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GT's Guide to Wurming

GTwanderGTwander Member UncommonPosts: 6,035

First guide to a game here, but this section was in dire need of one... and I will try to make it as easy to read as possible.


Wurm Online is a 'medieval survival simulator', and brainchild of Markus 'Notch' Persson, prior to his split from the project to pursue the same ideology in Minecraft. With that said, yes, Wurm is pretty much like Minecraft, but a precursor to it. A very complicated, slower-paced, and yet rewarding ordeal using a tile-based grid instead of voxels, and played entirely from a first-person view.

Everyone needs to go into a game knowing what it's highlights and flaws are;

Graphics; It's a java-based game on OpenGL, so it's not the best looking thing ever. The environments are quite nice on full settings, and the water ambience is very nice. The problem is in the models and animations of all NPCs, they are either unflattering, or non-existant. The current development phase of the game is toting fixes to this, but the game has been out for over 6 years without much change in that department. The gameplay should state how it's survived this, once you get into it.

Audio; The ambient sounds range from perfect, to grating. The nature sounds have a directional pan, and change with the change of location and time of day. There is also occasional musical interludes sporatically played out, which depending on the moment they play, could be jarring or a fitting interlude to your work. It's an interesting feature, yet so simple. The one thing, though, that will most likely make you turn all noise off is the work tools. The sounds of the saw and hammer are terrible, but there might be an option to omit just them. I've never checked, but I wouldn't gamble on the guess.

Gameplay; Building things is amazing once you start seeing the gradual change to your surroundings, as well as improving your character's general quality of life. I have likened this game unto "a personal Japanese zen garden", where you get your fix just making your surroundings as picture-perfect as possible. In a totally mutable world, oh yes, it is. Now before I totally overglorify the gameplay, let me stress the lowest point of it all; combat. It's no more that a matter of picking a stance and wailing on a mob with no interaction (beyond aiming at parts and activating boosts later down the line). It tanks because of the lack of animations as well, and it's one of those games where being behind in PvP skills means being *really* behind.

So keep all those factors in-hand, play for free until you feel it's worthy of an investment, and I will give you the tips to do so.



The goal of the game is equal to that of it's spiritual successor - "figure it out" tm

The question is "what do you want to do?", but without knowing what the game is truly capable of, it can be overwhelming. So lets start with one of two entry points;

1. Go out alone and handle it by yourself, or with people you typically game with. I recommend playing with the game in a window, and a browser kept open with the wiki page on it. Anything you need, ever, is on it. So it's possible to play this way with research at hand, but you still need to know the "order of doing things". Which will be mentioned later.

2. Join a village that takes in noobs and trains them, there are plenty on every single map, just asking in global chat. The play hours between you and them may be off, but you'll get fed, a bed for sleep bonuses, and plenty of direction of what to do, and hopefully places to apply it. Most established villages that don't have an active project going will have little around for you to actually do, and most things (such as aesthetics) are to be respectfully left at the status quo. Be a gentleman in another man's house, please. Don't mess with their land, or their goods, just get some direction and see if village life is for you. If not, see step #1.

With those ideas in mind, the next part is pretty much how the game is going to treat you outside of the gate.


Doing it Yourself (the end goal for most)

You are dropped off at a starting point, and then can roam out into the woods and settle an area, but with certain rules;

a) You cannot build on anyone else's claimed land, called a "deed". These can be bought from an NPC vendor at any starting area, and cost 10 silver coins, a currency bought with real money at a 1-1 ratio of euros, roughly 13$ American. Once planted, outside of another player's sphere, it can be extended over the tile-grid, securing those tiles as your property for additional immediate fees, as well as added monthly upkeep.

b) Stats/skills are locked at 20 until you pay a subscription of 5 euros a month. This allows you to enter certain maps that are contingent PvP grounds, and the village creations take on much more of a defensive angle. It also allows actions and objects of a more permanent nature to be created, such as removing roads or building long-standing stone structures that will be there long after you run absent.

The rule is to not invest in either until you know what you are doing, and better yet, enjoy it all. So do #2 from above, or 'practice' right outside the noob area, which is usually a mess from said 'practice'. Pretend you are going to make a mock settlement, a respectfully small one, and learn the basics of the game first-hand. You could be close enough to the start deed to be saved from hostile mobs, and close enough to sources of food and water for new players (an absolute need). Once you are comfortable enough with what you did there (house, farm, etc), your skills will be around 20 in some areas, and you can consider whether you want to buy a sub and deed to head out into the woods with.

How do you do all this stuff though? Ay yi yi!

Remember what I said about "the order of things", there is a process to making a plot of land yours. Chronologically-ordered guides much?

Step 1 - Scouting

The first thing you need to do is learn how to navigate. There are maps on the wiki pages for most non-PvP worlds, and you can use those and line-of-sight to landmarks to triangulate where you are. Compasses exist in game as well, but require a bit of know-how to make. They can be bought from NPCs at the start-gate, and are usually seeded there by players who made them (economy). Compasses are not end-all necessary, though. If you have a map open, know a landmark, or have a good bearing of where the sun currently is, then use can use the very tiles on the ground to know where the four corners are. All tokens (the center point of a deed) have a sundial on it with the bearings as well, so if you get lost; use a deed to get bearings again.

Now how does that help you find a new spot to deed? It's doesn't, really... but by using the existing maps you can find out what places are barren and hope the place is empty enough to settle. Follow the banks of rivers and curvature of mountains to get there. You may be tempted to climb a mountain for a useful view, but you might be assailed by a hostile and caught midclimb (low stamina). Dying is not an option while alone or with a small group, so take the smart roads and learn to "scan your horizon".

Scanning; Looking left-to-right while moving and using the cursor to light up possible hostiles in your path. It get's really dark at night, but you can still avoid bumping into things by scrolling over objects with a red glow and backing off, or going around them.

Now, the biggest problem with looking for a place to settle is actually having to "settle on a location". I assure you that double entendre would have been great aloud. My meaning is that you might have to deal with the best spots being taken. The game releases new maps occasionally, but everyone migrates there and leaves used-up ruins. You might have to settle with what is available.

There are a few things to keep in mind when looking for a place to plant, as well as planting it;

1) You need your own source of food and water. The easy route is parking by water, but the amount of crowding of shorelines will attest to that. Otherwise, you have to either dig to water (assuming the dirt layer will go lower than the water plane), mine to water (should digging not be an option), or plant a well on a tile with a hidden water table (requires a pendulm, which requires a mine with certain ores). You may want to either play it safe, or go out there with a pendulum (bought or made) and hope you dont lose it through death during the scouting run. Food is easily fished at any real water source (not wells or fountains), grown through farming, or hunted... but water can be tricky to start a project without. You may have to make some pottery or barrels and fill them at open sources, then trek them to your locations, should you go without.

2. Placing the deed gives you a square area that can be extended bi-laterally. Meaning you can jump the borders out 1 tile in an east-to-west or north-to-south fashion, making basically a rectangle. You really should maximize the space of your deed in anyway you can, both on the surface, and underground. You shouldn't send your borders into steep hills, because you will lose that space to unusable ground (unless you raise it with lots of dirt), on the bright side, having a rock face in your borders means you can have a mine entrance that is your own, and has permissions and all that from the village token. The space underground beneath your deed is also considered deeded area, and applies by the same rules. You cannot really make living quarters down there (no beds allowed) but you can give the aspects of rooms, or even a dwarven fortress right under your feet.

Ettiquette Check!!!

People don't mind new neighbors, for the most part, but they are HIGHLY territorial of their space. Do not settle right outside someone else's deed, they will hate you, and I already do. Give ample space between you and any percievable settlement that may be active. The golden rule is that of "local chat range". People appear in your local chat if within 80-100 tiles (I forget), and are very willing to put up with you as a neighbor if they don't have to see you in local all the time. It's generally enough space to have privacy. If you see a settlement that looks active, but nobody is home to test the range limit, you may wanna start counting paces before starting a Hatfield/McCoy event.

Give people their space, and respect their works in/and around their deed. Just because they only deed X amount of tiles doesn't mean they didnt spend a year cultivating the entire area around it. You know when a person has tended land by the traces of their OCD, most landscaped land will symmetry, and slopes angled at a certain number (usually a 15 or 20). This will be explained in the digging guide, but that's not the next step.

Step 2 - Clearcutting

You found a spot? Mazel Tov!

Should you start digging and then plant a house? Nein!!!

The trees and other foliage will get in the way of digging. Both the planning, and the application of 'Flatraising'. I'll get into that later, for now, you clear the entire scope of your deed from all plant life. All of it! Open your inventory and double click the hatchet until it says "active" at the bottom of the window. That is how you know what item is being used on what, remember it.

Once you've chopped a tree down it turns into a felled model and a stump. The stump can be removed with the same hatchet, or you can simply pack the tile with a shovel to remove it much faster. The felled tree can be repeatedly chopped with the same hatchet until made into a pile of logs, or it can be dragged and used in it's entirety for giant colonial walls called "palasades". I wouldn't recommend making them to start, though. It's costly, and all that wood from the clearcut will end up going directly into your house, fences and other accoutrements. Save yourself some trouble and set aside some 'mise en place' piles of all that you've gathered, but to make *that* job easier on you, make a small cart. The wiki has that info on it, get used to using it, because I won't tell you how here (you need to learn the wiki above all else).

Step 3 - Digging

My favorite aspect of the game, by far! It's 1/2 art and 1/2 logic puzzle.

Now before you get started, is your skill at least 10-20? If not, find a flat looking path of dirt and dig it up, then drop it, and repeat until you start seeing the slopes of every tile corner when you hoverover with a shovel active. Not only is it important to start digging with this amount of skill because of unlocking the measuring system (colloquially called 'dirts'), but it extends the limit of the slope you can dig on.

If you haven't figured it out yet, you dig where your feet are, and only from the corner of a tile you are closest to. So, to dig a tile flat, you have to stand over all four corners and dig til the rollover says so.

Remember: Max Slope = Digging Skill * 3

So if you have say, 15 digging, you cannot dig at the top or bottom of a 45-tall dirt slope. you'd simply need more skill, or have to alter your plans to suit it. Luckily, digging raises very fast, and you're likely to hit 50 within a few days of heavy use.

While digging you might notice yourself slipping down off the tall end. This will happen anytime you go over 22-dirts tall, and the effect will be come more pronounced as you go. It's useful for tons of practical player-trap applications, but is a general pain-in-the-ass for diggers trying to move stuff.

My general method? Excise entire sections flat by 20-dirt tiers. It helps you count, and adds a sense of symmetry. You can go with 15, or 18, or anything below 22 for non-slip pathing, but it has to gel with your visual senses too. So perhaps your a robot like me, and would prefer a little order, yeah? Start early in planning by keeping the whole area tiered-by-20 (or so).

Funky Dirt Mechanic; dropping dirt from the inventory will seed it to the corner you are standing on, never just drop it from the inventory. You have to make a pile of other items, then move the dirt from you to it, and remove the items to make it a "dirt pile", where it will sit until used (or until it rots). Use your dirt, please.

The big secret to digging is the option to "flatten", as it leads to two techniques called "flatlowering" and "flatraising". Essentially, all it does is move dirt from the tallest corner of a tile to the lowest, repeatedly, until as possible flat as it can be without a bit of manual tapering. That means it can be used to lower a steep corner you slip off of for easier digging, or just corrections, and it can be used to make flattened terraces (which are all the rage of the game). You just drop 40 dirt on a flat surface and flatten it, by the end of it, the entire tile will be 10-dirts higher. This is used to push things way high, but up to a limit of the digging skill.

Remember: Dirt slips to the bottom of a slope once it reaches 41 dirts. Remember to drop dirt "behind" that slope to flatten and raise the whole thing once you can no longer simply drop dirt and keep it stacking up. You have to get your hands on it to really see how it works, so I suggest doing so.

Step 4 - Mining

If you haven't dug deep enough to uncover the underlying rock face of the world, you can usually see it on exceedingly steep hills, just poking out. You can break into them and use the latent stone and ores to make more permanent (and sturdy) structures and other tools.

How do you start? Well, keep these things in mind.

a) Tunneling the first tile open takes 50 hits, like any tile after it, but is much faster. It will open facing towards you, so make sure you are facing it dead on to how you would like to enter. The slope on the floor and roof of the opening will be averaged out, to make it flatter, and I tyically use my main mine entrance to determine the level of the rest of the deed. That way, everything meets up nicely. Once you are inside, though, it's very slow and tiresome. Get friends to help, or watch webisodes while you hack away in windowed mode. It's very time intensive, and extremely boring. Deep out on it at your own peril.

b) Mining uses the same grid based system, but is wonky in the height factor. Any mine that intersects with another one will make the tile that opens between them slanted at any slope variant. Ideally, you want to use the meansurements of dirt from outside, then count each tile that goes up or down as a 20-slope. Otherwise, you could meet one of your mines (or another) with a slope thats almost impossible to climb (let alone deal with). It's difficult to plan out a decent mine system, and you only get one chance and little-to-no correction.

c) Prospecting from the surface allows to to triangulate the exact tile an ore node is one. If you had a large surface to work with, use it until you find a nearby ore and find the point where you no longer see it. Know that it will scout any node within 5-tiles of you, and you basically just found one's lattitude. Move around it and prospect till you can determine where it is, then mine into it - but NOT on the tile itself. It won't let you, so you have to go through the one next to it.

Ores can become a problem if your a miner for aesthetics. Like, if you just want a badass looking room and then, bam, a gold vein in the way. Yay, a gold vein! ~but now your plans have to be altered, or you have to burn out the entire vein to continue. Ore veins can have anywhere from 100 to 10,000 hits on them, but much less with rarer materials.

In the end, consider whether mining is a passion for you, or simply a matter of needed resources. Maybe combine the two and plan accordingly. Also, use the wiki to see what the various messages you get while mining mean, it would take too long to go over them all. Wiki is your friend.

Step 5 - Crafting

You would think that housing would be next, but no, you need more tools to really handle that... and with access to wood (and hopefully ore), you can make them. The first tool anyone is every going to need is a wooden mallet - and I will actually go over the creation of one, just so I can show you the applied logic of this game.

First, grab one'a dem logs, and then activate your carving knife from the inventory. That means whatever you use from now on, it will have the carving knife in mind. If used on a log, you get options to whittle, if used on a corpse, I'm fairly sure it will butcher it (a shovel even works for butchering). Remember the logic to activate one item, then use or combine it on another.

So the carving knife used on the log gives many option to whittle. Make a couple shafts, and then carve those shafts into handles and mallet heads - and combine the two. Mallet!

Everything in this game works that way;

Activate hammer + bricks in inventory = place or work on houses/fences.

Activate fishing rod + tile underwater = fishing

Activate hand + clay = unbaked pottery (a tricky one)

This ideology, plus the wiki's extensive list of recipes will make sure you're never that confused again... but now that you have the know-how to make tools, the definite list of needed ones for any noob are these;

Mallet/Hammer - Houses/fences

Small Anvil - Makes basic iron tools (and requires iron to make)

Pottery/Buckets - Keep water on-hand at all times

~and that's really about it. Many people would suggest more, but it's covered in noob tools already, or they are a bit of a luxury. Trowels only needed for stone houses, and butchering knives only giving better outcomes from it's shared utilities, etc.

Step 6 - Build

Remember how I told you to clearcut every bit of wood on deed, and turn it into logs? that's because the carpentry skill uses the same system of limits that digging does. You can't do anything much from the start, but after all that log-making, you can probably make a decent sized house.

Method; Every wall and floor costs 1 carp skill to plan.

So a 1x1 house (the smallest) is 5 carp, and a 1x2 is 8 carp, and so on. There are calculators on the wiki, but again, the general rule is to grind that skill early on a task thats already much-needed for this one. Once you are finished with your small house, you can make an even bigger one! So plan that accordingly on your deed as well; start from smallest to largest, but be sure to plan it all before placing. Tiles and and houses cannot have the tile corners under them altered, so you have to plan the whole area first. As in step 3.

Other than that, I can't give you advice on what to do with your deed, but I will leave you with a few tips;

a) Keep your farm and animal pens on-deed, if possible. Asshattery/theft is possible outside of your boundaries, and easy pickings are hard to a lot of people to pass up.

b) All lamps and lanterns on-deed that are filled with oil or tar will light up at night. This might be good for your deed, or bad for it (if in a PvP server). Sometimes you don't want to be seen from afar, or at least not be obvious.

c) Always plan ahead, because some decisions you make might alter the course of others down the line. Like your pathing through the town, or other deco. Really put some thought into it *before* getting started on anything, and clear the area of anything blocking your view if need be.



~Remember that you lose everything on you in death, besides deeds and noob tools. Never carry the in-game currency on you, save it at any token's bank deposit.

~It's possible to play the game with a sub and deed without ever having paid a dime, but it requires selling your goods and services to other players with money. A monthly sub is 5 euros from the site, or 10 silver coins from within the game. Upkeep is also taxed in coins.

~There may still be a referral system in place that allows first-time subbers to gift a free month to any other player. I've done with with a buddy to keep going an extra month, but then that's it. People have been known to sell theirs for coins as well, usually somewhat cheaper than the 10s cost of it normally, though.

~If you don't like the map you are on, you can build/buy a boat and sail past the map's borders to a new one, but fair warning; The majority of the maps are 1/4th the size of the map known as Independance, and are very crowded from migratory surges at their release. You are likely to find better spots in Indi, but have more people to deal with in any other non-Epic servers.

~Epic Servers are a map that can only be crossed by portal, which can be built fairly easily. It allows you to move once every 24-hours from the PvE worlds to the PvP ones, where you are a fresh start character. It allows you to be creative on one side, without much fear, and hop across to be a weekend warrior. Skills are 2x as fast to gain as well, and seemingly, many actions much faster.

~Many commands can be hotkeyed easily by clicking on the 'command' UI and entering a simple script... like /bind spacebar dig, or  /bind m mine_forward, etc. Saves a lot of right-click hassles.


Writer / Musician / Game Designer

Now Playing: Skyrim, Wurm Online, Tropico 4
Waiting On: GW2, TSW, Archeage, The Rapture


  • GTwanderGTwander Member UncommonPosts: 6,035

    Feedback with questions or issues with format please.

    Writer / Musician / Game Designer

    Now Playing: Skyrim, Wurm Online, Tropico 4
    Waiting On: GW2, TSW, Archeage, The Rapture

  • ProfGetzProfGetz Member UncommonPosts: 182

    Very helpful, thanks for posting.

    Every MMORPG is AWESOME, until it's released!
    I don't want a game so much as I want a WORLD!
    o·pin·ion –noun
    1. a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.
    2. a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.

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