I've been playing Wurm Online for about a month now and the most important thing I can recommend to new players is to RUN. Running is by far the most important skill in Wurm and your time in game will be enhanced if you learn a few tips.
Whenever you see the combat tab show up – RUN!
It has become my first instinct. When I started playing Wurm Online, I would see the combat tab appear and I would start looking around to see what was attacking me – WRONG! Looking around only allowed whatever was attacking me to get another shot or two in before I did anything. While it might be nice to see what killed me, I have found that if I start to run, I can click on the combat tab to see what was attacking me, and I might even survive. The default key for AUTORUN is X – use it whenever you see the combat tab show up or go red – it will give you time, and you will need time if you hope to survive.
Where to Run?
Run to Water
Once you are running, you have the opportunity to assess what is attacking you – click on the combat tab to see. If you are fortunate and are close to a coastline, you can run to water. Most mobs will not swim after you. Bears, crocodiles and anaconda will swim to get you, and they swim pretty fast. If your attacker is not one of these creatures, run to water and you will be safe – as long as you do not aggro a swimming mob on the way to water.
Run to a guarded deed
If you had the misfortune of being attacked by a swimming creature, your best chance is to run to a guarded deed. You should always try to remember the last guarded deed you passed so you can run in that direction if you are attacked. If you are lucky and fast enough, you can get to the deed and let the spirit guards attack the mob – saving your life. One side note: if you happen to shout Help! in the local chat channel, guards may show up from a guard tower if one is close enough, so it is useful to know where these towers are.
If you are too far from a deed or from water, just keep running, and try to spot landmarks that you will be able to comeback to after you die. If you see a guard tower, yell for help. If nothing else, run to an area you know you can easily get back to so you can get your gear.
When you die
Choice of where to respawn
When you die, you see a blood red tunnel indicating your demise. You are then given a choice of where to respawn. If you are new and not a member of a village or owner of a deed, your choice is limited to the starting settlement (on Release, that is Sloping Sands). Respawn and assess your situation – you get brand new copies of some of your starting gear, but your compass, among a few other things, is gone.
Run back to your corpse
Chances are, your corpse has a bunch of gear on it that you really want. Hopefully you did not die too far away and if you were fortunate to spot landmarks as you were dying, it should be easy to get back to your corpse – be careful though as the mob may still be around. Many times I have found that I die in a nice, undifferentiated forest which makes it difficult to return to my body. I have learned more of the map while on corpse hunts than I care to think about, but I have been able to locate my corpse each time so far.
Get your stuff
Once you find your body, open it up and take your stuff back. You can pick up the corpse if you need to, but it can slow you down. If the mob is still around, it may be best to run in, get your stuff, and run out rather then try to re-equip you weapon or shield or anything – there will be time for that later.
Bury your corpse
Whenever I get my corpse, after I look to see I am safe, I bury the corpse. I really don't like seeing evidence of my past combat failures, and it helps keep the map tidy.
One thing I have found difficult on the Release Map is the Kyklops who roams an area to the North West of the spawn at Sloping Sands. This guy hits like a truck – literally – he has hit me so hard I have flown into someone's gated area before. He also patrols the area, so when he kills you, chances are that he will be there or nearby when you come back for your body. And he kills guards pretty easily – so while running to a deed may help, keep going as he will take out the guards and come after you.