Wurm Online is a free, downloadable Java MMORPG that Notch, the creator of Minecraft, worked on previously before quitting to work full-time at Mojang on Minecraft & Scrolls. Because of this, players who have played and enjoyed Minecraft will see a lot of similarities. But, where Minecraft is simple and accessible, Wurm Online is deep, complex, and engaging. I like to call it Minecraft Meets Morrowind. Wurm Online is continually being developed by OneTwoFree AB, which is run by a fine man known as Rolf Jansson.
I'll come right out and say it straight: Wurm Online is not for everyone. I've compiled a very small five point check-list to see if you'll like Wurm Online or to see if you should at least give it a try. See how many of these apply to you:
I'm the type of gamer that:
- Loves Morrowind and when playing it wished I could build structures and live that life on-going.
- Hates "fast travel" in RPGs and prefers preparing for and making voyages across the landscape
- Enjoys joining a clan / village to get started and build friendly relationships
- Loves the idea of building a world completely from scratch: Find materials -> Build tools -> Find Materials -> Build structures w/ Tools
- Does not mind slightly outdated graphics (they get better each week really) with the understanding that it's just one or two people working indie on the game.
I mentioned Morrowind as #1 because that's what this game reminds me of. Put simply: It's Morrowind and Minecraft in one. After a tutorial, the game's message is very similar to Morrowind's "You're on your own now, good luck." You are dropped into this massive world with no idea what to do next or how to do it. The feeling of infinite possibilities is exhilarating.
In Wurm Online you have a large landmass with the ability to build and sail ships that you have crafted yourself. Everything you see in the game other than the land and the trees have been created by players (and even those you can create too using shovels and saplings.) The land is completely deformable by players. Each player has tons of skills (I've read as many as 118) such as digging and repairing, and each are leveled up as you perform actions in-game. It's like living another life.
Last night I voyaged from The Howl (the newbie spawn area) to Deutron (the small village I was invited to join). In order to make that trip, I had to find a player created map online (the game supplies none and I had not yet crafted a compass) and attempt the long journey on foot. I walked for 30 minutes, through towns and villages including the Sakura Mines which were tunnels dug through a hill. It was during this period that it struck me: People, possibly years before, had dug this. It wasn't generated in a level editor or been a simple point and click. Someone had leveled up their mining skill and dug a tunnel to make the trip safer and quicker. Amazing.
Once I reached the shore near Mystery Glade, the mayor of Deutron left port on a boat to pick me up. The voyage on the boat back to the village was another 10 minutes. It's strange because this little Java game has done something no other game that has boats has done: it really felt like I was on a boat. Islands would come up the horizon and I could see the buildings and trees far off in the distance. All the while, the captain maintained complete control of where we were headed.
Finally, an hour or more after I had set out, I arrived safely at Deutron.
I love this game.