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My Wurm review [read this if you are considering playing Wurm]

pinkdaisypinkdaisy Member CommonPosts: 361

Cross post of my Wurm review.  Originally posted in the pub as a response to another topic.  I figured it would be more useful over here.

There are some good ideas in the game: deformable terrain, (mostly) player-driven economy, ecology sytsem where cutting down the trees impacts the total number of trees in the world, day/night cycles, and more.

There are major problems with the game however.  First off, the devs are arrogant.  It's their way or the highway, and are totally unwilling to listen to the players good ideas or bad.  True they have a vision for the game, but some of the things they come up with are simply not fun.  The game itself is basically a graphical MUD.  There are 3 ways in games to give feedback to the player about happenings in the world:  visual, audible, or textual (i'm ignoring tactile feedback like rumble controllers).  Most all of the feedback in the game is textual.  This isn't bad for a text-based MUD, for a 3-D game, it's a horrible lack of use of visual/audible cues. 

For example, nearby monsters don't make any sounds, and at night they can be near impossible to see.  This means a fair amount of the time when you are attacked, the only feedback you get is some orange-colored text in your event window that you are under attack.  Adding something as simple as footstep sounds or some visual cue that something is after you seems too hard for the devs to add to the game. 

Most every action in the game revolves around you right-clicking on an object, selecting and action, then watching a countdown timer, and finally reading the resultant text in the event log to see whether your action failed or succeeded.  If you want to mine rocks, you right click on a rock face, choose mine, then wait 30 seconds for some rocks to appear on the ground infront of you.  You cannot do anything else during this 30-second period.  You just stand there.  While you mostly succeed at mining, many activities include failure rates.  Occasionally failing at a task is a nice addition to gameplay, put the Wurm devs seem to think that high rates of failure are both acceptable and fun.

An example of this is with making "healing covers" -- bandaids essentially.  If you get a severe wound from combat, they have treated with healing covers or you will eventually die.  Healing covers are made out of ingredients that you must round up.  Newbs don't have these ingredients, and it would take a newb hours to aquire these things by searching the ground.  Unfortunately it's very easy for a newb to get one of these life-threatening wounds, and then it can take literally hours to attempt to fix it.  Not only do you have to get the ingredients, but you then must mix them together to create the healing cover.  Unfortunately, the failure rate for such actions is very high.  Moreover, even after you successfully create a healing cover, you must then apply it to the wound.  Unfortunately, you can fail at that step as well.  What could be an interesting game mechanics quickly turns into an act of total frustration.  Below is a screenshot where i failed 13 times in a row to apply a healing cover to a wound!  I was not a newb, and had access to lots of supplies and had decent skills to perform the tasks.  Again the devs seem to think that players like being told 12-times straight that they are an idiot piece of shit, while trying to complete a simple task.  Fun?  No way.

Also, the game is written in Java, and despite what Sun or the Java fanbois will tell you, Java is dirt slow.  Lag is generally acceptable, and the servers have close to 99% uptime, but the performance of Java is terrible.  On midrange machines you must disable a fair amount of the eye candy to get any decent frame rate.  A friend of mine even built a brand-new gaming rig just as the game launched last June, and he would still get sub 10FPS with the eye candy turned on.  Of course their devs solution to any problem is that you need a faster computer.  They are delirious in their belief that Java is as fast as C++.  John Carmack -- the founder of ID software -- often complains about how slow Java is, yet these guys keep trying to convince everyone that Java is just as fast as C++.  I like Java, but i don't kid myself into the irrational belief that it's as fast as C++.

Even though the game is fully 3-D, it lacks animations.  Sure doors/gates swing open and closed, but that's it.  Players glide over the ground as if ice skating as do monsters.  Combat consists of you standing next to your foe -- motionless -- and watching the event log to see who hit who and waiting to see who dies first.  Not only is combat 100% automated, it's 100% standing still.  Sure the devs promise that a combat revamp and animations are in the works, but they also said both of those things were going to be fixed before the game launched last June.

Community-wise, the players are a tight knit group, and many are helpful.  There have been problems in the past with GMs who abused their power and were removed, and many more complaints against GMs that the devs seemed to turn a blind eye toward.  Of course, allegations of GM abuse are common in MMOs, and Wurm certainly isn't any different in that regard.  Also, most gamers know that they have no expectation of free speech in a private game, but the devs give the GMs wide leverage to mute people in game and they devs have been wiped the forums in the past because they didn't like the comments people were making.  I can certainly understand not wanting to read comments from people who have nothing to say other than "you suck", but much of the complaints about the game were very valid, but again the devs don't care about what the players have to say.

There is a free "trial" for wurm.  Some would say it's free to play, but that's a misnomer.  The devs don't want freeloaders, they want premium players.  As such, trial accounts have skill caps, can't own towns, and have other restrictions.  Premium accounts are 5euro/month ~$7 AND they want you to spend approximately another 5euro/month to buy ingame money.  Their economic model is fundamentally broken, but seem to think that players like having to fork over additional cash each month just to pay property taxes on their virtual estate.  Of course, it's not required that you buy any ingame cash, but most active players are pretty much forced to just to pay for the upkeep on their buildings.  I hate property taxes in real life, and i don't understand they think players would like paying property taxes in the virtual world.  Then again it's another way for them to make money so they are all for it.  Personally, i would much rather see a flat 10euro/month fee and get rid of the lame IGE-style of selling you gold.

I followed Wurm throughout its development, I was there for launch day last June 6th -- which went smooth BTW -- i supported them with premium a premium account, brought 3 other friends into the game who also bought premium accounts, and bought ingame gold.  Even though i didn't like much of how the devs ran the game, it's an indie MMO and i was still willing to support it because i feel we need more indie games.   In the end, all of my friends quit wurm because the game was so slow/boring/maddening, and i eventually gave up months later for much the same reasons.

In the end if you have to have a game with deformable terrain, player-built housing/towns, or a mostly player-driven economy, then Wurm might be for you provided you can put up with the infuriating parts of the gameplay and arrogant devs who don't care what you think.

Some rabid Wurm Fanbois might point out something i've missed, and i certainly haven't covered every aspect of the game.  I've tried pointing out both the good ideas, and the obvious shortcomings.  Is wurm successful?  Depends who you ask i guess.  On launch day they had about 185 max concurrent users.  It fell off the months that followed, but these days it have just shy of 200 max concurrent users at peak times of the day.  Sadly, if they removed much of the tedium from the game -- without making any other changes -- i bet the game would have magnitudes more players.

~PD My 90-day 2D Java MMORPG project

They that can give up essential liberty for temporary safetey deserve neither. -- Ben Franklin
If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door. -- Milton Berle


  • paulscottpaulscott Member Posts: 5,613
    java bench marks 5-15% slower.  but you can develop in it quite a bit faster.

    I find it amazing that by 2020 first world countries will be competing to get immigrants.

  • pinkdaisypinkdaisy Member CommonPosts: 361

    After my reivew i decided to take a second look at Wurm.  I had been absent for almost six months and like most MMOs much can happen in that time.  I had an unused referral for another 30 days of premium time, and since it wasn't going to cost me anything I decided to give it a second chance.

    I do have to say the game is getting better.  Not by leaps and bounds, but it is definitely improving.  They have added numerous bug fixes that at least alleviate some of the more show stopping bugs.  Many of the worst remain, but it is clear that they are tackling them in time.  Numerous new gameplay features have been added.  Players can now construct and sleep in beds.  The beds function similar to the rest bonus in WoW or the old "power hour" in UO.  Casual players can at least gain skill at 2x the regular rate which helps in a game that is very heavy on grinding.  Stone houses were recently added which add new visual flair as well as added gameplay.  They are a nice addition to Wurm.

    Community wise the playerbase is slowly increasing.  Recently the concurrent player count on a Saturday topped 200 players.  These aren't WoW numbers, but it's an achievement for the Wurm devs and community.  As in the past most players are helpful, but as with the other MMOs there's always a select few who simply try to annoy everyone.  Overall though the community is very good and i would stay roleplaying comes naturally.

    While the devs were very harsh and abrasive in the past including things like forums wipes when they didn't like legit suggestions/complaints about the game, their comments are very toned down now.  The GMs/CMs do most of the monitoring of the forums and in game chat.  The devs only post on the forums infrequently and when they do their comments are generally much more helpful than they were in the past.

    Tedium in some areas of play has also been reduced.  As i recall when the game first launched it would take roughly 45 seconds to butcher a corpse after killing an animal.  That was 45 seconds that you couldn't do anything but sit there and was the countdown timer on screen.  One of the first things i noticed was that butchering times were significantly reduced.  Now it takes less than 15 seconds to butcher a corpse.  To someone who has never played Wurm that might still sound like 15 seconds of boredom -- and it is -- but at least the devs are beginning to realize that they need to make the game _fun_ in order to keep people playing and paying for Wurm.

    The best way to describe the 2 seperate servers in Wurm is to say that one is PvE and the other PvP.  Premium players are able to move back and forth between the 2 servers.  Unfortunately since launch the PvE server has moved more and more carbearish.  While at launch some acts of in character theft, killing, etc were tolerated, now it seems that if anyone doesn't like something you do for almost any reason it's considered griefing.  The PvE (home) server sadly is moving more toward something like a tale in the desert where soon there won't be anything but crafting to look forward to.  Crafting is an important part of the economy but when you aren't allowed to pick locks there's not alot of need for people to make lockpicks.

    The other server (called the wild server) is as wild west as always.  The devs had intended for the wild server to be "where the game happens" and that the home server was to be "tutorial island" but this has never come to pass.  Most of the time 80-90% of the playerbase is busy crafting away on the home server.  At slow times of the night there can be fewer than 10 people on the wild server.  With the wild players split into 2 opposing kingdoms that's 5 people to a side:  that's hardly MMO material.  The game mechanics in their current state don't work well to get more players to the wild server, and much like "trammel" UO, most everyone says in the 100% secure area instead of venturing out into dangerous territory.  It's sad because very few games have full, open PvP and while this one does, almost no one plays it.  A rework of the server system will need to be made to encourage all those crafters to pack up and move to the wild, but until those changes are made most of the playerbase will continue to do little more than craft away.

    One of the nicest feelings i had when i returned to Wurm (besides all the messages from old friends and help getting back on my feet!  thanks guys!) was to see things that i had long ago built still there.  Houses and walls decay _way_ too fast, but other objects such as roads and signs basically stay forever.  Players can destroy them, but it was neat to see roads that i had built and signs i planted still there and being used by other players.  That is something you simply won't get in another MMO.

    Overall Wurm is still plagued with many of the problems that it had the day it launched.  Happily though, the game is improving and the playerbase is slowly growing.

    ~PD My 90-day 2D Java MMORPG project

    They that can give up essential liberty for temporary safetey deserve neither. -- Ben Franklin
    If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door. -- Milton Berle

  • eddy051eddy051 Member Posts: 40

    Woot, walking animations have been added for players and several animals.

    The game is improving each day.

  • YanenYanen Member Posts: 72

    Just played this today, and i 99% agree with your review of it.  The only part i don't agree with is that we need more indie mmos.  I don't think we need any more shitty indie games.  I think we need more real companies (who have real capital and experience) to get off of their fucking asses and stop copying games that are already out.  If a company like Blizzard, or even a smaller, but experienced company  would actually take a chance, instead of continuing their current lazy development practices- and that's what i'd call releasing level-based games that are streamlined incarnations of their predecessors, fucking lazy- we would have games that played like more fun versions of Wurm with better graphics

  • eddy051eddy051 Member Posts: 40
    Agreed, I am tired of all these crappy remakes of World of Warcraft. Seriously, enough is enough, can we please get something new, fun, and unique, I.E Planetside when it was released.
  • AdambosAdambos Member Posts: 1

    i only know one.

    wurm is the best game that what i played

  • Shad0wN3xusShad0wN3xus Member Posts: 31

    Wurm is technically a Survival Simulation. Its basically supposed to be as realistic as possible, so alot of the points most people say are very annoying/bad are actually in the real world too.


    To be honest, Java isn't meant for Wurm's graphics. Yet Java is nearly the only development platform that can support their Data-Tile format that allows them to make the game so huge.

    Basically Wurm is in the only place it can be. Its taken a genre that has only ever been done in 2D before and turned it 3D. Its a very good game but takes alot of work to change the world, but hey its the same in the real world.

    On response to Blizzard doing a similar game..

    Blizzard is actually doing what any company in their position would do- Stay with what makes them the most money. Making another MMOG would cost them alot more and may be a flop, not to mention hiring more developers and keeping tabs on both games at the same time.  The fact is that most people only play MMOGs for games like WoW, I've seen that by people joining Wurm. Not many people like the realism of Wurm and so it has a very small fanbase at the moment.

    I play both Wurm and WoW(I've played Wurm for longer though) and to be honest they're both incredible games.

  • alakramalakram Member UncommonPosts: 2,301

    When I first tried Wurm I really liked the game but, yeah, for me was too time consuming so i left, but in my opinion is a great idea/game.

  • A7XFanA7XFan Member Posts: 20

    Me and a few friends from another game used to play Wurm. We loved it for a while, and we all played on the wild server. It was fun, we had travelled for an hour and made a HQ on a nice little island. Only thing is 30 minutes later a couple dudes with advanced weapons came and raided our crap and we evacuated.

    Really, I think it is a amazing game. I would still be playing it if it didnt crash my graphics driver on both of my computers every 20-40 minutes. (With all settings set on the lowest)

    PS anyone know how to fix that?

  • paulscottpaulscott Member Posts: 5,613

    if you're using a ATI card do not use the JOGL rendering.  if that's the issue I'm surprised you even managed to play the game.

    then there's also the standard replies of update drivers, reinstall drivers, and ask in wurm's forum about issues like this.

    I find it amazing that by 2020 first world countries will be competing to get immigrants.

  • stringfellowstringfellow Member Posts: 1

    PinkDaisy and other reviewers have painted a picture that is much more generous than is indicated by my experiences with wurm over a 3+ month period.  I was non-premium, but did a great deal and built up a lot of 20.00 skills (the capped level unless you pay).

    It is a great start to a game, that much I can agree with, but in simple summary, it is more painful than real life, and will eventually drive you mad with boredom, or frustration at fixing decaying stuff (and failing at doing that, or anything else)!

    The hook to get you paying and keep you paying is the 'cheap' subscription, and your 'virtual stuff''.   IMHO, free is too much to pay for this game, at this point in time.

    The economy, while it existed, was pleasant; work hard and you could make some in-game money... and spend it on things you couldn't make yourself... however, that has been 'fixed'.  Even the mentioned 'gem' mining bonus that was a great help as a noob, is now gone.

    Besides the sense of accomplishment you get from wasting an incredible amount of time making this 'stuff', and existing in a virtual world, there is really no reason to stay, except for some very good people... and those you can find in any game, or even (better yet) out your own front or back door in real life...  and for free... that might even get you somewhere in life; this certainly will not.

    The frustration level of the game is compounded by the arrogance and intolerance of the devs/gms, arbitrary standards, complete lack of review of these sanctimonious cowboys, and most horribly, the complete, utter, and total absence of its creator (who, by the way, is the ONLY ONE who can fix any problem, of any kind, realistically speaking).  My comments do not extend to all the dev/gms, only most of them.

    I have witnessed weeks of very nasty and exploitable 'fixes that just need to be tweaked'.  The pace of development is one the slowest snail could run laps around.  The creator pops in for, at most, 5 minutes a week to 'fix' or 'change' something and then, no matter how flawed or horribly wrong, cannot be found for another week.

    I think the game is determined to fail.  Almost every single change is 'fixing' things that don't need fixing, and breaking things that worked.

    I have witnessed waves of clueless noobs get nowhere, as well as waves of experienced players get pissed off... both types leave... sometimes in some not so great of circumstances as frustration leads to rage and results in 'griefing' in one form or other.

    What remains is a small and shrinking cadre of people who are very cliquish, intolerant, and hell bent on their own 'perfect' fantasy, no matter how many flaws really exist.  The word fanboi comes to mind.


    My advice: check back in a few years, if you ever try it.  If you don't, you won't have missed much at all.

  • truerune777truerune777 Member Posts: 44

    pretty good review,and thanks for pointing out that the creatures are hard to see at night,and also for pointing out that java is slow

    You have two choices,Die quick or Live tortured...choose wisely...I'll make you regret either choice

  • kurisukurisu Member Posts: 15

    Wurm is a game that takes a lot of time to appreciate. Much of what PD has written in the review is inaccurate, has changed, or is irrelevant. Also it is pretty ironic that PinkDaisy is now a GM for the game XD.


    This is the only game where 80% of implemented ideas come from players. Developers are constantly communicating with players (the client is now developed mainly by a group from the community who have increased performance, and made many changes asked for by the community).

    Upkeep on buildings is used partially to keep inflation down, and partially to recycle money into the NPC traders, which will only buy things when they are given money by the king (which is gained through a percentage of upkeep on deeds, and partially through profits gained from selling player made luxury (jewelry mostly) to the king).

    5Euro (7USD) a month for a game as unique as this isn't that much of a stretch. Being able to play for free with skillcaps assures that as person can get a feel for the game before buying premium, and casual players won't need to play.

    Fighting no longer consists of standing still and waiting.

    The game is however pretty slow paced (but continously rewarding) and therefore won't be for younger (and older) people who need lots of action. For those who like sandbox games, crafting, and immersion in their mmo, this is the perfect game for you.


    I highly suggest you get a t.v. or extra monitor set up for watching t.v. if you decide to take up a career in mining.

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