Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Welcome back, Gankalicious, Wurm Has Been Waiting For You

When I first saw that on the loading screen it caught my eye. I ignored it but something about it gnawed at me. Insidious. Always present. Now when I log in and see this message I make an inner sigh of contentment. I'm home Wurm, I'm home.

Wurm is turning out to be extremely addicting. It’s beginning to cause problems with my addiction to World of Tanks. Between the two of them I may have some serious withdrawal symptoms when I have to go on the gaming wagon next month. It could be a tough 21-day gaming detox. First the shakes, then the sweats, and soon....dead babies crawling on the ceiling.

At the time of this writing I have logged 21 hours in Wurm. I have also walked over 30k according to my game stats- who says computer players are lazy? Similar to Ryzom I’m going to have to just reach a point where I decide that I have to move on. It may hit the maximum allowed hours or (because Raptr isn’t tracking it and you all will be none the wiser, mwahahahahahaha) maybe a few more than 40.

The UI is player friendly and I have no issues with it (have I mentioned I hate your UI Xyson?....good, let’s move on). It is a right-click, menu (and sub-menu) system in which you activate your item (say axe) and right click what you want to interact with (tree) and the options come up (chop). Easy, helpful, and lets you concentrate on the game. You can stack a few things up (depending on Stamina) so if you need to use the loo (in real life) you can set your ‘orders’ and head off for a few minutes knowing you haven’t lost any time. I really enjoyed this over that last few days in which I was off work, and the weather finally turned to spring. I could wander out into the yard with the dogs for a bit of a play and still be playing the game.....ahhh, the best of all worlds (yes, there was real ale involved as well).

This may sound a bit game-obsessive but Wurm is like that (and aren’t we all game obsessive in our own ways?). Everything you do builds your stats, or directly leads to something else. While playing I find that I am kept busy. There is some ‘grinding’ of course. Cutting a tree and chopping it into manageable logs takes around five minutes from start to finish. During that time you can chat or (as I often do) minimize and surf the web. Wurm is a Java game so you can also play it windowed with ease.

I am beginning to understand the game concepts (finally) and in comparison to Ryzom (which took around 9 hours) Wurm has a steep learning curve. Twenty hours. That’s how long it has taken me to understand how to feed myself properly, and how my skills are increased by the actions I perform. In my last post I huzzah’d over the fact I could fast and not die. As it turns out there is only so many times you can do that. In addition, every time you fast you lost half of your nutrition value. Lower nutrition values mean you do not gain skills as quickly.

Skill gain is pretty easy to understand overall. To increase your mining skill you mine. To increase your carpentry skill you build things. As you are hacking away in the mine additional skills such as pick axe, body (strength and stamina), and mind (soul attributes) will also increase. Similarly chopping trees builds wood cutting, axe, body, and forestry. Since I am only figuring out which skills affect what attribute I haven’t felt like I had to grind anything. I’ve simply been playing the game as I choose and my skills are increasing.

This is a nice feature. I don’t feel like I have to grind anything. I realize certain skills need to be improved and that there will be some repetition (digging big holes is apparently all the rage) but I’m not sitting in any one place for hours performing a single action. So far my longest ‘session’ of this was mining. I spent a nice half hour chatting with someone in game while spamming ‘mine’. Is that grinding? I like to think of it as maximizing your time!

In my next post I will turn away from mechanics and continue with the story of my survival in Wurm which may, or may not, involve a few more ‘appropriations’ from kindly neighbors.

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