Wurm Online is a sandbox MMO set in an enormous medieval world, where players are free to do as they please. Harvest resources and crafting items to participate in a virtual economy, and level up skills. Settle a village and form a thriving community with other players, or carve out your own piece of land anywhere in Wurm Online’s world.
|Publisher: Code Club AB
Type: MMO Sandbox
Release Date: December 12, 2012
Pros: +Persistent sandbox world. +Helpful, dedicated community. +Numerous skills/professions to level.
Cons: -Complex user interface. -Dated graphics. -Requires time commitment to play effectively.
Wurm Online Overview
Wurm Online is a medieval sandbox MMO developed by Code Club AB, a team composed by friends Markus “Notch” Persson and Rolf Jansson. Everything you see that isn’t a part of the earth is created by players in Wurm Online. Roads, villages, caves, and kiosks all started with a player’s dream. And the world is enormous, separated by thick vegetation and varied environments such as mountains, deserts, and frozen fields. Few other sandbox MMO’s give players the same level of freedom as Wurm Online. Dropped in the world, you’re able to pursue any task you want—carving out your own place in its universe. Cut down trees and mine for ore to collect invaluable resources. Transform them into new materials through crafting, and sell them to players in a robust virtual economy. The more you use a skill, the more proficient you become and make yourself more able to carry out tasks. As an artisan, join a player-run village or start your own, anywhere in the world—building homes, taming livestock, and creating a safe-haven for other players. Level combat skills and hunt creatures for rare resources. Or, engage in kingdom PvP warfare in a fight for territorial control.
Wurm Online Key Features:
- Persistent sandbox world - players are free to do as they please—craft, build, fight, and explore an enormous landscape brimming with mystery.
- Village forging - create a settlement anywhere in the world, and attract players to form your own city-state.
- Huge skill list - level numerous skills, increasing your proficiency and unlocking new ways to manipulate the environment.
- Large scale warfare - join a kingdom on a PvP server and go to war with other players for glory and territorial control.
- Terraforming - armed with a pickax and shovel, alter the environment however you want—cutting down mountains or digging deep into the Earth.
Wurm Online Screenshots
Wurm Online Featured Video
Wurm Online Review
By, Sean Sullivan
Wurm Online, one of the first game’s designed by Markus “Notch” Persson, is an MMO with no rival for its ability to convey the sandbox experience. Disclaimer: Wurm Online is undoubtedly not for everyone. While some Minecraft mechanics are evident in the game, it is an entirely different beast. It’s Minecraft’s scholarly Uncle who drinks Mead because he thinks civilization peaked with Charlemagne. Wurm Online follows in the footsteps of Ultima Online, delivering a brutal world with nearly unlimited freedom. While the graphics and UI are dated it may constitute the concept “sandbox” in its most Platonic form. It lets you do what other MMO’s won’t.
Shaky Feet (Vertigo City)
Compared to any other MMO, Wurm Online’s user interface is as far from intuitive as Chile is from Mongolia. It is not a pick up and play game. There’s an extensive tutorial and I implore new players to soak in every mechanic presented. Navigating the interface can feel like a chore at first. I wanted to cut down an Apple Tree, because I’ve had a vendetta against Johnny Appleseed since Kindergarden. So I have to equip my saw. Pressing “I,” I open my inventory, then right click, then equip, then I have to click the saw on my character sheet, “C,” so that it’s green to actively use it. It's a text-based chain of reactions that seems tedious at first, but you do eventually feel the groove and navigating the menu becomes second nature. But it's easy to see how new players may log off before leaving the tutorial. And that's a shame because there's plenty to offer, even character customization.
Wurm Online is a hardcore game; if you want to customize your character you better stare at your reflection and contemplate your ugly self. Using the hand mirror, located in your inventory, you can shape your face to resemble your true nature. There’s a few options to distinguish your appearance, such as facial hair and complexion, but no real depth to the system. Choosing from the predesignated appearances I ended with a bowl-cut; a mustache wielding force, the likes of which this world has never seen. While completely rudimentary, characterization seems almost irrelevant. Wurm Online, while a 3D world, places more emphasis on mechanics than aesthetics.
Marco Polo This World
Wurm Online was released in 2006, and it shows its age. The graphics are dated, appearing like a sharper Elder Scrolls: Morrowind. But unlike visually similar games, Wurm Online's world is alive. The game has four seasons, that cycle, and vegetation reacts to the changing temperature, unlocking new ingredients such as maple sap—only available during starfall of the Bear. There is a dynamic weather system with rain and snow, as well as a night and day cycle that’s about three hours for every 24 hour day in-game. And all life in the world ages and dies, whether they be bears or trees. You may be the last player to spot an aging bear while exploring.
Although its graphical presentation is simple, Wurm does do an excellent job of shrouding its world in mystery, a difficult immersive quality to evoke. Traveling through the forests I could never tell what lay beyond the initial vegetation of trees to my left and right. They act like a veil, protecting the deep wood’s secrets. And mountains in the distance give a sense of presence, to some stone unturned waiting for a player to trod by. Some players will not be able to see past the Java-based graphics, but an older crowd may feel the same excitement as when they launched EverQuest for the first time. I was propelled along by the mystery, skipping to the music.
Entering the game I was greeted by relaxing guitars. It was just like the first Diablo; I expected Deckard Cain to pop out of a bush and yell, “I ain’t dead yet!” And when I left the safety of my home village, music clearly inspired by Enigma’s Sadness (Part 1) guided my journey like I was on my way to a Yani concert. It’s all very pleasent, and makes the daunting task of discovering your place in the world relaxing.
New Beginnings (Again)
After running through the tutorial you can jump through an ectoplasm portal to the server/island of your choice. You can either enter the Freedom Islands, primarily non-PvP, or Epic Islands where player warfare is as routine as the mail. I elected for Freedom, as I struggled to get my bearings in this strange land, settling for Xanadu—the largest island.
Wurm Online is composed of multiple servers, some being PvP while others exclusively PvE. Each server is completely unique, with its own land masses and climates. Some are small enough to be traveled in a matter of hours, while others are enormous and would take days to circumnavigate. Every now and then a new server is created, and like an island rising from the sea it is completely devoid of human structures. Everything on a server that’s not natural is created by players, including roads, towers, buildings, and mines. In that way, it’s similar to Second Life launching a new node, expanding an ever-growing world with new possibilities.
Realizing how many choices you have in Wurm is daunting. Freedom is a terrifying concept to live with, because no one’s going to hold your hand and tell you what to do. With absolutely no guidance I wandered from my starting village in search of an answer, considered giving up my life and meditating in the center of Greymead until the end of my days. But I was brave, leaving the village through the Palisades gate and embarked on a journey along the only cobblestone road in sight. Equipping a saw I discovered I could chop down a tree; my purpose realized, I was saved.
As I chopped away with the determination of an insulted prom queen, my skills were slowly leveling. The more you perform an action the better you become at said action, i.e. chop down a tree and you’ll increase your proficiency with Woodcutting. But, no skill is isolated. And as I was chipping away bark, my character was also increasing his proficiency with Mind and Body. Turns out that chopping down trees is a fast-track to self-discovery, and a good substitute for steroids. Every skill starts at 1.00, and can then be leveled to 100 with a Zen level of patience and perseverance. As you level you’ll unlock new ways to interact with materials and the world. Leveling forestry to 30 lets you identify how many rings a tree has, whereas 25 points in locksmithing enables the production of lockpicks. It's intuitive, but I was determined to see more of the world than an ocean of trees, and set off down the path.
Dying Again and Again
On my travels I came to a crossroads, with three available paths before me. A sign to my left read “Beware! Bumpy road ahead!” So, of course I took the bumpy road, unsure if it was literal or metaphorical. I made a huge mistake and ended up at a dead end (foreshadowing). Trying to return to Greymead, I encountered a venerable scorpion blocking my path. The sly creature waited for me to return, hungry for flesh. Equipping my iron short sword I right clicked and targeted the creature. And that was pretty much the end of gUMBLE the explorer. Tactically stepping up to the scorpion, the beast proceeded to wreck my day—she would have torn me in two if the game supported the animation.
Combat is lackluster, and far from the focal point. Again, the resemblances are inevitable—it’s like Ultima Online in a 3D environment. You select attack, and your character swings away. If you have the needed armor and skills you’ll succeed, otherwise you’re dead. It takes time to build up to a combat ready state, so you can’t jump into the game and immediately find some kobolds to grind. But if you do persevere there is a wide array of weapons, from mauls to bows, and spells to go to war with.
Unlike an MMORPG with player housing, like Archeage, players are free to build their home wherever they want in Wurm Online. The world is your foundation. And the world is so vast that there will almost always be a desirable plot somewhere unspoiled. Build as big of a structure as you want, or strive to create a megalopolis, transforming nature into civilization. But it’s an organic process, each element must be collected to build—chopping down trees, mining, and crafting before the first wall can be erected. And that commitment is inevitably rewarding, as the time and effort taken to construct a house is immense. If you want to build I highly recommend heading to the Wiki and reading the guide, because there’s a lot to consider before building your first structure.
A Community Gathering
While the community in Wurm Online is small, they are tight-knit and one of the most enjoyable I’ve played with—helpful, talkative, and interesting. My chat log moved from existential crises and humanity's place in the universe to tips and tricks, with players more than willing to help out newbies. It makes sense. With Wurm Online’s almost overwhelming mechanics, and brutal world, the players who stick around beyond the first day are going to be dedicated.
The vast majority of the game's content is available as free-to-play. But there a few spheres of gameplay locked off behind a monthly paywall. Premium accounts remove skills caps and unlock the choice to play on any server. Some other consequences include being able to build stone houses, and captain all sailing ships. Game time can be purchased in-game with 10 silver coins at any settlement token. I highly recommend getting your bearings in the game before choosing to go premium.
Final Verdict - Good
To be clear: No, Wurm Online is not a game for everyone. But when you're are hooked on Wurm, it’s an unrivaled passion, a je ne sais quoi feeling that no other MMO can evoke. And that’s because Wurm epitomizes freedom in a sandbox MMO, but freedom demands endurance and perseverance. It’s a rewarding feeling when you finally build your first house, a sense of accomplishment you won't find anywhere else. Wurm Online is a game for players looking to absorb themselves into a complex world, brimming with mystery and carved with patience.
Wurm Online Videos
Wurm Online Links
Wurm Online System Requirements
Operating System: Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7
CPU: Pentium 4 2.0GHz or Athlon 64 3500+
Video Card: GeForce 2 MX 400 64MB or Radeon 9250
RAM: 1 GB
Hard Disk Space: 1.5 GB
Wurm Online is a Java game and will run on Mac and Linux.
Wurm Online Music & Soundtrack
Wurm Online Additional Information
Developer(s): Code Club AB (formerly Onetoofree AB)
Designer(s): Rolf Jansson, Markus Persson
Game Engine: Java, (OpenGL for rendering)
Closed Beta: 2003
Open Beta: 2006
Release Date: December 12, 2012
Development History / Background:
Wurm Online was developed by Swedish development company Code Club AB. It was developed using Java and rendered with OpenGL. Friends Markus "Notch" Persson and Rolf Jansson began development in 2003, and the game entered closed beta the same year. After three years of closed beta the game became open to everyone in 2006. Soon after Persson left the project to focus on other prospects, namely Minecraft. The game was officially released on December 12, 2012. Numerous critics have cited Wurm Online has a"true sandbox title." Persson's Minecraft project was a huge success, but he learned a lot from his experience with Wurm Online.