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Etherdrifter

Thoughts on Wurm's Success (or lack thereof)

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I was intending to post this as a reply on another thread but it seemed a bit too derailing so I'll give it here:

 

1.  Wurm is essentially a MUD, the mechanics driving it are almost identical to those of a MUD, the only difference is wurm has some graphics glued onto it.  Its closer to a MUD than most games.

2.  If Wurm is just a MUD why are there not more MUDs out there with 3000 (ish) paid accounts attached to them?  (the most popular MUD at the moment is aardwolf and that rarely goes over 350 players online simultaniously which is less than half of what wurm manages on a good day and very few of those are paid (there is no concept of premium if I remember right)!)

 

Now one could argue that the crafting survival elements of wurm render it unique, however a great many MUDs have a stronger vE element as well as a much more in depth crafting system.  The trouble is that, as a MUD, wurm is pretty damn inferior to many out there in terms of content.  This allows me to say

 

3.  Wurm's main draw OVER A MUD is its GUI and its perceived ease of use.  This GUI is still HEAVILY text based.

 

In fact this is true of most mmorpgs during the "big era" of mmos.  They were just MUDs with shiney graphics.  Wurm caters for a (currently fashionable) niche and it should be much more popular based on that, however it is not.which leads me to

 

4.  A core issue with wurm as a mainstream game is its user interface; it relies too much on text and too little on visual (and audial) feedback which is the province of more popular mmorpgs.

 

 

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My personal opinion is that Wurm fills a niche between MUD and MMO. Perhaps Wurm could move more towards the MMO side without losing the MUD-like fans, but I'm happy playing a niche game as long as it's not losing money or anything.

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I think what Wurm needs is exposure. I never knew this game existed until my friend told me about it, and the way he explained it made me believe it was a 2d top down strategy game where you did stuff... Took me a year to try it and I quickly fell in love with it.

 

If there was more promotion and exposure out there, I am sure more people would play it.  Word of mouth alone does not suffice.

Edited by Angelklaine
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I have been reading threads on how to improve/make Wurm more popular for 5+ years. Many valid and damn good ideas have been posted but in the past I just think Rolf and team had their own vision and things moved at a snails pace. Now that they decided to put out Wurm Unlimited I have zero hope that Wurm Online will ever be much more than it is now. The player base is now fractured between the two and many new people are now spoiled by the insane xp rate of some of the WU servers not to mention being able to play without a sub. 

Wurm Online IMO is pretty much all that its ever gonna be. A slowly developed game built on a horrible platform that fills a small niche market. Im in that market and im ok with that. 

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I don't know if I'd ever expect Wurm to be a "mainstream game". Sometimes the best products are niche products. That said, I want it to be the best niche product it can be.

 

"Make it more popular", to me, is less important than "make it better and more professional". There are plenty of things we can look at in Wurm and say "Seriously, guys?!" about, whether it's temples not having a graphical model, all the silly little bugs, and so on. I'm fine with a focus on player retention, because we need that and I'm glad they're thinking a bit in that direction, but to me, the most important thing is to take a long, hard look at any remaining things that make Wurm hard to take seriously. So, while I don't think Wurm should really strive too hard to be some mainstream success, I definitely think it can succeed in its own right, and can do so by being the best version of itself it can possibly be.

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I definitely do not want to play another game that's just like all the other games. I like the MUD-ness of Wurm. Most of the other game playing friends I have do not. They want structure, pretty graphics and missions from NPCs. They also want games to be free and bounce from game to game all the time. *shrug* People want different things. 

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This was just a series of thoughts that might explain why wurm was not adopted as a mainstream game.

 

As a MUD wurm is incredibly successful, it outperforms the best performing MUD.

 

As an MMO wurm is less successful than it should be.

 

This is not because wurm is a bad game; quite the opposite.  It does seem, mostly, to be a lack of feedback that has prevented wurm from growing as other free to try subscription based mmos have (runescape for example, they are roughly of the same era).  To give some examples:

 

Magic is visually lackluster; most spells rely on text feedback rather than graphical or aural feedback to let the player know it has been cast.

Improving an item plays the "craft working" sound linked to the tool, but there is no aural indicator of success of failure and checking how to improve an item involves a lot of menu squinting.

Attacking in combat gives a sound effect when something is hit, but (barring the textual indicators or target bar, there is very little visual feedback that damage is being done.

A sword that you've sunk DAYS into crafting and enchanting looks identical to a sword someone hammered out just a moment ago.

 

It is, as has been said, a matter of polish.  A well polished wurm would do a lot better as an MMO while still leaving its content untouched.  A lot of wurm's problems could be solved by offering additional methods of player feedback.

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All the feedback in the world won't help as long as there's little money to pay developers.  There's a shortage of good developers, world-wide, and the good ones take the jobs that pay more.

 

Not only does it take money to pay graphic artists for the assets to make swords look unique, it takes money to pay developers to write a system to handle all of the additional assets without making the game unplayable for people who have played (and payed for) the game for years.  Yes, other games have solved these problems, but those games have budgets that are 100 times larger than Wurm's, due to much larger player bases, or deep pocketed investors.  Neither of which is an option for Wurm.

 

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And Wurm gets tons of feedback from the community. Sometimes I wish they got less! :D I would like it to be a little more polished, sure, but I would really hate it to go down the path of being more visual and less text based. I think it could be more accessible, but I'd hate to see it with a bleep and blurp for every imp action, a visual indicator for every hit, etc. To me, that stuff is boring and takes away from the depth of the game, which is why I hate most other MMOs. All flash, no depth. The ones I have liked are the "ugly" ones, I guess. Eve, ATITD, SWG to some degree. I think that's our niche. Non-graphically interesting, text-based, deep crafting/building, slow moving game fans who can create their own story. 

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The game's certainly come a long way from dudes in green tunics standing on horseback with arms stuck to the side.  I miss my slanted house, even though it made me sea sick, but adding second floors was a brilliant upgrade.

I think polish is a work in progress.  Seen so many games with mega budgets flail so much more than this small team... which didn't even used to be a team, it was just one guy in a Swedish outhouse with a super long extension cord to the willage plug.

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I think we can take a lesson from planet explorers.. totally differnet style of game but uses a friendly engine which can in game have user created bny pixel design weopons that are designed by users and then have unique traits, dmg etc..  all the while using a paint by blocks editor.. hmm..but they have a friendly engine that's the key assets can be added or subtracted with ease as they are just another set of pixels.. but yeah doing that ona whole with say 9000 players that's a lot harder I guess or is it??

 

As I said totally differnet genre and stuff but they do use bows,swords and shields in planet explorers too.. and it was a kickstarter.. anyhow.. enuf said..

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-Terrible UI

-Game mechanics hard to adjust to and lack proper explanation

-Game is very grindy and without seeing a greater scope of things isn't fun in any capacity. New players don't usually get the context of the game world

-New players need a real village, no ifs ands or buts

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ok ill bite

 

lack because

-they think theyre doing great, when in reality is 1 step forward and 2 back.

-they cater to a niche audience, used to, now theyre catering to a niche of a niche of an audience

-no direction, from a customers point of view, keep promising and working on stuff, but when show the roadmap its completely different to what players thought.

example, pvp, nothing,  light renderer, well they did some shadow renderer but not light renderer.

i could keep typing for a long time, but meh just google - wurm nerf

 

a few wu servers have had great beginnings, but after every patch most of them have had problems, not to mention the amount of bugs and spaghetti code.

to have a succesfull server you need a coding background and it also helps if you get free advertisement in the wo weeekly news. (still waiting

for that mod api that was promised) hey 8 years for bridges, im so impatient right? but seriously wu nor wo will get a clear real objectives roadmap or get fixed.

you see the promises and hopes is what keeps a few coming back to wurm. but hey it used to be a grinding game, now you can grind or grind cooking.

several years ago i said this could have been the best mmorpg ever. i dont believe that anymore. (i play wu almost everyday still, it still gives me something

that no other mmo delivers. but my expectations have been lowered so). it had the foundations, but somewhere along the road it got lost on these overcomplicated

thing that will scare away most players.

 

oh sorry did i say 1 step forward 2 steps back? i meant 1 step forward, several steps back.

 

disclaimer: if you disagree with me, good for you im happy you have your views and i respect them, even admire them, believe it or not.

BUT im not looking for arguments, responses, or conversions from my point of view, thank you very much.

 

prntscrnd and saved for eternity :P

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Players thoughts on Wurm's "success" or the way in which it should progress forward are of little relevance to effect those topics. Merely wishful thinking on a sunny day, dreaming away. The one who determines this is the person or group who controls the ability to make these decisions. In this case it is Rolf who has plainly made known that he has no desire to attract masses of players to the game but rather just to perpetuate it according to his own seemingly modest standards. This I find to be an admirable quality in that he is of the staunch character to resist player pressure or discontent and continue on enjoying what he has been doing to progress the game in its own slow and meandering way for years.

 

As Rolf has now taken a much less active role no doubt those now in control will pursue a somewhat different approach and pace of change but I don't foresee anything much different than to continue along the same path of the tortoise. Really, give it up on your own grandiose ideas of what the game should be or do and just enjoy it for what it is, for all you do is frustrate yourselves in the process.

 

Happy Trails (for 2017)

=Ayes=

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I'm just ranting here since server is down.

 

Wurm Online is a true sandbox and probably the only true sandbox game in existence.  The issue with it being a pure sandbox is that you have to have the community give you direction if you don't have your own.  Most MMO's have quests and guide you through what to do and give direction.  You are stuck on a template after a while and feel restricted or cookie cutter.

 

I think of Wurm Online like I think of Linux technology.  Unless a big company like Google embraces Linux, you have to rely on the community and if you want something changed you have to get involved.  If you want direction and not pure sandbox open world then you have to play a different game.

 

Once I put in my mind that Wurm Online as a community game and not a corporate game based mainly on how to make money from people and finding "whales" I've accepted it and kind of like it.  I've had my issues where it gets boring and the grind gets to you or your in the middle of the woods wishing for better graphics, but again it's all about community.

 

I've recently went to Chaos and joined a PMK and found a great community that gives me direction and when needed so I'm not bored or get burned out alone.  There is a lot of excitement in Chaos if your getting bored of other Freedom servers.

 

Chaos gets a bad rap, but it's actually very cool if you get with the right people.

 

If your super bored, come check out Dreadnaught Dynasty PMK in Chaos.

 

It's like in real life.  If you are not the type of person to go find something to do then there is nothing to do.  If you don't have friends to hang around that are always trying to do something new, then you get bored and wonder around your house.  Kind of like boring days on my deed where I roam around bored doing nothing.  Can do that in game or walk and moan around my house.  lol

 

I'm actually very impressed that this game has came this far with such a small amount of developers.  I do wish for more, but it is what it is.  I don't want Wurm Online to get too big with large corporate money, because I feel it will turn into something more of a profit money grab like some other MMO's and they will start changing the game from a true sandbox into something that forces you to into something you don't want to do so the game can focus on money instead.

 

You want a link to a disappointing money grab?  Here you go.  Thanks Lord British.  You suck!

https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/

I loved Ultima Online and when I heard the actual founder of Ultima was going to be remaking Ultima (Online) I got excited like everyone else and I put up $100 for the kickstarter.  Now the game has been reduced to a money grab and every email that comes out from this game is about donating more money and more money and more money and they keep reducing the game and making it not fun.  They wanted to raise $30,000 for a ingame hat design and people started donating all over it.  $30k for a hat design?  I'm in the wrong line of work.  Then I remember Lord British took most of the money from the community a few years ago and went to space instead of finishing a previous game.

Now I'm mad I wasted $100 on the kickstarter since it's changed up a lot from what the original idea was.  For one it turned from an Open World Sandbox to a Mini Maps and there is no real discovery anymore.  The combat is worse than Wurm Online.  lol

 

Point being.  Thanks to Rolf and all other developers for everything you have done with WO so far.  I do of course wish for more like everyone else, but.......            Couldn't be stuck in this drug of a game without you all. :)

 

When I win the lotto I'll donate a huge chunk to the game.  As long as I get to play with free premium.  lol

 

Biggest issue with the game is Java.  I understand that Rolf knew Java and that's why he used it to make Wurm.  Of course it needs to move on from Java (I'm not a programmer though) so there are more options and optimization for the developers.

 

Or the devs need to implement a lot of the cool idea that people have already changed in Wurm Offline (WU).  Give them a free year of premium for using their code. :)  I know we got the new horses from someone in the community and not someone that works for CodeClub.

Edited by nicedreams
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Okie, my 0.02 thinking. So, we do all the right moves and thousands of new players flock in. Can you handle it? How do you imagine it will be like?

 

Dozens of players like yourself coming to live near your deeds and follow your wise words to advancement and happiness? Or the usual MMO crowd coming in, demanding everything to change according to their needs, destroying everything they don't like in the process?

 

I've had a "returning player" the other day. Came to see if he might come back or not. He just destroyed a nice non-deeded grove to maybe make a home and never logged in since. Not really a problem, I've already did some restoration. But he was the good case. I dare not think about what will happen if the crowd I usually meet in MMOs end up here.

 

The good and the bad thing about WO is WO itself. The only people that can stand and enjoy WO are the people that can stand WO long enough to enjoy it. Please stick to attracting those.

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8 hours ago, Erlindur said:

Okie, my 0.02 thinking. So, we do all the right moves and thousands of new players flock in. Can you handle it? How do you imagine it will be like?

 

Dozens of players like yourself coming to live near your deeds and follow your wise words to advancement and happiness? Or the usual MMO crowd coming in, demanding everything to change according to their needs, destroying everything they don't like in the process?

 

I've had a "returning player" the other day. Came to see if he might come back or not. He just destroyed a nice non-deeded grove to maybe make a home and never logged in since. Not really a problem, I've already did some restoration. But he was the good case. I dare not think about what will happen if the crowd I usually meet in MMOs end up here.

 

The good and the bad thing about WO is WO itself. The only people that can stand and enjoy WO are the people that can stand WO long enough to enjoy it. Please stick to attracting those.

Freedom.txt

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What is success? Only when you manage to build a mega corporation? Or is this also a success, when you manage to run a small business, which pays your bills and you can save some?

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9 hours ago, Erlindur said:

Okie, my 0.02 thinking. So, we do all the right moves and thousands of new players flock in. Can you handle it? How do you imagine it will be like?

 

Dozens of players like yourself coming to live near your deeds and follow your wise words to advancement and happiness? Or the usual MMO crowd coming in, demanding everything to change according to their needs, destroying everything they don't like in the process?

 

I've had a "returning player" the other day. Came to see if he might come back or not. He just destroyed a nice non-deeded grove to maybe make a home and never logged in since. Not really a problem, I've already did some restoration. But he was the good case. I dare not think about what will happen if the crowd I usually meet in MMOs end up here.

 

The good and the bad thing about WO is WO itself. The only people that can stand and enjoy WO are the people that can stand WO long enough to enjoy it. Please stick to attracting those.

 

just throwing this out there, you need players to get money to get more players, this is called growth. every player has their dream game, and they will suggest accordingly, this in conjunction with a public suggestion board where people will argue over something for hours creates perspective. as many people as possible should be shown the game, not just those who would enjoy WO, but the problem is that this game isn't advertised, and huge player growth periods were stifled through actions such as "oh look a huge wave of new players, better cap the servers so we have even less players playing than we did before capping them" instead of upgrading the servers or reinvesting in the game.

 

the server caps are reasonable now, and that action by no means killed the game, but it certainly hurt its early growth. game is still in decline.

Edited by Propheteer

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8 minutes ago, Propheteer said:

 

just throwing this out there, you need players to get money to get more players, this is called growth. every player has their dream game, and they will suggest accordingly, this in conjunction with a public suggestion board where people will argue over something for hours creates perspective. as many people as possible should be shown the game, not just those who would enjoy WO, but the problem is that this game isn't advertised, and huge player growth periods were stifled through actions such as "oh look a huge wave of new players, better cap the servers so we have even less players playing than we did before capping them" instead of upgrading the servers or reinvesting in the game.

 

the server caps are reasonable now, and that action by no means killed the game, but it certainly hurt its early growth. game is still in decline.

If they advertise they'd have to face the facts that, judging by "tests" performed in the past, the servers are about as robust as a mid range laptop and actually upgrade them. So they'd need to budget both advertising and buying some servers from walmart to handle the new players. Judging by additions to the game this short of long term thinking is either deeply flawed and planned by someone possibly depressed, disinterested and drunk... or non existent.

 

People have been telling the devs to advertise the game for nearly a decade and they just dont. There must be a reason. They make enough cashflow from subs that they can afford a short term advertising campaign on occasion to tinker with unless it all goes to a Bank account earmarked by rolf as "illicit funds"

 

I really wish we, as a paying playerbase, knew the rationale behind the dev decision to never advertise and purchase better servers 

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Wurm's gameplay itself is niche and would not appeal to a wider audience.

At low skill levels, your action timers are dreadfully long and your success rates are abysmal.

At high skill levels you are looking at skill gains in the ten-thousandths to millionths decimal place.

People want instant gratification and Wurm does not provide that.

 

 

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On 02/01/2017 at 5:13 PM, Ayes said:

Really, give it up on your own grandiose ideas of what the game should be or do and just enjoy it for what it is, for all you do is frustrate yourselves in the process.

 

If wurm were a static game that was "finished" I would quite agree with your approach, sadly in view of wurms more "dynamic" nature I can only label such an approach as "head in the sand".  It is VERY likely that only a very small number of the player base are actually listened to with regards to wurm's future path, however one rather hopes to sway them rather than the devs.

 

18 hours ago, Erlindur said:

Or the usual MMO crowd coming in, demanding everything to change according to their needs, destroying everything they don't like in the process?

 

You make a very goodpoint.  The trouble is, judging from the amount of horrors I've seen on my travels (so many flat squares of land with paths sitting there), they must make up the majoriy of wurm's existing population already :P

 

10 hours ago, rixk said:

What is success? Only when you manage to build a mega corporation? Or is this also a success, when you manage to run a small business, which pays your bills and you can save some?

 

I would consider success in this instance based on ability for the game to attract and retain (not neccessarily paying) players.

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Resources, Vision-less, Volunteerism, Attitudes. etc. etc.

 

Wurm has never, and will never, be run like a real business. Success may be relative, but in this case it's just some niche basement project that never sees the light of day. It could, but it wont.

 

I love it, but it is what it is.

Edited by Shazaam
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The single above all else reason why I keep playing Wurm is the skill system which has no global cap. Not considering the exceptions.

 

From newbies standpoint skills are like carpentry, leatherworking, etc... and you will never hit any cap which tells you "Sorry you cant go above 20 Toymaking because you used up your pool."

 

When I had just started playing and within a week I was worried that if I would choose to become "a smith" that I wouldnt be able to master "carpentry" due to some restrictions. So I was seeking answers to this, which was hard because I wasnt believing the simple "no caps" answer. When the knowledge finally sunk into my mind, I felt so excited and happy about it that my fingers and toes were tingling.

 

On top of that, doing big (or bigger) things take big (or bigger) amount of time. We joke about "theres mountain blocking the view from your house? flatten the mountain" because its possible, just absurdly big task. So we wont see mountains being flattened, but back in our minds we know we could if we would.

 

(With these two things, there just isnt game like wurm. And I would need to fight hard with my mind to consider that wurm is like MUD with graphics. Although, I have no idea how much and in what directions MUD's have evolved in past 15 years. All I can think of is MUD's back in early '90. There could be no-skill-limit 1-100 percentage based skill system MUD with ability to modify the map to your will. That kind of MUD would be easier to think being "like Wurm". Also one of the things about games which are not heavily leaning on graphical side is that they might be much more complex under the hood. In Wurm we're just dreaming about minigamification of Taming skills for example, some MUD's might give players ability to raise armies of armored goats each individually trained. So heck, what is that comparison between MUD and Wurm even?)

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On 3.1.2017 at 5:18 PM, Tryfaen said:

At high skill levels you are looking at skill gains in the ten-thousandths to millionths decimal place.

People want instant gratification and Wurm does not provide that.

 

I am addicted to seeing trough the last 0.0175 of Blacksmithing to hit 100.

 

Hit 90 around 2012.

Hit 99 around 2014.

 

Surely you must be onto something. ;)

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