Once you have figured out how to keep yourself fed and hydrated, it is time to go house hunting. If you started on an established server, you might find there are ruins or abandoned houses that you could easily move into. On Release, at the start of the server (and still), things are pretty wild. There are forests, sand, dirt, water, and not much else. So with a veritable blank canvas, I looked to build my starter home.
Where to lay my hat
With little knowledge of things Wurm, I decided I did not want to venture too far from the spawn at Sloping Sands for my first home. The spawn would provide a sense of safety, and I knew if I died, I could get back to my house quickly. Being close to the spawn also helped decide where I would go since there are mountains to the North and East, a small lake directly West, and a large lake (now called Spawn Lake on the map) to the South and East. This left the South West for me to explore to find a suitable site.
Planning my house
About 100 tiles away from the spawn, I found my spot. I did not want to be right on the coast of the lake in case I wanted to later expand, so I found a decent area up a small hill (about 10 tiles from the lake) that I could flatten and make my own. A major part of picking a place to flatten is your digging skill. When I started flattening my little area, my skill was around 2 – when I finished, I was at 12.4. I wanted to flatten as small an area as possible so I could build my house as fast as I could – even so, it took a while. I went for a 1×1 house on 3×3 of flat land so I could plant some crops to eat right outside my front door.
Before I could start building, I first had to chop down the trees – I set aside the wood for later. Digging then, took a bit of time, but the beginner shovel proved up to the task and after a few hours, I had a 3×3 area of flat treeless land.
Building my house
To build a house, you need 20 planks and a large nail per wall, so for my 1×1 abode, I needed 80 planks and 4 large nails. The planks easily came from the trees I cleared to make the flattened area. For the nails, I used the public iron mine on the small lake to the West of Sloping Sands. A few whacks at the iron vein with my pickaxe, and I had enough iron ore for my small anvil and large nails. Fortunately, someone had built a forge in the mine so I used that to smelt the ore into iron lumps. Moments later, I had a small anvil. It wasn't high quality, but it would allow me to make the nails I needed.
After creating the nails, I went back to my flattened area and made a mallet from some of the logs I had set aside. The mallet lets you plan your house, just click on the tile and select 'plan building'. A 1×1 doesn't require a bunch of skill – 5 carpentry (1 for each wall and 1 for every tile) – which you should be able to get by sawing logs into planks to build your house. You get a writ once the house plan is finalized, which you can use to control the house later on, but is pretty worthless until the house is built.
Once planned, I simply used the mallet, clicked on the tile border and built a wall. Make sure you put at least one door on your house, and I've found that windows are nice to have too (in case you have to look outside to see if the bear has left). Repeating this process 4 times and the house is done.
The small anvil came in handy again when I wanted to secure my new home. I ran back to the mine to get some more iron and made a door lock. This is critical to keep people out of your house and to keep your stuff inside. After making the lock and placing it on the door, I freaked out – I couldn't find the keys to my house. I ran back to the iron mine thinking I had left them in the forge, but no keys – how was I going to lock and unlock my house? That's when the CA-Help channel came in handy – though I felt like the total noob that I was – houses have no keys, the locks are controlled by the writ. This actually gives you a lot of control over who can enter your house, and I think it is preferable to giving keys to all your friends.
Now that I had my house, I could use it to store my growing collection of stuff and as a base of operations as I explore further into the lands of Wurm Online. I could also try to figure out how I wanted to play in this sandbox.