Wurm Online: First Impressions (Page 2)

By Danny "Ralsu" Gourley Graphics
By Danny "Ralsu" Gourley

Aside from the few seconds it took for the Java console to render all of the graphics when Wurm Online first loaded, I was pretty impressed with the look of the game. Landscapes are probably its best feature, especially when looking out at the horizon. Once I got out of the starting village, I saw a solitary mountain covered with trees that looked very much like one that is a few miles from where I live.

The city of Kyara was built entirely by players.

Everything in the game has the feel of a photograph--albeit a slightly pixelated one. from a distance, forests look good. Up close, the illusion breaks down a little and pixels and jaggies show up. Character models are somewhat the same. At the edge of your screen, they almost look like photos, but they look rougher up close. All in all, I found it impressive for a Java game that installed at 100MB.

Game Play
Wurm Online is like the old multi-user dungeons (MUDs) of yore. There was no non-player character (NPC) with a shiny symbol over his head waiting for me when I popped into the world. The adventure was out in the wild. I just needed to go find it. Just a few yards from the village I spawned in, I found a "pile of key." What was that key for? Why was it lying on the ground? All I had to do was explore.

Furthermore, everything in the world was interactable: fence posts, doors, trees. You name it, you could inspect it and (presumably) alter it. That's the real draw of a game like Wurm Online; players are invited to go create their own adventures and forge their own paths through a wilderness land filled with the unknown. The official Wurm Online Wiki, called WurmPedia, relates the story of Kyara, a town created entirely by players.

Also like the MUDs of years ago, combat in Wurm Online is very text-heavy. The monster has a graphical representation on-screen, but players need to look at the special text-based combat screen and the system text window to really follow the action.

Combat is very text-heavy.

Parting Thoughts
Having noted that Wurm Online is a very open game that encourages exploring and imagination, I have to confess that I have already uninstalled the game. I don't know if I have grown lazy because of graphical masterpieces like Vanguard and Age of Conan. Maybe I am spoiled because of the hand-holding NPCs from games like World of Warcraft and EverQuest 2. It could be the simple fact that the days of MUDs has come and gone.

I can't honestly say if Wurm Online is a great game or a horrible game. I only can say that it failed to hold my attention. I still think it could appeal highly to the crowd of gamers 30+ who wear their MUD experience like badges in forum signatures.

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