Wurm Online Putting the Sand in Sandbox MMORPGs
For longer than most gamers care to admit, we were not
only content to play, but were excited to play in theme park-styled
trimmings of each may have changed from title to title, but in the end,
were essentially the same game with minor differences. As a result,
been a growing call for someone to create a “true
sandbox” game. Well, a small
group of developers (Code Club AB) took up the challenge and Wurm
That old saying of, “Be careful what you wish for”,
at the forefront of my mind as I gave the game a whirl this week.
that also crept into my brain repeatedly, though this one may not be as
known since it’s normally reserved for developers that
don’t like to post on
forums – “Players think they know what they want
but they really don’t”. They
don’t mean that players don’t know what they like;
they just mean that while a
player thinks X would make an awesome system in a game and give them
there are a million game design reasons why it won’t.
Wurm Online is the most literal definition of a sandbox
game I’ve seen since an old space title called Battlecruiser
- a game from the
90s that wanted you to have complete and total control over a starship.
concept was great, and the team did a good job of bringing that concept
fruition as best they could. There was just one problem. The game was
insanely complicated that it made EVE Online look like a game for
to Wurm Online.
level of player creativity in the game is nothing short of astounding.
You can (and need) to do everything you can imagine.
Alright, I’m sure you can imagine a few things you
can’t actually do in the
game, but the level of thought and detail that has been put into Wurm
is, quite frankly, scary. If you set out to detail instructions for
the manual would look like a volume of the Encyclopedia Britannica
massive book of information
used to do school reports before the Internet, ya
While the concept is cool, herein lays my issue with a
game this detailed. If you want to light a lantern (and you will need
some point), you need to have flint and steel in your inventory,
it to activate it, then right click on the lantern and choose the
option. Interacting with virtually everything in the game requires that
kind of 4 step process to complete. There needs to be a certain level
automation and ease of use for basic actions that you will not find in
The terraforming system is a good example of this.
Imagine you come to a cave wall that you want to mine through and turn
tunnel. Setting yourself up for mining is another 4-stepper like the
lighting caper, but that’s not too big a deal here. Once you
click “Mine”, it
takes about 20 seconds or so to get a rock. *A* rock. You only need to
50 times to knock that wall down. Now I’m no math wiz, but
that means you’re
going to stand there for 15-25 minutes clicking
“Mine” before you actually make
a whole. To be fair, when you have better mining equipment, your mining
up, but dear gods… that’s a long time to make a
small amount of progress.
matter how much you want to, do not follow a giant spider into his lair.
Combat and healing are equally as complex and in depth as
anything else in Wurm Online. Any injuries sustained need to be healed
would be astounded at the level of detail the game goes into when
all the information you need about your wound. If your hand is injured,
example, the system will tell you what percentage of your hand is
what type of injury it is. It’s both incredible and
frightening at the same
Clearly, the game is not for me and as I’ve mentioned
before with other games, that’s ok. Wurm Online may not be my
cup of tea, but
it absolutely is for other players as evidenced by the extraordinary
work they’ve put into creating their own piece of the world.
boats, forests, and more – nearly everything you see in the
game has been
created by the player base using the tools provided in the game by the
developers. There are some incredibly astounding examples of creativity
display. The game is 100% free to play and free to download.
It’s also pretty
light on the hard drive, so if you have any interest at all, I urge you
in and give it a shot.
Online is a perfect example of a game I
personally don’t want to put the time into playing, but needs
to exist for
others to play in. For a while, I’ve been saying we need
developers to create
more niche games rather than giving us the same cookie cutter
been saddled with over the last few years. When teams create a game
designed for a small, focused group of players, the level of passion
dedication from those that love it are unmatched.
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