that, I also remembered that the tutorial said something about water and that most animals/enemies won’t follow you into the water. I guess I should have tried that instead of running from the wolves right into the troll. After asking for advice on Google+, I was told that I should try to treat the wounds as they would get worse over time if they’re bad enough. I had been told about that in the tutorial as well, but of course, I had forgotten about that. After checking, I could confirm that one of my wounds was a lot worse than it was in the beginning and had turned into a severe one. At that point, I only tried to find a cure as I knew it wouldn’t heal and it kept taking away life from me. Again, the Wiki is your best friend in a situation like this and it told me what I needed for some healing covers. I finally found some items I needed by foraging grass. Unfortunately, the first try failed. I managed to use healing covers on one wound when I tried again, but as I wrote, the second one had gotten severe already. The others were at medium, one light wound had healed. I decided that staying in the open hostile world was too dangerous and I had read somewhere that there are usually resources near the starting area where you spawn after the tutorial. I figured this would be the safest place for now. Besides, healing covers are nice, but the ones I had weren’t strong enough to heal the wound and it meant that without treatment, I would die soon.
Finding your way around in Wurm Online isn’t too easy either. There are no maps in this game! I had a compass which didn’t help me much as I hadn’t been paying attention to it earlier. I looked for online maps and found one. The maps you find online are all maintained by players, by the way. I knew the general direction I had to walk to then to get back to the starter area, so off I went. I did not run into the first pack of wolves anymore, but instead, I found another one. Hurrah. With less life thanks to the wounds, I did not want to risk running into them. I remembered that water was probably safe and decided to swim around them. You can swim, but only for a limited amount of time. The longer you swim, the lower your stamina (which equals your “life”) gets. If your stamina is at 0 and you’re still in the water, you will drown. Unfortunately, the more wounds you have, the lower your stamina. I misjudged the amount of stamina it would take to swim by and the result was that I chose death by drowning over death by wolves – and over death by my severe wound. It was a slow, rather embarrassing end. Luckily, I was revived at the starting area. Unfortunately, I had lost quite a few of my starting items (including the compass) that are or were still in my body. I tried to find the location of my body on the online map, but the place that I had memorized was not mentioned there. I only know vaguely where I died. Oh well, c’est la vie. ;) That’s when I decided to ignore it and start fresh.
My second attempt had me going the other way trying to find some resources and I avoided all wolves and trolls this time. There was a starter village or whatever it is, which is player-made as well, I assume, but at least, there was a public mine and there was even an oven that you’re allowed to use. A lot more welcoming! Sadly, I did not have the clay with me anymore and I couldn’t find any. Ironic, isn’t it? And there was still the issue of not being able to find an empty space to call my own and settle. That’s when I decided to end my trip to Wurm Online.
All in all, I haven’t been able to build anything in the game apart from a clay flask and healing covers. I did manage to raise a few of my skills like botanizing and foraging, but nothing else. And yet, I’ve had a lot of fun! I don’t know what the game is like when you’re playing for a longer time, but the hours that I did spend in the game were great and I enjoyed it. I always felt terribly lost, the Wurm Online Wiki was open all the time and used heavily. Still, it was a welcome change to the usual MMOs and I actually like digging into something like that. Not being able to just buy everything at vendors but having to rely on the player economy and crafting is something that I really love and I always hope that the “more mainstream” MMOs adopt this feature as well.