Archive for January 9, 2011

Shed of Wurm

January 9, 2011 Comments off

During the past week most of my game time went into Wurm Online. As I started the previous weekend with some exploring of Wurm, this was also what I continued to do initially.

Travelling in Wurm is a slow affair; you run/walk on the roads, unless you have a mount and are skilled enough to use it. On water you can swim short distances, or go by boat. Since everything is player-made, you either have a boat of your own, or you get a ride with someone who has a boat.

One also needs to keep up with food and drinks – if your water level drops low your stamina regeneration will decrease significantly; this also happens to some extent if you are hungry. Running all the time consumes a fair amount of stamina, but it also regenerates fast if you are not thirsty. And you can get thirsty somewhat quick by all the running, so I learned to try to plan my routes and exploration so that it was not too far between places of fresh water.

The danger of water

At one time I was very thirsty when I arrived to a harbour area. Trying to get the water I initially could not reach it, because the ledge was somewhat steep. Moving a bit further I fell into the water and this was when the trouble started. Since my stamina was low and did not regen fast I was not able to climb up from the water – not enough stamina. And swimming is a quite stamina intensive exercise, so I could not swim fast and I could not get stamina to climb up and I saw my health bar drop in big chunks as I was starting to drown.

If you die in Wurm you will respawn at a respawn point available to you, which in my case would be the default spawn point – not a short travel from where I was. A number of the items will still be at the corpse and one would have to do a corpse run to get all of it back. I was not sure if I would be able to get to the corpse in the water if I drowned, so I was not keen on dying…

As I splashed in the water and saw my health drop, I realized there were some boats nearby. To embark a boat you do not need to climb, you just use the embark command – provided that you are allowed to do that for the boat in question. The first boat I tried did not allow me to embark. I swam (painfully slow) towards another boat and to my relief it did allow to embark! With just a sliver of health left I was on the boat. I waited there to recover some health and stamina and them moved on – after I got that drink I was looking for in the first place.

A slightly large scorpion, not something to fight as a newbie

Dangerous wildlife

Dangers come not just from falling in the water though – while one does not necessarily see much of the wildlife while travelling on the road, it is certainly there. And for a new player with no fighting experience there is a lot of things out there that can kill you. I have walked a bit off the road and at one time noticed a huge spider (and a starving one) in front of me – the spider saw me as well and started to bite to get some chunks of newbie flesh, although I managed to run away from it. Apparently there was also a bear who also wanted a bite of me right after, but I did not notice it until I saw the chat logs that one of the NPC guards in a nearby guard tower had taken care of it.

I have encountered a number of corpses of spiders, giant scorpions, bears, wolves etc – all of them most likely killed by someone more skilled in fighting. Some roads to not have that much traffic though – one road which had a lake on one side and a steep mountain on the other side had a bear who had decided to park there. I managed to swim past him the first time. The second time I came through that route there was another bear on that road also and a mountain lion. The bears were somewhat close to each other, and one of them spotted me as a I swam, so I took a longer route swimming – one which lead to another drowning/near death experience. This time I managed to survive by dropping a couple of non-essential items from the inventory, which allowed me to swim a little bit faster and reach the shore before my health evaporated.

It would certainly be painful if I had died. But these were also experiences that I certainly will remember and that I learned something from – because I managed to survive it was kind of a rush instead.

In the back of my head when I was exploring was also to find some spot to settle down. However, whenever one found a somewhat scenic spot with att the good stuff (forest, mountains, lake) it was bound to already have been settled and many times quite a bit of effort had been put into these settlements. So this was not something I would want to disturb, even if it had been possible (in some cases it is).

Eventually I decided to settle down in a spot which is not scenic, but rather a bit cosy. A place a bit off the roads, but still not too far from some settled areas and a manageable distance from a lake.

The skeleton of my first shed.

House building

Here I decided to practive some of my building skills. First I built a small cart so I could transport some extra material around without slowing me down to a complete stop. Then I made some barrels and travelled to the lake to fill them up with water, so I could have some to drink if needed. Then I started to build my first house.

In order to build a house one first needs to have a flat piece of land. Most land in Wurm is not flat, but with some digging skills it is possible to flatten pieces of land (tiles) so that they can be built on. I misunderstood the digging & flattening description in the Wurmpedia wiki initially and it was perhaps more luck than anything that I managed to get one flat tile to build my first house on. Later on the light turned on in my head and I realized how it worked. It was actaully a bit fun to do the flattening of a larger

When you build a house you first need to plan the building, which is to mark which (flat) areas of land that will be part of the building. When this is finalized a skeleton of a building structure appears and you can start adding the planks and nails needed to complete the house. For the smallest possible building 80 planks and 4 packs of large nails are needed – 20 planks and one pack of nails per wall piece (one tile). Add another set of planks and nails if you also want a wooden floor.

Creating some of the planks (cutting down trees, chopping up trees into logs and then making planks from the logs) raised my carpentry enough so that I could create the building in the firts place – the minimum carpentry skill needed is <# of floor tiles> + <# of wall tiles>. For a minimal building, that is 1 + 4 = 5 in carpentry.

There...first house completed!

With my low skills I did initially now have a high success rate in creating those planks and it took some hours to complete the building. But I did feel that I reached a milesone – my first own house! …or rather a shed, as the game referred to it. When you have a house one can also control access to it, although one also needs to put a lock on the door to make sure that access is somewhat restricted.

Being a bit concerned about the warnings about the wildlife in the area (spiders, scorpions, bears, trolls etc) I decided to see if I could improve my fighting skill a bit. In the low skill levels it is possible to increase fighting skill a bit (to skill level 20) by fighting with a practice doll. To make a practice doll one needs some planks and shafts. These can easily be made from the trees. But a pumpkin is also needed for the head.

Since I had picked up some pumpkin seeds while foraging and botanizing (to make food), I decided to start try out farming. I set up a small piece of land to sow on and used the pumpkin seeds. It will take a few real life days for it to grow enough to be harvested and in the meantime it will also need some love and care every now and then, to remove weeds and keep it in shape. I think this is needed about once per day from what I can tell so far, which should be doable I hope.

Next building started, some pumpkin growing in a field...what will come next?

I have also started to extend my area with more buildings, a bit larger since my carpentry skill has gone up a bit. Further down the line there may be a bit more elaborate plans, but I am taking it a few steps at a time and I am happy to log in a bit every now and then to build and improve my place.  I am certainly not aiming to become some über skilled character which can do and deal with anything and build some big mansion. As long as I learn new things about how Wurm works and I can step-by-step build my parts here, I am good.

Categories: Wurm Online

That sandbox vs themepark thing

January 9, 2011 4 comments

Quite regularly the debate about the merits of themeparks vs sandbox MMOs come up. Themeparks are accused of being too linear, too restrictive and sandboxes that they may be too boring, take too much time etc. And all of that is true.

But both themeparks and sandbox MMOs can be quite exciting as well; just not necessarily all the time. I see themepark MMOs similar to go to a movie or theatre – you see a (hopefully) well executed event, with perhaps a good story, good acting, some nice effects etc. A sandbox MMO is more like a hobby or sports activity that you do yourself – play golf, bonsai tree gardening, build model airplanes, fencing, boxing, collect stamps etc. If you are into it the experience is longer lasting and can be quite rewarding and you typically define your own goals. For an outsider it may fun, or it may look as if it is the most weird and boring thing to do ever.

I want both types of experiences and they can all be great – themeparks and sandboxes. People may complain of themeparks because they have done the equivalent of watching Police Academy and then watched all the sequels, but that does not make movies bad in general or all the same. And just because one cannot get into bonsai tree gardening does not mean that all hobbies suck and that sandbox MMOs are bad.

Categories: MMO Games