Why Play Wurm?

Scrappy indie MMO Wurm Online is rapidly becoming a contender in the world of MMORPGs. But if you haven’t tried it yet, why would you? Will you like it?

Today, Massively’s answering that question in a new column I really like – “Why I Play”, where individual columnists explain why you should play their favourite MMO. And in their inaugural episode is, yes, Wurm Online – and just why you’d play it

“I play Wurm Online because it speaks to a primal side of me that just wants to hide in a secluded part of the world and build my own place with my own two hands. I can build my home in a hole or on top of a mountain — heck, I can even build that hole or that mountain. I can build my own island from a patch of sea or live in a dark cavern. I can choose to create a small hut or a large castle. I can become a shipbuilder, farmer, animal breeder, miner, jeweler, ropemaker, weaponsmith, champion warrior, priest, or about three dozen other jobs that aren’t constrained by a talent tree, class restrictions, or any “holy trinity.” The freedom in Wurm is really unlike anything else you’ll find in any other MMO. You may scoff at that, but it’s true.

The first time I knew Wurm had grabbed me was when I was making my way up to Beau’s village. He had claimed a small piece of an island off the coast of the Independence server’s mainland, and it was up to me to find my way up there from the starter town. The game has no minimap and no compass (although a compass is now standard-issue for new players). I was to refer to a player-created map I found on the web, navigating only by landmarks and sheer luck.

It would take another two or three articles for me to describe that adventure in detail, but it really was the most exciting and challenging journey I had faced in any MMO thus far. It took me three play sessions of probably an hour each to finally reach the northern shore.”

Wurm sounds a lot like A Tale In The Desert to me – more and more each time I hear about it, in fact. The huge expanses, the sense of adventure at going out into the unknown, the maintainance problems – all sound very familiar.

And Shawn Schuster does a superb job of selling the strong points of a hard-simulation game like Wurm in this article. It sounds exciting, challenging, and refreshing. And above all, it sounds real – or at least as real as I want a virtual world to be, for now.

I’ll be interested to see how the “Why Play” column progresses, and what other games I find myself being sold on.

Go on, your turn. What game would you say we should play, and why?