Wurm Online: First Impressions

Posted Tue, Jul 01, 2008 by Ralsu

By Danny "Ralsu" Gourley

Wurm Online
is unlike any other game I have played in a long while. The offering from OneTooFree AB offers players a sandbox world, an unsettled land for gamer-pioneers. Ten Ton Hammer needed a pioneer to explore the world of Wurm Online, and I answered the call.

Download and Installation
Before downloading any game, it's always best to check out the system requirements. Things work a bit differently for Wurm Online. The game is based entirely in Java. And aside from knowing that you need Java, the official Wurm Online website doesn't reveal much else. I've listed my system information, which is likely far beyond the minimum requirements of the game, below:

Operating System
:
Windows Vista
CPU
:
Pentium 4 3GHz
Memory
:
3GB
Graphic Display
:
512MB GeForce 8600GT

Wurm Online delivers better graphics than most gamers imagine when they hear a game is Java-based. (Picture from Wurm Online Wiki)

Gamers can download Wurm Online directly from the official website. The download is a small Java panel file.The install size on my hard drive is a little over 100MB. It's really small. Players double-click on the installer, which unpacks a few files and serves as the launcher.

After two tries (the first try failed) and ten updates were downloaded, I was ready to play. I just had to make an account for myself. The account creation was a little different than normal. I was asked to pick a character name instead of a login and a password. And there some unexplained string of letters and numbers on the account creation page. I wasn't sure if I would need that information or not. My confirmation email told me that my account was active, but it did not specify what my login and password were. I tried my character name and that password and got into the game.

Character Creation
Character creation for Wurm Online is completed during account registration. It would seem that gamers get one character per account. You are asked your gender during account creation, which may affect the appearance of your avatar, but I was unable to test this as the game is played in first person and players do not see their avatars.

Gamers experience an undeveloped world that can look very real in Wurm Online(Picture from Wurm Online Wiki)

Interface and Controls

The first thing I saw when I started Wurm Online was a blank white screen with a mouse pointer seeming to highlight an object called roughly "paved stone." After about 5 seconds, everything on the screen had drawn in for me, and I could actually see the path in the town with the stone my mouse was hovering over. Aside from that initial draw time, I did not experience any other significant delays or hitching. It is worth noting that I was running on 1280 x 1024 resolution with all graphical settings at their maximum.

The interface for Wurm Online is simple. A text box on the bottom left of the screen keeps up with area chatter. Another on the bottom right displays system messages. A menu object at the top of the screen reminds players which function keys to press to access the Console (F1), skills (F2), inventory (F3), or quit the game (F12).

Characters move by using the WASD keys with Q and E, but there was a major hitch here for me. Unlike almost every other WASD-based movement game I have ever played, the A and D keys in Wurm Online are for strafing. Players have to learn to use the Q and E keys to turn while walking. It's a little awkward, and it was a major strike against the game for me.
 
There's more to Wurm Online. Keep reading.

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