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MinorArchitect

Brief History of Golden Valley and It's Shutdown(For a new Player)

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Hi all. Just wondering if anyone can give me a good explanation of exactly what Golden Valley was, when and why it shut down and the events leading up to the shutdown. I've read a few things here and there but I've never gotten the whole picture. There's not any particular reason I want to know, I am just really curious as to why GV closed up shop to the Newbies, as it seemed like the perfect place to start playing, but I know there would have been a good reason for it. I just can't think of it. So yeah, If anyone could educate me on some Wurm history, That would be appreciated.
Cheers!

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Golden Valley started as a server for new players. A non premium server. Since back in the day freedom was Premium only. I believe it was shut down due to freedom no longer being premium only. 

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GV is the login server and manages things like your money bank, premium purchases and crossing servers, if there's lag on it caused by people being on the server it negatively impacts all servers.

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Ok, thanks. But I am still a bit curious. I understand that Haven's Landing replaced GV, but why was there not a designated tutorial/newbie server? I would have thought that keeping the newbies sheltered from the big bad world of Wurm would help them learn the way of the land better. Also, on a side note, with the whole improving player retention thing tat is being worked on, if having a newbie server is in reality too hard to do, I would have thought that one of the first and easiest things to do would be to make the tutorial shorter, and/or well... better. It has been hard to get some of my friends to start playing because the tutorial takes about 45-60 minutes and is confusing, and one of them stopped playing right after the tutorial for that very reason. Anyway, like I said, just a side note, different topic for a different conversation.

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1 hour ago, MinorArchitect said:

I would have thought that keeping the newbies sheltered from the big bad world of Wurm would help them learn the way of the land better.

 

 

Actually they found newbie retention worked BEST when new players had a chance to intermingle with others, including having more experienced players take them under their wing and teach them the ropes.

 

 

Wurm has a very harsh learning curve, and throwing new players in a more deserted area when they have no idea what to do made them feel abandoned and confused.  Being spawned in at the very center of Indy, able to run around and see other players, being invited into their homes, taught how to play, ended up triggering a major huge leap in population (circa 2010-2011) compared to the years before.  My own very first few forays into Wurm were under the "old system" where, unless you payed in advance for a subscription to a game you knew nothing about, you were sidelined onto a quarantined  "new player server" (GV). Both times I tried (a year or two apart) it was a very frustrating experience and I didn't last more than a few hours either attempt.

 

My third attempt was after new players were all welcomed into Indy (back when The Howl was the main introduction to Freedom Islands), and the experience was night and day. I was immediately  "adopted" by an experienced player who helped me get past those first weeks of difficulty, which made it possible for me to then venture out into the wilderness on my own and know what I needed to do. That was eight years ago and I have never left the greater Wurm community since, outside of very short breaks of a few months here and there.

 

You can skip the tutorial if you already know how to play. Just type /skiptutorial into the chat box. But if they have truly never played, and if they don;t have a friend to teach them, the full tutorial is HIGHLY recommended. I ran through it on a new character when the new one came out and I really can't recall it requiring anywhere near 45-60 minutes to get through....???  I was highly impressed.  Prior to that I think Retro can confirm I was truly a loud and snarky thorn in the devs side about the total lack of a decent tutorial for new players. We finally got what we asked for and I think it works great. Only Retro can tell us whether it made any impact on new player retention at all.

 

Have you actually run through the new tutorial yourself on a fresh character? It's a million times better than what we had in the five or so years of "no tutorial except posted signs" after they initially killed off the old GV hands on tutorial, and better as well than the old hands on  tutorial from around 2009-2013 ish 

Edited by Brash_Endeavors
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2 hours ago, MinorArchitect said:

I would have thought that keeping the newbies sheltered from the big bad world of Wurm would help them learn the way of the land better.

 

We have actually had new players thinking that "nobody plays this game" cause they saw no other people on GV, thinking it was the whole game there. Much better now to have them on a "real" server.

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Golden Valley wasn't shut down, you start there, in the tutorial, in a fenced in area with no means of getting out (is the tutorial still on GV by the way? Last time i made a new character, it was). Plenty of players have characters left outside the tutorial where you can roam freely around the map (myself included)

As someone who started and played on GV for a while, the concept was and still is good, but the execution was terrible.

 

You had 3x decay, deeds weren't allowed and skills were capped at 20 even if you were premium, there were no priests, and the strongest animal was a cave bug.

The server itself is also the smallest server in Wurm, and became extremely overcrowded, free space was difficult to find (terraforming was limited to 60 slopes at 20 digging) and items such as ropes, pelts, compasses, and more being considered luxury items, and wild animals were pretty much non existent, so living there was not very good, plus since everyone was capped at 20, you had lower quality items, and things took a lot longer to make. Many people were turned off by all this.

 

However i'm not sure if it was worse, compared to today where you appear on one of the current massive servers with nobody around you, then running off into the wilderness only to get mauled by a bear and getting lost, and probably not meeting anybody due to the lack of players and the size of the servers. You really do get extremely overwhelmed.

 

Also i think the signs around New Dawn that were the "tutorial" had a really good charm to them and made the world feel more alive and really made you feel like you were part of a huge community. 

 

Sure, when Independence was the only server and got opened for everybody, you had a massive influx of new players and veterans alike returning and settling near the Howl, so you had a lot more players there, so it was a lot easier and more appealing for someone new. Now you have a dozen or so servers to choose between from so the small playerbase are much more spread out. Choose the wrong server, and you might not even meet anybody in local for days. 

 

When i started on GV, there were players everywhere, i remember looking across the hill from the spawn and seeing houses and campfires burning in the distance, hearing all the players working, seeing PAs that had the exclusitivity to live in one of the deeds on the server where they helped new players as much as they could with food, items etc... You don't get this nowadays.

Edited by atazs
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We also haven't mentioned in this thread that one of the biggest problems with GV (in its prime) was that people were quite content there (no matter how many premium features you dangled in their face) and many had no interest in going premium... let alone abandoning their already existing compound they had built themselves there to then have to start fresh on a new server.

It fragmented the playerbase and was a bad business model. That's why it's no longer habitable (unless you have a "grandfathered" account there).

Edited by As_I_Decay
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As someone who also still has a reasonably *active* character on Golden Valley, I can say that atazs largely has it right in that post.  The very first paragraph, though, is no longer accurate with the introduction of Haven's Landing on Independance as the point where a brand new character first enters the game.

 

Originally, Golden Valley had the tutorial area around New Dawn (all deeds were staff-created as players at that time couldn't create their own) with easy steps a brand new player could learn the game from by cutting some trees, sawing some planks and cutting some shafts, and creating a mallet by following the directions.  I believe it also included learning mining and metalwork at a mine with an iron vein and forges nearby just off the E-W highway at New Dawn.  That highway was called 'Amnesty Road' and connected the three starter towns of Glitterdale, New Dawn, and First Light.  It wasn't "a fenced area with no way of getting out", there was just the fence around the forested timbercutting part of the casual tutorial with an opening to get out to explore the rest of Golden Valley and learn at the blacksmithing part or visit the merchant to buy tools to give you a bit of a head start.

 

In those days, only premium characters could portal off Golden Valley into Independance (PvE) or Wild (PvP), so Golden Valley was exclusively the place for those who'd not signed up for Premium and the great staffers that hung around to offer their assistance to those new players (and others who'd remained).

 

The walled-in fenced tutorials came after the main body of Golden Valley was closed off to new players, starting with 'Kings Academy' (the one with just signs you walked through till finally reaching the portal to the Freedom Isles or Wild/Chaos).

 

When the change came (many years ago, about 10 years by now) that allowed non-premium into Independance server,  players on GV were given the chance to pass through portals taking what they could in their inventory to join the premium players on Freedom (Independance) or PvP on Wild (currently known as Chaos and now linked to the Freedom Isles instead of existing seperately).  At the time, Independance was the only PvE server in the 'full game' and new players spawned in the Howl after going through the walled-off new tutorial on GV known as Kings Academy.  Rolf generously stated that those players who wished to remain on GV as sorts of exiles would be allowed to, though no longer actively supported.  That's why there are still some characters existing on Golden Valley.  A lonely existence as wilderness hermits limited to having 20 as the max skill and characteristic level and forced to effectively be non-premium, for sure.  Some players there in the past sold off these legacy characters for silvers in the forum for a few years afterwards for a profit.  Not something I'd encourage now, though, with the time that's passed and changes that could be expected.

 

Anyways, by doing a Google search you can find some of the old Golden Valley maps on unofficial sites. 'Golden Valley map',  etc.  These all used to be in the Wurmpedia but were removed a few years past.

PC Gamer magazine, which in those years past used to actively cover Wurm Online, had its own active village settlement on GV.  With the transfer to Independance, they left the old one behind and started anew on Independance on the east coast of Colossus Lake (called PCG Freedom Village ). 

 

As for the logic behind closing off the old Golden Valley and the reasons behind it, Code Club's posted explanations in the forum dating to the time of the event.  I'd not expect any return to the way it was on GV, for the reasons they've stated, but I can say for myself as one who's been active since first spawning there, it was a strong part of what drew me to Wurm Online as a player.

Edited by Tristanc
typo correction
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Tristanc did an excellent job above at outlining the history of Golden Valley and its function. Many years ago all players started there and roamed the server freely to settle wherever they wished and then learn to further enjoy the game. The big transition from it at that time was making the decision to leave its relative security and take the Portal to either the Freedom or Wild server. I remember playing on Golden Valley for several months before I finally decided to depart on my great adventure onto Freedom. It's sort of funny to reflect back upon it that I actually had a bit of fear to make this step. Then of course to be able to do so at that time the player had to *pay* to upgrade their account to a Premium one ahead of time.

 

Then I remember heading to the Portal in Glitterdale which was the little town I had settled next to. All my meager belongings I had stuffed into my small cart dragging it next to the Portal. There a few other abandoned ones were scattered about by other players who had done the same thing. Then I took out all the items that my weight limit could carry, which included another small cart uncompleted but for 1 small nail. Since I could then barely move an inch the idea was to click the portal, pop out on Freedom at Samling (which was then the starter Village on Freedom) and finish my small cart there to load everything in it to be able to move once again. Now the grand adventure had begun, which for me has not ended to this very day.

 

Not long after this it was decided that anyone who currently started or was on Golden Valley could portal over to Freedom whenever they wished without the need to be a Premium player. This idea evolved further over time and the decision was made that there was now no reason to isolate new players initially on Golden Valley but rather after completing the Tutorial there they should immediately make the choice to Portal over to Freedom at the new starter Village of The Howl. Sadly (to me anyway) shortly after The Howl was created as the new starter Village Samling was disbanded and the buildings slowly rotted away. Right away I did make a deed there and named it Historic Samling, keeping it for some time while reworking all the sanded sloping areas into a more terraced and tree planted area. Also preserved the original spawn point (Token spot) of Samling at its elevation by flattening and putting some fencing around it. Later got it approved as a Historic/Heritage Site, for what could be more historic than that! You may have even seen "Rolf" standing there at the completion of the Independence 10 year event.

 

Yes, there is so much History to our fair game of Wurm, many faceted, all created and shaped by the many players who have passed through these lands. Some have left, some remain and other new ones arrive; but, through it all the game remains as evidence of their footsteps.

 

Happy Trails

=Ayes=

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Thanks, Ayes, for the corrective note! 

 

Yes, at the time before Golden Valley was closed off from access except for a walled-off tutorial, the only Freedom Isles transfer gate sent the character to Samling in Independance, with The Howl not created yet.  Samling's where I first appeared on Independance when I sent my original character off Golden Valley through the gate, and my friends I'd made on Golden Valley and I made use of a starter/newbie village near Samling run by the original Gumbo's player.   Gumbo later created a village to help new characters when the Independance spawn was moved from Samling to the Howl, showing how veteran players can make a difference for those just starting out.

 

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Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for all this. It has cleared things up a bit. I now understand a bit more about the history of the game, and I have had my opinion changed, both of which aren't bad things. Happy Travelling, everyone.

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