Before I begin this week, allow me to address a common assumption made from my last write-up with a clickable picture of my inventory.
Is that clear? Good. Moving on.
I next want to own up to my own deficiencies here. Wurm Online has made me feel the most noobish I’ve ever felt in an MMORPG in ages even after the tutorial. A tutorial that, by the way, I did indeed do; it’s literally impossible not to do the tutorial. I couldn’t get in to a different island until I got through the tutorial. The tutorial was done.
What the tutorial did was provide some basic instructions on how to move, enable tools, equip items, and use those tools and items on the land or on monsters as the situation demanded. It didn’t explain the nuances of crafting or introduce many of its layers. It didn’t go in to detail on the depth of process needed for procuring materials. It prepared me for the bare basics but did not give me a firm grasp of the depth of systems at play.
And to be clear, the fact that Wurm Online has deep systems is not a problem. It’s something to be celebrated and lauded. This game has layers. What I’ve taken issue with is its conveyance. It didn’t provide much of a cursory examination of those layers or provide information on how or why to chase those pursuits. The game doesn’t even really provide a particularly good tree of materials to follow, which is a valuable tool in knowing — or at least starting the process of puzzling together — how the pieces fit to start in on crafting things.
All that said, I own my failure in Wurm Online. I tried and clearly failed to sufficiently ingest the entire Wurmpedia or tie logical conclusions on my own. I made assumptions about crafting and building, the latter of which I was kindly informed by a player by the name of Mr. Gianna is actually meant to be a communal activity instead of a solo one like I’d experienced in myriad other survival sandboxes.
In the context of Wurm itself, many of the connections make sense. But the game itself did not provide guidance or even hints on those connections. And while I certainly could have asked the community for help beyond the format of our CMA community column and comments, the reaction my published fumbling elicited from a frankly embarrassing number of hardcore players didn’t exactly instill in me a sense of wanting to try or to care.
And you know what? I’m fine with that. It’s really OK if a game doesn’t lock itself well into my brain. Even if the game has a terrible sense of conveyance, it’s entirely possible that addressing those problems would not have made Wurm ultimately enjoyable to me. It certainly would have helped me build understanding and perhaps given me goals to work towards, but it’s also completely feasible that the time investment needed and my own schedule may not have lined up. It’s entirely possible that chasing those goals would not have been personally rewarding. I imagine that’s true for a wide swath of the MMO community too.
I’m never going to find out, and that’s all right. As frustrating as that all is and as thick of a roadblock Wurm’s onboarding was for me, I also recognize that I made mistakes and the lack of sense I was making to move forward was an ultimately insurmountable challenge. I could have tried harder. But I was too aggravated to do so. And this is a valuable lesson not just for me but for you – and for game designers too.
For those who dig in to Wurm Online there is, without a doubt, a truly deep and involved sandbox MMORPG experience here that is rewarding and substantial. I’m certain that the game itself has a scope that is hard to match by many games in-development or released now. That’s truly a wonderful thing, and I hope those who have dug in are enjoying themselves. Genuinely. What my personal impression is, though, is a game that does not direct the newly arrived to all of this depth of activity, which leads to boneheaded assumptions and frustration, both self-inflicted and game-inflicted. And that is a missed opportunity, especially for a game that hopes – and deserves – to grow.
I’m probably never playing this game again. It’s not for me. And that’s fine. I wish it and its players the best, and I do want to thank those players and CMs from Wurm who did reach out. But we’re moving on.
Next month I’m planning on having another Not So Massively mixture of multiplayer and MMO-peripheral games, with each week whittling down the choices as I dive in for a quick rumble around the variety of titles on offer. So that means there will be at minimum one poll each week (sorry). I do hope you’ll join me for those initial impressions, but it’s time to decide which impressions to chase first.
Which Not So Massively game should I hop in to first?
- Fallout 76. Step into the West Virginian wasteland. (47%, 89 Votes)
- Spellbreak. Fling spells angrily (and poorly) at others. (18%, 35 Votes)
- Rocket League. Car football! (5%, 9 Votes)
- Remant: From the Ashes. Shoot extremely spooky things. (16%, 30 Votes)
- World of Warships. Become a big shooty boat. (15%, 28 Votes)
Total Voters: 191
As usual, polling will close up at 1:00 p.m. EDT this coming Friday, September 25th. I hope to see you here next week, and once again I wish Wurm Online the best of success.