Space Wurm Villains
This first weekend of 2011 my gaming consisted of 4 different games: City of Heroes, Star Trek Online, Wurm Online and Minecraft. All pictures in this post are from Wurm Online.
City of Heroes
One of my short term goals in the game here was to bring my level 50 scrapper to the villain side and into my villain supergroup, Shadows of Ankh-Morpork. This was accomplished during the weekend and thus I now have all of my 11 level 50 characters on the villain side – 2 of them are heroes gone bad.
To switch side one has to do alignment missions, 10 hero -> vigilante and 10 vigilante -> villain missions, plus also two missions to switch faction from hero to vigilante first and then from vigilante to villain.
I started this path a long time ago, but have not been in a rush to complete it. In the weekend I did the last remaining alignment missions. With Issue 19 there were a number of new alignment missions introduced, specifically focused on those character that are changing alignment. Thus doing villain alignment missions as a vigilante will provide you different missions than if you do villain alignment missions as a villain (i.e. stay in alignment).
For this the new missions are brilliant – the storyline of each mission really works on capturing the view of the player character as an individual who in their own mind is a hero making the tough decisions, but in the end turn out to be just as brutal as any proper villain – and the character still thinks they do the right thing. I very much enjoyed playing through those missions.
Star Trek Online
In STO another small goal was reached as well – my current character just passed my old character on the leveling path. He is now Commander 3 as well, but a bit closer to Commander 4 than my old character. I have also reached the point where all of the missions I pick up are mission that are completely new to me – never done them before.
I tried to complete episode 4 of Series 1: The Breen also, but it turns out there is a bug in one mission that does not update the objectives properly, so I am currently stuck on that one until they fix it.
I have had on my to do list for quite a while now to try out Minecraft, but never gotten around to it. A truly brilliant game. One can notice that the developer of Minecraft was one of the founders of Wurm Online; the sandbox philosophy is similar, but Minecrafte is simpler and quicker to get into.
Wurm Online was the game I spent most time with during this weekend. The game is very much a sandbox MMO in its purest sense, in a fantasy setting. No classes, no xp, just a number of skills to progress in and basically everything player-created from the world itself.
I have generally been a bit cautious of some sandbox:ish MMO offerings, partly because they have had a somewhat heavy emphasis on PvP. I consider PvP an optional activity in a virtual world and I prefer where the mindset is more towards building/creating something than bash each others head and loot their corpses.
For Wurm you have both options – the game provides both PvP and non-PvP servers and one can choose whichever server suites best. Even that decision is not final as I understand it – it is possible to change servers through portals in the game.
As a new player one starts with a few tutorials that shows the basics of moving around and interacting with the environment, understanding different types of environmenttal features and how to craft/build/make stuff. They are pretty good and a bit funny to read (nice humor ) , but does not cover everything one may need to know – the rest one has to figure out or ask other players or check the wiki – which is available from within the game also. The wiki material is quite good and cover a lot of useful information.
One will not keep any of the items that are created during the tutorials, but will get a set of starter items to use when entering the “real” world.
The first 24 hours of game time also allows one to get free food and drink refreshments from a specific NPC. This should definitely be used I think. Getting something to drink is not difficult (fresh water in a lot of places), but initial cooking attempts do not seem to provide that much relief for any hunger or much nutrition, so some time will be needed to improve in that area.
I choose the Freedom server (non-PvP) for my exploration and exploration was also what a lot of my time went into. Wurm Online started as a hobby project a number of years ago and has been around for a while now. So there are a number of players that are old-timers. Walking around in the world and seeing all the villages, towns and things that have been built is quite interesting.
But it is also perhaps a bit fo a challenge for a new player – finding a good spot to call your own is not so easy it seems to me and it may be easier to join an existing village or town that accepts new citizens.
There are things that go bump in the night (and in the day time), so one cannot assume to be safe – in particular if one heads off the beaten track. So far I have not encountered much hostile creatures, only a lava fiend that almost killed me when I took a peek into a cave.
If one dies I think one will lose most of the stuff one carries. It will still be at the corpse though, so one can do a corpse run to get some items back. However, I am not sure where the character respawns. If it is at the same place as where one first enters the world that could very well be multiple hours of travel, but I really do not know.
As I have said before, Wurm is really a sandbox MMO in its purest form and its complexity in what you can do and build rivals games like A Tale In The Desert. Everything you do is either an interaction on anything in the world where you can choose from a number of different actions depending on the item and the state of the item. These actions can also use an other item as the active item to itneract with the first item, which gives a number of interesting options to combine things. That is perhaps a quite abstract description, but is pretty much what it boils down to.
For example, of I want to make a casserole to get something to eat, what do I need? I need the ingredients, something to put the ingredients into and somewhere to cook the dish.
- For a casserole I will need some berries or nuts and some herbs for spice. These I can get from grass land by foraging/botanizing
- I need somewhere to put it also. One of the starter items is a pottery bowl, which can be used. However, such a bowl can also be made – dig up some clay (using a shovel for example, which you also can make if you do not have one), form a clay bowl and then put some heat to it to harden it to a pottery bowl
- To cook the food one need some kind of heat source – a stove, campfire etc. A campfire can be created using flint&steel and some kindling or similar fuel source. To get a kindling one can create those from wood scraps, logs and other pieces of tree. To get a log one needs to cut down a tree and chop it up etc.
- To keep the fire burning (in a campfire) one needs to feed it with more fuel – kindlings, logs, woods scraps etc.
- To cook the food the bowl needs to be put into the fire and heated for a while to make the casserole.
- It should be eaten while hot to get the most nutrition from the meal.
The simplicity in each interaction while at the same time allowing to do many complex tasks is one of the key points of this game for me.
The graphics of the game will hardly compare with any of the big budget titles – it is quite simple and the character models are also very simple – for player characters there seem to be only two (male and female) and NPC characters have some slight differences depending on their role, but that is it. That does not stop one from finding some quite neat views – the viewing distance is quite far compared to some other MMOs.
It is possible to get lost in the game. There is no in-game map support and the terrain can be difficult to manage if one heads off the paved roads (lots and lots of steep hills and mountains). There are some community created maps (one here and another here), but they are incomplete and the world is also changing all the time – during my travel on Sunday I passed one village/settlement which was disbanded at that time and another which was created.
My travel from the western sand/desert area east of Mouse Hole to Freedom Market (via the Insanity Hills boat bridge across the water to Black Dog Isle) took about 2 hours.
The game is not easy, it can be time consuming and a bit unforgiving – but I still really like it so far, because of its sandbox purity. I will certainly spend more time there and I am very much a newbie still with lots to learn.