I recently discovered a game called Wurm Online and I felt the need to write about it because I wouldn't be surprised if, like me, many of you have not even heard about this game and I feel it is criminally underappreciated.
A bit of backstory: the game was created by two friends who started development in 2003 and, by 2007, one of the developers, Markus Persson, left the company to work on his own project: a little game called Minecraft.
Since then the game has expanded its team and is still receiving regular updates, with the game set to launch on Steam later this year.
Wurm Online is a sandbox game. There are something like 120 skills (masonry, meditation, religion, yo-yo making, puppeteering, climbing, thieving..) all of which you are free to level up as you choose with no class system. The game reminds me of dwarf fortress with all the depth and lore but with a much more playable interface with actual graphics and whatnot.
I feel like I need to mention this point as a disclaimer as it may turn many of you away: the graphics. Now, me personally, I didn't mind the graphics to begin with and, since then, it's grown on me to the point where I think the game is quite beautiful actually. But for some of you this might be enough to put you off entirely. My only argument for this is that compared to AAA titles this game offers much more mechanically in the way of terraforming and other sandbox features which, of course, is going to give you limitations compared to the scripted gameplay you see in modern titles where you are just following a set path and going off that route and clipping out of the map there will be no textures behind what you're meant to see. Wurm Online is the exact opposite of this, everything in the world has its place in it and the world feels truly complete.
The game is split up into two worlds called 'clusters' and on each cluster there are multiple islands called 'servers'. These aren't servers in their usual sense of being instances of the same map. Rather, these are unique, different islands which you are free to sail/teleport between.
The game is complex. I will say that anyone that's looking to invest their time into learning a truly rewarding RPG, this is absolutely the game for you. And, whilst complex, the game actually is very intuitive which makes it easy to remember what you're learning. Compared to some other games where they attempt to cut corners to make things more accessible, it actually loses some of its intuity and makes things more confusing. This game is almost true to life which can be beneficial when drawing from your own knowledge.
Perhaps there is one mechanic which is slightly difficult to get your head around and hopefully if I can explain it now it will help if you decide to try Wurm. But before I go into more detail I'll just mention that I've only been playing for a week and already this mechanic now makes sense to me and so I believe if you stick at it it will eventually become intuitive to you too. So I'm talking about digging. The game is split up into 'tiles' (think blocks) and within each tile is 4 imaginary quarters and, when you dig, you will lower the corner of the tile you're stood in by one. In between each tile is a tile border which will tell you the slope between each corner and if all the borders are flat then the tile is flat. The easiest way to learn this is just by jumping in and starting.
I won't talk too much about the core game because I believe there are plenty of resources out there for you to get the idea and, at its foundation, the game is a sandbox rpg so you sort of know what you can expect. I will talk about some of my favourite features and what sets it apart from other games in its genre.
The community: the playerbase is far and away the kindest and most helpful I have ever experienced in any game. Players who have 10+ years in this game will answer any question, day or night, in the community assistance chat in-game. It speaks volumes about the game itself: if your core playerbase is happy, then the game must be good. The game is focused around the community, with the maps originally starting completely untouched with no manmade structures, no NPCs. And since then players have built sprawling roads and infrastructure to help new players and their own settlements. (I will quickly add that whilst there are no NPCs in-game by default, players have the ability to build market stalls where NPCs will sell their goods, or guard towers where guards will defend you if you type "help" in chat. So there are NPCs just not to begin with)
Magic: now this is one of my favourite aspects of the game . There is magic in Wurm Online but not everybody has access to it. You don't make a 'mage' class and have spells from level 1. You have to become a follower of a god by being converted by another player who is a priest of that religion and from there you must raise your religion skills to the point where you can become a priest, then you must make a pilgrimage to one of the islands 'chaos', which is PvP, and seek out the altar of your god. After you are a priest you must live a holy life so as not to anger your God and lost your priest-hood. This involves making certain sacrifices depending on your religion: some priests can't chop down trees, or use swords etc but you then gain access to powerful spells , some of which are combat spells but others offer useful QoL to your village such as repairing structures , blessing mailboxes to allow you to send mail from them (before which you can only receive mail). So your town might only have one priest who expects other players to do certain activities for him like butchering animals but in return he will help you out. This makes magic feel MAGICAL! something so many games fail to do. The fact that having magic is a sacrifice means it can be powerful too, as it should be. It doesn't make much sense in other games for magic to be on par with a sword but in Wurm Online it's balanced by making it so hard to come by.
Followers of gods will also receive buffs depending on how their god is competing on this other planet called Valerie which you can spot in the sky on a clear night. There is a separate war going on which you can keep up to date with on Twitter or on the in-game map where gods are competing for resources and whoever is winning, their followers will receive buffs.
It's just little things like this that make the game feel like a world and it's so unique to other games I'm sure I'm missing out so many important points here but this game is just COOL I'm so excited to play it and if you're looking for a challenging, but rewarding game then PLEEEASE give this one a try. It's best to go in blind but use the in-game chat and the wiki as much as you need to get help playing. Feel free to '/addfriend Dwight' in-game and you can either join my new settlement or I'll just chat with you
The game is being released on Steam mid 2020 where you will have a chance to play on fresh servers until they are eventually merged with the main game so you won't be so far behind.
I'll quickly mention Wurm Unlimited which is a spin off available on Steam currently . Offering private servers that you can join or host yourself. Unlimited has stopped receiving regular updates though and the Devs have turned their attention to Online.
When unlimited offers one time payment whereas online is a subscription model with the option to pay your subscription with in-game currency once you get established, up to you. But is also free-to-play up to all skills level 20 which will keep you busy for quite a while.
I'll link you to one of Katspurr's videos as she explains the basis of the game well, but bare in mind the video is 4 years old and a lot of things have been updated since then (the Devs constantly take suggestions from the forums) even the graphics are quite a bit better since this video was released but it will help you get an idea: https://youtu.be/MvBDYdVQoPw
I hope to see you in-game soon!
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