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Wurm Online
Wurm Online Town.JPG
Developer(s) OneTooFree AB
Publisher(s) Rolf Jansson
Designer(s) Rolf Jansson, Markus Persson
Version 2.6.7
Platform(s) Java
Release date(s) June 6, 2006
Genre(s) MMORPG, MMOFS
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Media Online distribution
System requirements Java (1.5 or later), Java Web Start, 512 MB of RAM (1024 MB recommended), 1 GHz CPU or higher, graphics card with 32 MB of Video RAM (128 MB recommended) additionally it must be capable of using OpenGL 1.3+

Wurm Online is a fantasy MMORPG developed by OneTooFree AB.

In Wurm Online, the player assumes the role of a peasant who can choose his playing style ranging from working alone to being part of a village. The core game-play involves wilderness survival, landscaping (terraforming) and crafting. The game offers the options of a PvP based game or a non-PvP game where you still have to survive the environment.

Contents

Gameplay

All players initially start out on a continent covered with forests, lakes, mountains, and various natural resources. All objects in the game, such as buildings, towns, roads and items, are created by players. Wurm Online features a fully deformable two-dimensional landscape allowing the players to create pits and hills and to flatten and shape the land. The game world features a separate two-dimensional rock layer that can be mined into to create underground caverns or tunnels.

Wurm Online provides the ability to do almost anything the player wishes within a virtual sandbox. The rules of conduct for the game vary slightly depending on the server you choose; either a PvP (wild) server or a non-PvP server.

Wurm Online on is a skill based game and like many MMORPGs of this genre Wurm Online can be time consuming, especially if the player works predominantly on his or her own. However, the Wurm game mechanics encourage players to work together, both on large projects like village building and more mundane tasks like building a wall. This can significantly reduce the time taken to achieve objectives and allows players to grow the more social aspects of game play.

Wurm Online's design allows for the building of communities within the game. Founding a village allows a player to recruit citizens, and these players then share a common chat system restricted to their villagers only. Co-operative gameplay allows players to work together in a way that is not dictated by restrictive story lines.

Characters

In the game there are two types of characters: player characters and non-player characters (NPCs). A player character is created on the Wurm Online website before starting the game and can either be male or female. There are no classes, just a list of skills that define the player character. Wurm Online does not allow for the customization of player characters. All player characters of the same kingdom and sex use the same model and do not display worn items.

There are only a few non-player characters in Wurm Online; these include:

  • Traders - Trades items with players.
  • Merchants - Owned by one player and used to sell items that the player gives them.
  • Guides - Located at the start points of the servers, these help teach players the basics of the game.
A female and male character in Wurm Online

Account Types

There are two different account types on Wurm Online. All players start with a free to play account which allows them to play on the Golden Valley entry server. This account is not time limited, but the player cannot increase skills above 20 or play on the premium servers. The Golden Valley server adds some additional restrictions, for instance players cannot buy village deeds or build towers. This server is 16 times smaller than the premium servers. The current premium servers are the Wild server and the Independence server, which is the first of the Freedom servers. To move to a premium server players must first buy premium time for their account. A premium account costs approximately 5€ a month[1].

Skills and Professions

When a character starts the game he or she has very few skills, but as soon as the player starts performing actions and creating new items he or she will receive new skills and become more adept in existing skills. Every task has a set difficulty and if the player succeeds at completing a task, then he or she gains skill. As skill increases the difficulty of tasks decreases. As skills rise, it becomes more difficult to gain skill.

In many of the skills on Wurm, it is possible to get titles, small labels of text next to a character when highlighted in the game. Titles are achieved normally when you reach 50, 70 and 90 in a certain skill. Once a title is earned it can be displayed next to the player's name, viewable by anyone. Only one title may be displayed at a time, but there is no limit on the number of titles that can be earned.

Harvesting and Crafting

Wurm Online has very different harvesting and crafting systems compared to most other MMORPGs.[2] Due to the changing world (trees can grow and be cut down, new mines can be created and old mines can be collapsed) the player has to find the resources he or she wants to harvest. There are a variety of crops[3], ores[4] and trees[5] that can be harvested. Players can also hunt animals and catch fish for meat.[6]

Once the resources have been harvested, they can be crafted into items. Most items require multiple steps with raw materials and items produced from other skills. For instance, an iron hammer may seem a simple creation, yet for its creation the player needs to:

  • Cut down a tree
  • Cut a log from the tree
  • Make a shaft from the log
  • Mine some iron ore
  • Heat it in a forge
  • Use the resulting iron lump with a small anvil to make a hammer head
  • Use the hammer head with the shaft

Additionally, the item may need other things to complete it - turning it from an unfinished item to a standard item.

Animals

As well as having various types of creatures, each creature also has a description. This description can be found by looking at its name. The description can contain information about the age of the creature, how hungry it is and the animal's strength.[7]

Each server also has unique animals, such as dragons, the goblin leader and the kyklops. These unique animals take a lot of power to kill, and generally involve many highly-skilled characters.[8] Once a unique creature is killed it cannot be brought back, however, developers have brought them back for various reasons in the past (when the maps have been reset and when the new fighting system was implemented).

Items

Almost all items are player made from raw materials gathered or extracted from the surrounding nature or creatures.[9] Every item has a number of different factors including weight, damage, quality level, size, temperature, and possible enchantments.

While it is quite easy to create a low quality version of most items, it takes more time, resources, and high quality tools to improve the quality of the item to make it truly powerful. Skills improve more quickly by improving items than by initially creating them, to discourage the mass production of items for skill.

World

Geography

The current lands of Wurm Online consist of large islands made of a mix of large inland lakes, tall mountains, sandy beaches, dense forests, deserts, and rolling steppe. There are 3 islands that are currently active, each on its own server, with more planned. The Wild server is a premium-only server, allows PvP, and is currently the oldest island still online. The Independence server is a premium-only server and is non-PvP. The Golden Valley server is nearly 17 times smaller than the Wild and Independence servers and is where all free accounts start.

Earlier map servers used to have an option where a player could ride a boat to the borders of the map, and crossing the border causes the player to cross to another server. This allowed players from the then Jenn-Kellon Home Server and Mol-Rehan Home Server to travel to the Wild server and back again. When the Independence server opened, travel from the Home Servers to Freedom also included this mode of transport, in addition to portals. With the closing of the Home Servers, however, travel between the Wild and Freedom servers in this manner was removed.

Recent Server Changes

As of 15th July 2009, the Jenn-Kellon & Mol-Rehan Home Servers have been taken offline. All player accounts that were at one time premium, who did not make the move to the Freedom server or the Wild server during the transition period have been transferred to the Wild server. All portals to Jenn-Kellon & Mol-Rehan home servers have been closed.

The servers that are currently available are:

Golden Valley - The Golden Valley server is where all new players will arrive. It is here where all players learn about Wurm Online. Golden Valley is much smaller than Wild & Independence, and a number of restrictions are in place as it is only meant for new players. Players may transfer to either the Wild server or the Independence server from the Golden Valley server after the purchase of premium.

Freedom / Independence - The Independence server, more commonly known as the Freedom server, is the first of many proposed servers that would collectively be known as the Freedom Isles. Independence is a non-PvP server, in contrast with the Wild server, which allows and promotes PvP. The server has many features in place to prevent griefing within the player community, and is closely monitored by game and chat moderators.

The Wilds - The Wild server is home to the Horde of the Summoned (HoTS) faction, who, in the Wurm Online storyline, follow the dark goddess Libila. Both Jenn-Kellon and Mol-Rehan are considered to be on the side of Light (White Lighters) while HoTS are on the side of Darkness (Black Lighters). Open warfare between factions is allowed and encouraged on the Wild server, where game moderator intervention is minimal to allow the player community to settle disputes by themselves.

Kingdoms

In the land of Wurm there consist of four kingdoms that a player might join. They are:

  • Jenn-Kellon (Wild server) - The first kingdom to be implemented, it is the largest kingdom. They are one half of the White Light kingdoms, the other being Mol-Rehan.
  • Mol-Rehan (Wild server) - The oldest kingdom in the Wurm Online storyline.
  • Horde of the Summoned (Wild server) - The HoTS worship Libila, the Dark Goddess. They are the only Black Light kingdom currently available. Players cannot start as HoTS, they can only join HoTS by:
  a) Invitation from another HoTS player,
  b) Travel to the Wild server, walk to the Black Light Altar and read the inscription on it,
  c) Reducing your reputation to -200 and below will automatically turn you into a HoTS.
  • Freedom - The newest kingdom, only present on the Independence server.

Settlements

When a player selects a spot to build on, it is possible to create a settlement there. A player can either buy a Homestead, where only a single person can be a citizen or a village where multiple people can be citizens there. When a village reaches its citizen limit, it is possible to "expand" the size of the village, which allows for more citizens. There are advantages of having a settlement, which include Guards. These protect the settlement from aggressive creatures like mountain lions and enemies of opposing kingdoms or towns. If a player dies anywhere on one of the maps and is a member of a village or homestead, it is possible for them to respawn there, rather than respawning at the start point of the server.. There is also less decay on settlement, this means that a player does not have to spend as much time maintaining their land, there are however disadvantages to having settlements. A player must buy a settlement with in-game money, which can take a while to raise and once the settlements is founded, a player must pay a tax each month to prevent it from disbanding.

While it is true that it is possible to earn ingame money, it usually is a very hard task for a new player as his skills will just allow him/her to make very low quality items which the traders tend to have. Another problem is that the public traders are either "owned" by established villages and walled away or simply do not have money due to how the economy works. It doesn't help either that long established players with high skills will empty the traders when they receive money thus making the process even harder for newcomers. However it is possible to buy the amount of silver required to get a deed by paying 100 euros, which is enough for your own size 10 village and own trader.

On the wild server it is possible for enemies of kingdoms to raid another kingdom's villages or homesteads but they must first kill the guards which protect the village from enemies. It is also possible to steal money from the villages upkeep fund, which brings the village closer to being disbanded.

It is currently not possible to create settlements in Golden Valley.

Religion

In the game, there are four Gods a character may follow; the three White-Light gods or the single Black-Light goddess. Both Jenn-Kellon and Mol-Rehan are Whitelight kingdoms, meaning that you must follow the White-Light Gods to join either. The Horde of the Summoned is a Black-Light kingdom and you must follow the Black-Light Goddess accordingly. When altars are created and/or blessed the area surrounding that altar becomes the domain of the God it is dedicated to, and a player will get bonuses for having a certain faith in that God.

When following one of these religions, you can pray at any altar that is dedicated to your God or Goddess, this will increase your faith, once a player reaches a certain faith they can become a priest. Priests can cast spells and enchant items which help you develop your skills or enhance your fighting ability. To become a priest a player must go to one of the main altars in the game, both located on the Wild Server. The Altar of the Three is the White Light main altar and the Bone Altar is the Black light equivalent. This means, for home server players, that they must make a long journey to Wild and cross onto the PvP server. A priest character does have to endure some restrictions; certain tasks cannot be completed.

Whilst a priest, if a player reaches a certain skill level in different characteristics, they may become a champion of their God or Goddess and the restrictions they had as a priest are lifted. Championship does come with its own set of limitations, the main one being limited to three deaths. After the third death, a player will not be able to play as that character any more, experiencing what is known as "permadeath". Their name is then added to one of main altars (according to which god they chose to follow) and the Hall of Champions, a record of every champion that has fallen.

It should also noted that Priests have been severely restricted on the number of allowed actions they can do and due to this limitations very few people play on them as mains, however their main use is to keep them locked in for enchanting weapons and tools with spells. However due to how the faith system works most of these priests will be alts that just stands around waiting so they can get enough favor for the next cast.

Graphics

An example of interface for Wurm Online

Wurm Online is developed in OpenGL and can be rendered using either JOGL or LWJGL. Due to mediocre client programming, the heavy rendering will be done by the selected package, but both are used and therefore the system must support both packages. The game has limited support for animations. The JOGL renderer for the game does not work very well with some ATI video cards, if this occurs users can then switch to the LWJGL renderer.

Development

Wurm Online first started in the Beta stage in 2003 and continued in this stage for many years, changing the maps, on which the game is based, frequently. The game officially went Gold on June 6, 2006 [10].

In spring of 2007, the main client developer quit working on the game, but the main server developer started to work on the game full-time instead of part-time. The client development has since been given out to a group of trusted players.

In September 2008, the main developer began publishing a blog [11] to let the community know what is currently under development. Also featured within the blog is an article relating to Swedish newspaper, Östgöta Correspondenten[12][13] and their news story about Rolf, Wurm Online and its success and future development.[14]

Joss Sanglier[15] is currently working on trailers, music, sound and the website for Wurm.[16][17]

Even though the game is considered "gold" it is still very much in development. The choice to develop the game in Java for the client was an interesting choice which has attracted attention from the very heart of the Java community [18]. Java has allowed the developers to develop for a wide range of platforms without developing OS specific clients. This has not always been bug free and there have been some issues with Windows Vista that have not affected everyone [19]. However, many players run the game on an assortment of Windows boxes, various flavours of Linux and the Mac OS.

However, a very active forum is full of advice from both players and developers for those who run into problems, as with many applications.

Server crash

On 25 April 2007 the Wurm Online home server (jenn001.game.wurmonline.com) crashed and went offline. Mojang stated that their host had multiple hardware failures and was unlikely to be able to recover any of the data. It was decided a complete reset would be done (new map, skills/items reset). After a false restart on May 5, the servers were brought back online on May 10 with no noticeable problems. The new system had been upgraded with a new automated remote back up system and a separate login server.

The servers still crash from time to time often resulting in the loss of the last hour or two of terraforming done to the world, however compensation for such server crashes is normally a 5 hour sleep bonus which helps increase skill gain at twice the normal rate.

Reception

Wurm Online received a positive review on MMORPG.com, which praised both the harvesting and crafting system amongst other things[2]. Receiving a rating of 6.91, one which surpasses the scores of Second Life and RuneScape, both more popular and well established games. The community was also praised as being incredibly helpful, answering all the questions the reviewer asked. On the 25th September 2008 it was on the front page of the website.[20]

Wurm Online received another positive review on GAX online[21], once again praising the community and the crafting system, this review did mention the high system specifications required to run the game with high FPS and the lack of decent models, however the landscape and weather effects were praised. The review also suggested that Wurm isn't for everyone, saying it needed a "pro-active mind-set, possibly beyond the comfort zone of many gamers," but recommended that people try it out.

Wurm has also received a positive review on F13.net, which praised the novel experience and the accomplishment of the small team who created the game.[22]

However, Wurm Online received a mainly negative review on TenTonHammer [23], this reviewer compared the game to MUD, saying that it was very text heavy and did not keep him interested, he also said that there wasn't enough guidance for newer players who have stumbled upon the game and started playing.

Hacking / Exploits

Cheating is heavily frowned upon and actively worked against. Cheaters are normally caught in a timely manner and banned permanently from the game.

Wurm online has had some exploits or bugs (mostly now fixed) which have been constantly abused by certain players, and have caused upset within the larger player base who view these as cheating. Several of these exploits / bugs have been due to bugged code which has left open possibilities for people to either gain skill very fast or do things that otherwise should not be possible. Even though the majority of the players never gets to experience such bugs, or would wish to use them, a few major bugs have been common knowledge (and was ultimately fixed [24]) :

  • Speed Bug : The players on all servers could reduce their action times down to 1s by initiating an attack upon a penned creature and then retreating. Repeat and rinse and you would eventually get the 1s action timer. The players who abused this bug could gain huge amounts of skill in very short time. The bug was so widespread and somewhat random that Game masters decided they would not penalize anyone using it by "accident", however a few people knew what triggered it and these people abused it severely.
  • Shield exploit / bracelets : An old bug that resurfaced at a later time, by swapping around shields and forcing an attribute change it was possible to train shields without losing stamina and in certain conditions be invulnerable.
  • Archery target exploit : A programming error or miscalculation in the server code made it possible to train archery very fast until around 40 skill or so by only using the targets. This was quite unbalanced as archery was very effective due to how shields and armour worked at that time. Suddenly the best fighters was anyone who had bothered to raise archery (most often by questionable means) and it was suicide to even try to fight an archer even if you had a shield.
  • Roundworm [25]: The Development of Roundworm was initiated by Peter Henderson back when wurm was in a beta stage, most of his motivation was to simplify very time demanding tasks and provide some basic mapping functionality. However he was very successful and managed to get enough information from the server with his client so he could make a pixel accurate map and also incorporated macro functionality based on the map. It was possible to use this map as a means to navigate through wurm avoiding any enemy or to find any resource that was in local. The developers were made aware of roundworm at some time and a slight change in how the packets was handled rendered Roundworm not working.

Roundworm was made available on sourceforge Roundworm and has later been used as a base to work on several other applications that have the same or better functionalities of Roundworm.

  • Speed hacks/ stamina hacks / wall and tree hacks [26] : Different methods was used again by players to achieve the upper hand in some situations, the tree and wall hacks was a simple modification of the .jar packets the game comes with, and modified the graphical aspect of these removing the visual hindrance trees and walls normally had allowing easier sight of enemies. Other popular hacks was made by modifying or directly injecting the information sent by the client to the server after previously having found out the relevant checks. It was quite possible to fool the server to believe you had a constant travelling speed of 14 km/h to 16 km/h without fear of being detected.
  • Illegitimate map dumps [27] Using several methods it was possible to build a partially pixel perfect map by using client glitches, however packet sniffers have been capable of building pixel perfect maps for quite some time now, being Roundworm the initial program that achieved this in 2004.

Macroing

Wurm online is a game that may attract the use of macros partly due to the fact that tasks like mining reflect real life by being repetitive and time consuming.

Several different macros have been commonly available for the community even though they are against the rules[28] and use of them can find the players concerned banned for either a short period or permanently if they repeatedly offend. There has been much speculation in the community as to how easily macros are detected, though a large number of players have been sanctioned by the active moderation team.

A few of the more commonly used macros are for : mining, improving crafted items, and repeating specific tasks (eg. move forward 1 tile / track / botanize / forage)

Macroing is seen by the majority of players as unfair and against the spirit of good gameplay.

References

Further reading

External links








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