I've been spending most of my game time playing around in Wurm Online these days and I am definitely hooked.
If you haven't heard about Wurm Online yet, it is a sandbox game that falls somewhere between a large scale persistent Minecraft and a medieval Sim City. The goal of the game, as far as I can tell, is to survive and thrive in a world with only the skills you learn and characteristics you improve through use. Items, like in Eve and Minecraft, are all built by the players, so any houses, fences, towers, swords, or armor are all made by the blood and sweat of players. In Wurm, you can own a deed and architect a village, build a ship and sail from server to server, or simply wander into the wilderness to test your survival skills and ability to start from scratch. This is the world I found myself drawn to with the latest release. Wurm Online 1.0 was released just before Christmas and along with it, two new severs were opened up – Pristine and Release.
Running the Game
To start out in Wurm, you first need to ensure you have Java installed. And, being a Java game, Wurm can be played on a variety of platforms – I'm playing on Windows 7 and Mac OSX. While running ESet security, I initially set my firewall to learning mode so that the various ports were allowed access and after a few iterations of trial and error, I got things up and running consistently. I do periodically get a Java out of memory problem (because of a memory leak), but they are becoming few and far between as the client gets frequently updated.
There has been a bunch of security issues with running Java lately, but looking into the issue, the recommendations seem to focus on disabling Java from running in a browser. I have turned off Java in all of my browsers (IE, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome) and have not had any negative impact on running Wurm. A good link for disabling Java is at Krebs on Security.
Creating a Character
Character “creation” is done on the website. I use the term loosely because there really is not much to “create” – you simply supply a character name, email address, and a password. There are no races, classes, or skills to choose. Once in game, a character is given a hand mirror that allows them to customize their look, but that is the only thing that distinguishes one character from another. Everyone starts out as the same blank slate. As of a recent update (14 Jan), I would recommend waiting to use the mirror to customize your look until after you have finished the tutorial and have selected which world you are going to, as there was some mention of a reduced characterization feature on the tutorial server.
I'll go over the Tutorial in another post, but I wanted to at least mention that you should definitely run through it, and pay attention. There are a lot of things in this game that are a bit different than in other MMOs, for instance, terrain affects walking speed, you can take damage from falling, and you are better off attending to eating and drinking as they improve your performance.
At the end of the Tutorial, you are presented with the option of choosing which world you want to go to. The Epic servers are PvP and I haven't tried them out yet, and the Freedom servers are PvE. The two newest servers are Pristine and Release (they are PvE), with Pristine being about a week older than Release. As of right now, Pristine and Release are connected and you can travel between the two in a boat. The other Freedom servers are connected to each other as well, but not to Pristine and Release. Devs have said this will change in the future, so you should be able to move between any of the Freedom servers in time. From what I understand, you can also move around on the Epic servers, but I haven't looked into that much – I have enough to deal with learning PvE without worrying about PvP.
I hope you give Wurm a try. It has been a blast figuring out the skills and materials required to do different things ingame and I can foresee this learning and enjoyable experience to go on for a while.