The user interface is very simple:
1. You move around with the W-A-S-D keys.
2. If you right-click on things a menu will pop up with various actions you can perform.
3. If you press F3 you will see your inventory.
4. If you double-click on an item in your inventory you select that item (a). Then when you right-click on something else (b) you attempt to use a on b.
Those are the basics you need to start playing. The rest will come over time.
For Wurm Online (henceforth called Wurm) to be something special and not just another 3D fantasy massively multiplayer game, we realized that we had to actually implement the features that players have demanded since the dawn of these types of games. Other 3D games have promised these features and still have them on their 'upcoming features' list unless they dropped them when they realized they'd never make it. Why? Because Wurm is built on technology that can make it happen and other games are not.
The first technological advantage of Wurm: it is done in Java. This means that we can reach gamers on operating systems that usually have few if any of these types of games to play. We also consider Wurm to be the first 3D java game that actually looks better graphically than most PC games while still being playable.
The second advantage: Wurm is tile-based. This means first and foremost three things:
Now, none of these possibilities are easy to implement but we have succeeded. This is the glory of Wurm and the foundation that the game rests upon.
An example of the technological advantage:
Because we have such manageable data structures, we may have millions of individual trees on one map.
For example, streaming the terrain gives us the opportunity compared to other games:
Other effects are for instance:
A Wurm server is one of two types: A home or a wild server. A home server belongs to one kingdom, and nobody from another kingdom may found settlements or build guard towers on that server. Wild servers have no initial kingdom. When players found villages or build guard towers on wild servers they increase the boundaries of their kingdom.
One of the things we mention most when we talk about Wurm is the community-building possibilities. Since almost everything is player made people (normally) have to cooperate in order to achieve the highest possible quality level on the things for they strive. The base of this community is a village, which is an area that players purchase and that has game-controlled guards that protect structures, creatures and items within. Villages form kingdoms, and kingdoms fight each other out on wild servers. Combined with the religion system this makes for a large scale epic scenario with real heroes and myths.
We believe that Wurm requires full PvP. The regulations around pvp and lawlessness are very intricate in Wurm. There are reputation systems and also religion that keeps bearing of your actions. The possibility to react to grief is crucial in order to maintain balance. Conflicts over resources are also driving the action forward, so settlements can declare war upon each other. There are restrictions on when you may attack without penalties, and in general it is very costly to attack someone whom the game does not consider an enemy. But it is and must be possible in Wurm.
When you fight an enemy from another kingdom you will receive, or lose, battle points. These are calculated by an Elo ranking system (similar to the one used in chess but multiplayer) to keep track of who is the most renowned warrior in the world.
Another feature of Wurm is that it is possible to steal from other players. If items are locked up inside a house with a good lock, and the house is protected by guards it is virtually impossible to steal. It is also much harder on home servers. However, an unprotected chest in the wilderness may be breached by a skilled thief who does not care about his reputation.
When you start the game you have very few skills. As soon as you start creating items or foraging for food you will receive new skills. These increase over time as you use them. All tasks in Wurm has a difficulty. When you succeed with a task you gain skill, unless the task is too easy and you succeed by far too much. When you perform a task, more than one skill may be involved so you may gain knowledge in all those skills. Wurm contains more than one hundred different skills to excel in.
Wurm has very advanced item management. Almost all items are player made from raw materials gathered or extracted from the surrounding nature or creatures. Every item has weight, damage, quality level, size, temperature, possible enchantments, a custom description, and other types of data that can make every item very unique and almost seem alive.
You can use items to build structures like houses, watch towers and roads. If you want to protect your house you can found a settlement, which covers the area and spawns guards that will hunt enemies and protect you from the surrounding wildlife.
There are many different natural resources spread out on a server. These resources are regional and make for local conflicts. Some resources, mainly various metals, clay, tar, and peat, but also different wood types or even a particularly flat area can be considered valuable and worth fighting or bargaining over. Metals and gems on the wild servers have higher maximum quality level and associated value than on the home servers.
Purchasing and maintaining a 'settlement deed' costs money. You can earn in-game money and use it to purchase such a deed, but the quick way is to buy some silver coins in the online web shop. These will end up in your in-game bank account that is reachable from a settlement token. Almost all money in Wurm is purchased from the online web shop so as soon as you sell something to the traders you earn money that another player has purchased in the online web shop. This is why we call it a real-world economy. The real value connection on in-game money encourages trade and hopefully gives a sense of meaningfulness that other games can lack.
Wurm is supposed to last. We are expecting it to last for at least 10 years. This means that there can be no hard caps on levels. Progress and improvements must always be possible. Therefore all skills and quality levels become logarithmically harder to improve and never naturally reaches 100, which is the maximum. Everything also slowly decays, but more linearly, so unless you repair things or practice your skills these numbers will slowly go down.
The effect of the logarithmic increase and the more linear decay is that new players have an easier task of reaching competitive levels, while hardcore players can still keep a small edge. If it takes 1 year to get to skill 90 in something, someone who has played 5 years can have skill 93. The difference is not that big but it still makes for a higher price on a merchandise.
Wurm is huge. A fairly well known competitor boasts that they have the largest gaming world available. Wurm will be about twice as large once all servers are in place. You will be able to terraform every part of it.
Now, size alone only makes for boring vastness, which is why we will not start new servers until there is player base for it. One server is 16x16 kilometers, consisting of millions of tiles. Every server has a unique map, and we can link 256 servers to each other. Once all servers are up Wurm will have a world size of about 68000 square kilometers and be inhabited by a few hundred thousand players.
The current method of transportation between servers is swimming, but boats are planned. Passing from one server to another takes a few seconds, so it is practically seamless.
The possibility to cheat in online games is detrimental and quickly makes the game pointless. We have had security in mind from the beginning and tested various ways of detecting and countering cheating. The current system handles movement cheats, item duplication, command flooding, command constructions, and macroing. The right-click and select method during fighting is specifically intended to make it impossible to defeat an opponent by performing perfect mouse moves calculated by some client software. Since we stream the terrain from the server you can not explore the map in offline mode.
Major events like the founding of new villages or the slaying of dragons are recorded in the area log that is accessible from settlement tokens. Every settlement also has a log that records the important events in that settlement. This means that the players literally write history with their actions. You can also receive special titles when you reach a certain degree of skill or perform a particularly unusual task.
We are looking at ways to display top skills and battle ranks on our website in a good manner.
In Wurm there are four deities. You can decide to follow a deity, and if you have enough faith then you will gain bonuses in that deities 'domain'. When you build an altar dedicated to your deity you will strengthen the influence that deity has over the area. That influence is called a deities 'domain'. Your devotion to your deity is measured in 'faith'. You gain faith by praying periodically. After a while you gain no more faith unless you decide to become a priest. A priest in Wurm is very limited when it comes to performing mundane and physical tasks, but they can instead cast rare, powerful spells.
There is a remote possibility to achieve the status of champion of a deity in order to perform some kind of heroic task. To become a champion you first must become a priest for a while in order to prove yourself worthy. Upon becoming a champion you will receive permanent bonuses in various skills. You will however also have 'real death'. In Wurm this means that you may die only three more times. The fourth time it is game over for that character. The history log will note your death for everyone to see, you will be logged off and may not log on with the character again.
Wurm does not have static quests la 'get me the Ring of Power and I give you the spell lightning bolt'. We believe that it destroys the immersion when everyone does the same quests over and over. People have lots to do anyway and need help from each other instead.
What higher goals are there to strive for in this world then?
As with all of this kind of game and world, you set these goals yourself. Creating the largest village, building the largest structure, mining the longest tunnel, becoming a champion or a world-renowned weapon smith or the player with most battle points can be such goals.
The game does have a back story. It revolves around two conflicts: The first is the conflict between the kingdom of Jenn-Kellon and the kingdom of Mol-Rehan. The other conflict is between the followers of the deity Libila and the followers of the other three deities. These conflicts are primarily played out on the wild servers, making those servers a more dangerous place. Players have a direct influence over these conflicts, and can discover artifacts that can tip the scale in favor of their deity or kingdom. Over time, more and more possibilities for single as well as groups of players to have real effect on the story will be available.
Maybe you are the kind of player who likes staying at home tending your crops and livestock, watch the pretty sunsets and chat to the neighbor about the weather. Maybe you have the urge to turn to the dark side and pillage and plunder, and maybe you desire to drive the forces of evil back to their holes, writing your name in history. Whatever it is, we will try to make Wurm the place for you.
And whatever you choose, one day you can be the one who decide the fate of Wurm!