I've been around, off and on, for almost 10 years. And while yes, I do take frequent breaks, I always come back sooner or later. Wurm is the only game that I have ever played that feels like you're in a living, breathing, real, persistent world. It doesn't hold your hand and it doesn't railroad you into quests or recommended styles of play - it's up to the players to create their world and write their own stories, and NO other game does it as well as Wurm does. Well, maybe EVE, but I'm much more of a medieval/fantasy sort than space/sci-fi.
Anyways, I'm staying around. I remember the days before player gods and I liked how the main four gods had differences and very specific themes. Player gods always seemed like cheapened versions of the main four, and Nahjo is ridiculously OP for PVE. Part of the beauty of Wurm, IMHO, is players working together to accomplish things. So if I need Strongwall - I seek out a Mag priest. If I need a mailbox enchant, I find a Fo priest. Same with enchants. Having everything available on one priest seems to go against the spirit of priests and the game in general, at least as it used to be, and I thought the game was more vibrant when there was that clear differentiation between them.
Beyond those changes, what I love about Wurm and what brings me back:
- Players working together to accomplish huge projects, or even just helping each other out with little things.
- Animal Husbandry - for real, that is a really unique skill and for an animal lover like myself it is SO much fun.
- Having an actual "piece" of Wurm with the deed system.
- The creativity that Wurm foster, both in-game and out-of-game.
- The fact that Wurm is a slower, more relaxed game. It's great for chilling out after a stressful day at work.
- The shared history of the servers - every player can make their mark and in many cases their work and reputation will live on for years.
- Exploring and finding old disbanded deed locations full of history and sometimes loot for the taking.
- The community: while yes there will always be bad eggs, for all of that there are also a lot of incredibly kind and amazing players here, and there's almost always somebody willing to help newbies (or old farts like me that come back and have no idea what changed while I was gone).
- The impalongs and player-driven events.
- The content creation community - all you streamers and bloggers and tutorial/guide makers, you rock!
There's probably so much more, but I will close with a little anecdote. I've interacted with and have gotten to know lots of Wurm players during my time here, but 2 stand out in my mind. When I was deeded in NE Indy 9 years ago, not far from where I am now, 2 players, real-life friends, showed up and deeded close by. As the days passed, we chatted a ton, and it turned out we lived about an hour away from each other. We stayed in touch and eventually that turned into one of them helping me get a job with him in a different industry, which turned into us becoming RL friends. Now our spouses/families are friends, we've gone on vacations to gaming conventions and such together, and are actual RL neighbors - we both moved into the same RL neighborhood! And yeah, we're still playing this crazy little indie game called Wurm Online all these years later. And that's not an isolated story - I still talk to other friends that I've made here on a regular basis, regardless of if we're playing or not. That's really what brings me back, the people and the friendships that you can make here.