Etherdrifter

Free Play - Life as One of the Free Folk

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Posted (edited)

Ver 0.2 (Thanks to Roarkindrake for proofreading and everyone in this thread for feedback)
Feel free to comment if you know something that needs adding!

Firstly, life as one of the free folks isn't easy.  You're going to have very restricted mobility initially, and likely for a while until you earn enough to premium up (or possibly forever).  You'll learn to travel light, live small, and generally develop excellent diplomatic skills!


So, what are your restrictions?

 

1.  20 skill caps (except faith which you can get to 30)
2.  20 stat caps (*)
3.  No access to magic (can't priest)
4.  Inability to brand (claim) animals
5.  1 "cared for" animal
6.  Account deleted after 3 months idle (**)

7.  Cannot invite villagers to founded deeds (thanks to Absy for pointing this out) (**)


(*) Or highest value up to 30 if you gained more while premium
(**) Not the case if you preme up at least once
 

These limit you in a big way in terms of what you can do (for example, you can't build stone houses, large guildings, pilot large carts, ride anything other than a cow, or pilot any boat larger than a rowboat).
 

Your're also not likely to be able to bash, which means you need to plan carefully when building walls and gates.  Once it is up, it isn't coming down by your hands!


1.  Getting Started - The Skills For Success

 

Alright, you've got your newbie buffs and your newbie items.  These are really going to help you set up, and will remain important for along time.

There are a few essential skills for free players you might want to consider:

 

1.  Meditation
2.  Forage/Botanise
3.  First Aid
4.  Forestry
5.  Gardening
6.  Natural Substances
7.  Papyrusmaking
8.  Fishing

 

So why these skills?

 

Meditation is there to unlock the path of love for you; so you can refresh yourself indefinitely.  Should you ever save up enough for premium, you could even learn to enchant tiles (a skill that can make you a bit of cash).
 

Forage/Botanise exists to ensure you're not going to go hungry.  Capped at 20, farming doesn't really return enough to keep you alive and fed without a LOT of fields (which you then need to secure in some way), so you are going to have to supplement what you farm. Ocassionally it also grants you coin to use as you see fit which can not hurt.

 

First Aid is going to be something you need often; with your fighting skills capped and your item QL restricted to 23ish tops if you are going solo, you're going to take a lot of damage.

 

Forestry gives you access to sprouts; sprouts are a good way to make a little money early game (people often buy hedge and fruit sprouts in bulk at 1--2c each).

 

Gardening gives you access to flowers; white, blue, greenish and white dotted flowers are easy money for a free player!  This will also make it easier for you to plant hedges, which can be used to make easy to maintain hidey holes.

 

Natural Substances is there to give you a reliable ability to make up healing covers, for all that first aid you'll need.  It'll also let you make ink for...

 

Papyrusmaking; this will let you write reports on crops to sell to players for almanacs.  A fully completed almanac is something players pay reasonably for, and it's always in demand.

 

Finally, fishing, because it's an easy way to spice up your diet.  Meat is going to be harder to come by for you early on, so fish can substitute to some degree.


These skills are all easy to level quickly, and once you've got them up to 20, you're in a good position to live as one of the free folk.

 

Why isn't SKILL X here? 

Mostly because, as a free player, they're not going to make you any coins (unless you want to chip 1000 stone bricks for 1 whole silver coin, which I in absolutely no way recommend because it is soul destroyingly dull); however, as a free player, you will probably pick up all skills at 20 eventually; just pick what interests you.

 

2.  Can I Live Without a Deed?

 

Long story short; yes, you can.  However, it's a life with a lot of chores since decay hits low quality structures hard!  If you do choose to live without a deed, the first recommendation is live near a spawn town, as that way you'll always respawn near home if you die; and trust me, you are going to die a lot as one of the free folk.

 

I also recommend pitching your home within range of a tower, as this gives you free protection.

 

This one is unpopular: keep your home small.  You don't need a 3x2 house with all the trimmings; a 1x2 is plenty for your FSB, BSB, chest, racks, oven and Bed.  It means you only have 6 walls, 2 floors and 2 roofs to maintain plus your furniture and items.  However, you could swap the racks for something else if you made a storage alt (bonus here is that items on them don't decay!).

 

Hedges, hedges hedges.  They keep mobs out and they don't ever need repairing.  You, essentially, only need to repair your gate.  They're not that secure against players, but you don't really have anything worth stealing.

 

Animal storage is going to be a problem; you can either make a barn (small 1x1 or 2x1 structures with grass planted inside) or you can make a large cart and hitch the animals to it (though, if you never prememium, you won't be able to drive these carts)!  You're also going to have to maintain whatever storage you use, so be wary and add locks to any container that you use.

 

3.  Basic Home Security

 

Step 1: Lock EVERYTHING

A lot of free players make the mistake of failing to lock the door to their home; and this very quickly leads them to log in one day and find everything they own has been looted by a passing new player (or an unscrupulous community member).

I say lock everything, because if you are unlucky your door can rot very quickly (within a week if the RNG hates you), and if you are away for that time you could log in to needing to rebuild your door!  If you have everything locked in your home, however, you'll still have all your items when you come back.

 

Step 2: Imp EVERYTHING

Your home is going to get hit by decay ticks, and this means items will take damage that you need to repair.  However, higher quality items decay more slowly, and thus require less repairs.  When making furniture/walls/gates/carts/boats, always try and imp them up as high as you can.

 

This is a good way to raise skills quickly, reduce work in the future, and generally live well.

 

Step 3:  Carry the ESSENTIALS

At some point, things are probably going to go wrong.  Maybe you need a break, maybe life hits you with something hard.  Either way, you're probably going to be a victim of decay, and if you always log out with the essentials in your inventory (your core tools), you're going to be able to recover quickly.

Which takes us onto...


4.  Essential Gear

 

As one of the free folk, you may find yourself starting over more than once; or having to deal with security setbacks.  Keeping essential gear on you at all times is going to help you do this, as no matter what state your house is in, you're going to be able to recover.

I've laid down 3 tiers here.  Things to log out with every day, things to log out with when you're not playing for a week, and things to log out with when you're going MIA.

 

(a)  Log out with daily

  • Pickaxe, Hatchet, Shovel, Flint and Steel, Saw and Carving Knife. These are the six basic tools of wurm, and with them you can start over.  No matter what happens, these tools will get you up on your feet again.
  • Sickle.  This is both a tool and a weapon, I always keep one handy and good QL really helps with these.
  • Pottery Bowl.  These decay when left out and can't be repaired, best keep it on your inventory unless you live really near to clay and can easily make another.
  • Armourwise: Studded leather is often favoured as the best mix of weight and protection; it's worth keeping a suite of this worn at all times.
  • 2kg of cotton for healing (you're always going to want this).
  • 5 healing covers (only use on medium+ wounds), aim for ones made of lovage and rosemary, or teeth and glands if you have access.


(b)  Week Off

  • Picking up your anvils (small and large) is probably a good idea here.
  • I'd also say this would be the time to pick up any other craft tools you use often (hammers, spindles, etc) as this will stop them taking large decay hits.
  • Sometimes, depending on your living arrangements, it is also a good idea to keep hold of a few nails (20 or so in a satchel) as this lets you rebuild quickly if a wall has dropped.
  • Remember those key skills I mentioned?  Your press might be worth keeping hold of, as would your meditation rug (unless you have already hit the cap).


(c) MIA - Long term

  • If you're going for a long period of time, pick up everything not nailed down, imp up what you have to leave behind, and pray.
  • Odds are, your home is going to vanish (hedges may remain!).  Also, make sure to log in at least once every couple of weeks if you have never premed; otherwise you will lose everything.

 

5.  Settling Down - Where do I live?

 

The optimal living position for a free player is...

 

a)  Near a spawn location
b)  Near a tower
c)  Near the coast (preferably near reeds)
d)  Near clay
e)  Near a mine with access to iron
f)  Away from large areas of sand

 

(d) is rather self explanatory, as you're going to need access to clay for ovens and forges.  Living near clay is always worthwhile, however, without the ability to pilot large carts, you're going to be dragging your clay back in a small cart, and this will be VERY dangerous and time consuming if you live far from the clay.

 

(a) and (b) we covered earlier.

 

This leaves us with (c), (e), and (f).

 

Why would you want to live near a coast?  Well, firstly, it gives you access to safe transport (a rowboat) to reach other coastal deeds.  If your rowboat is locked and anchored, it's safe from everything except decay.  Once you have imped your rowboat up to 20, you have access to other servers (which in turn opens up impalongs to get your tools REALLY boosted), and it may offer you a way of making a bit of money (ferrying others to events).  Why would you prefer to live near reeds?  Reeds are a potency 1 healing cover, and can be harvested easily; it essentially gives you one healing component to hand at all times.

 

(e) is often overlooked early on, and people really regret it later since iron is an essential resource for most crafting.  Opening up a mine and looking for iron can be time consuming, however, it's better to do it earlier than later.
 

Why avoid large areas of sand?  Because sand spawns some REALLY nasty monsters (scorpions, hellhounds), and these are a death sentence for one of the free folk.


6.  Leaving The Nest - Going Exploring

 

Visited all the coastal areas you wanted to?  Looking to really go explore?

 

First things first, make sure you know where you live!  Find the name of the nearest deed to you that is connected to the highway network.  Write that name down.  It'll let you find your route back home.
 

Next, get yourself a cow; it is your noble escape steed.  Lead it around with you when you can, tame it when you log off, and untame it when you log in.  If you ever need to run away and are low on stamina, mount your cow and pray.  It isn't always going to work, but sometimes you can get near enough to a tower to call for help.

 

Finally, travel light.  Put all the things you don't need into storage (preferably an alt to avoid decay...), and make sure you're only carrying the essentials.  How much you are carrying impacts your movement.

 

My general list of essentials are:


(a)  My Tent
(b)  A pottery bowl for cooking and a Waterskin for water
(c)  My carving knife and Hatchet for fire starting
(d)  My Sickle
(e)  My armour (worn)
(f)  My backpack (worn)

 

You can find food on your way and cook it up easily enough.  Always drink from fountains/water sources and you'll rarely ever go dry (and your cow can be milked with the waterskin in a pinch).


7.  Risky Ventures - Making Money (at risk!)

 

As one of the free folks, you're already in a bad position to sell things to other players, and the market is especially bad at the moment.  However, there are a few ways you can make a bit of money ingame that require a risk.

 

(a)  Finding unguarded source fountains and tapping the source (bring a bucket for small barrel for this one).  1KG of source equates to 1 silver coin.  On Xanadu, some are even on highways and a long trip can net a few silver coins if you know the routes.

 

(b)  Hunt for flowers.  This one involves going deep into woods in uninhabited areas.  This one is VERY risky, and you might just want to go out with a sickle alone for this one.  However, it will always yield something to sell; you might even get lucky and find a white dotted flower.

 

(c)  Looting fallen deeds.  If a deed falls, and you know where it is, and you get there first.  You can sometimes net yourself a lot of items of decent value.  Aim to snag rare items where possible, and light valuables such as event items and gems.

 

(d)  Almanac Making.  This one isn't too high risk, and can be rather safe if you have planted the needed trees/bushes nearby.  A full alamanac can go for around 20c (or 1--2 silver according to some players) at time of writing, and you can make a lot of these and store them on an alt.  The hardest plant to record is lingonberry bushes, however, this is just a matter of making a trip to a tundra with a pile of paper, a pot of ink, and a reed pen (see, those reeds have other uses!).

 

(e)  Unique Scouting.  This one is a really really dangerous one, however it can pay enough for both premium and a deed combined.  Unique creatures are often hunted by private groups, and finding one and selling its location can be a very quick way to make some money.  However, they're rare (you're going to have to wander around a lot of unexplored places), and when found they are often deadly (they can outrun horses, so cows are stone dead).  This is arguably the biggest risk/reward a free player can hope for.

 

8.  The P-word - Paying Premium

 

As a free player, you've no doubt seen the limitations in section 1.  Notice those entries with a (*) and (**)?  Yep, you can actually unlock a bit more content by going premium once (and skilling hard while it lasts!)

Namely, you can raise stats to 30 while premium (and your progress will be kept when it runs out), your account is preserved forever (or until wurm ends), and you're no longer restricted on inviting people to your deeds.  Oh, and meditation abilities are also preserved!

 

The magic number is 5 silver (enough to buy 2 weeks of premium), though most people save up to 10 silver before they premium up for the first time (4 weeks gives more time to get things done).  Assuming you only have enough to premium up once, you should aim for these goals to make your life (when you return to the status of one of the free folk) better:
 

(a)  21 Body Control

 

Lets you ride horses; this is often the first skill you want to push up.  Horses really open up the world of wurm for travel, though you can't easily secure horses while not premium (the best you can do is hitch them to a tent, and those are hard to make while one of the free folk!).   This is best levelled using archery, or archaeology.  The latter is probably best if you know some good ruins as it takes less preparation time.

 

(b)  21 Body Strength

 

Lets you bash structures, and move furniture up and down stairs.  This is really convenient if you live offdeed and want to do some re-modelling.  You can also push for 23 body strength (not sure if this is possible in 2 weeks) to unlock loading and unloading (which will make your large carts very useful for storing furniture you want to protect).   Also, this stat increases the amount you can carry...  Blacksmithing is a good way to level this; but really work it into what you enjoy doing.

 

(c)   21 Mind Logic

 

Lets you pilot large carts, wagons, sailing boats and ship transporters; this will really help you when travelling and a lot of players have lived out of a large cart/wagon/sailing boat over the years.  The fastest way to level this is by cooking (ask someone about panloading and they might let you use their food stocks if you panload them first, it's hard work but if you open up your time premium with a panloading session?  You'll hit 21 mind logic easily, and may even be able to hit 30 (which lets you queue another action).


(d)  30 Meditation


This one is the odd one out, but arguably one of the more important ones.  Getting meditation to level 30 lets you unlock the level 7 path ability, which is often VERY useful.  Path of Love's enchant is a great way to make some extra copper, and 30 meditation will let you use it (once you advance along the path).  Levelling this one is hard; you're going to need to meditate 5 times per day (20 mins apart); those are the only ones that will give you skill ticks, and you also have to do it some distance away (about 10 tiles).  This one is just something you need to break and do; the ingame timers help remember!

 

There is something you should consider baring in mind, and it relates to how you want to play wurm.  If you are just trying the game out, and considering going premium long-term, then you're probably best getting premium as soon as one fo your stats hits 20 (stats are the hardest things to level, and it will save you effort later in the game).  However, if you are intending to remaing one of the free folk (maybe you just like the challenge, or you enjoy wurm more as a free player), you're best off getting premium once you have the three stats listed above at 20, and meditation at 20 (with your path at level 6, and the cooldown for the next path advancement done)

Edited by Etherdrifter
Updated version - Added section on premium
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Beautiful post, Etherdrifter :) Lots of useful information in easy-to-digest paragraphs with simple explanations and reasoning.

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Almanac pages run 10-20c, a full almanac 1-2s.

 

If any devoted freebie lasts more than 2 weeks, contact me and I'll get them a cow that can actually keep up with walking.

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7 hours ago, Kelody said:

Almanac pages run 10-20c, a full almanac 1-2s.

 

If any devoted freebie lasts more than 2 weeks, contact me and I'll get them a cow that can actually keep up with walking.

That might be the price for 90+ql reports, which requires skills... Never seen someone buying/selling lower ql reports to be honest. I guess it can be usefull for doing journal goal, not sure how much 20ql reports are realible compared to 90ql

But like I said I've mostly seen couple of players selling them for 2s

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1 hour ago, kochinac said:

That might be the price for 90+ql reports, which requires skills... Never seen someone buying/selling lower ql reports to be honest. I guess it can be usefull for doing journal goal, not sure how much 20ql reports are realible compared to 90ql

But like I said I've mostly seen couple of players selling them for 2s

I didn't think QL effected reports (it's one of the nicer things the wurm devs did for us all)?

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2 hours ago, Etherdrifter said:

I didn't think QL effected reports (it's one of the nicer things the wurm devs did for us all)?

From Wurmpedia:

The higher the quality of the reports in the almanac, the more accurate it will be.

 

not sure how big is the difference, never used reports that are that low ql

 

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13 hours ago, Etherdrifter said:

and your item QL restricted to 23ish

Starter kits contain 30ql leather armor, 50ql longsword and 20ql shield. :)

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1 hour ago, Nordlys said:

Starter kits contain 30ql leather armor, 50ql longsword and 20ql shield. :)

I believe that was changed when that curve up to 70 was implemented; not positive though.

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Excellent guide!

 

Is there much market for flowers other than white-dotted (and occasionally blue for missions)?

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2 hours ago, kochinac said:

From Wurmpedia:

The higher the quality of the reports in the almanac, the more accurate it will be.

 

not sure how big is the difference, never used reports that are that low ql

 

I've not seen a difference between 30 and 70ql reports. Maybe there is between a 10 and 90ql. But even an almost accurate report is better than none.

 

I was told the ql cap on items was only for tools, not armor. I don't know about weapons. It's a very poorly documented feature.

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Strongly Suggest New Players join a deed, and learn in a safe place where they can ask question either through their Village or Alliance chat and CA. I like to let my villagers work at their own pace, try to provide places for them to build a decent sized place, and encourage them to join in on server projects.

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Thank you for writing this great introduction to the world of F2P Wurming! :D 

 

You twice mention the word 'pray' which is an in-game Wurm action, so I found it a bit confusing lol - but I now understand that's just your way of saying there is risk involved for the new player, and not an instruction to carry out a religious activity.  :P   

 

One of the most frequent new player questions that seem to pop up is "When should I go prem?" I know it's currently beyond the scope of this thread, but it might be good if your advice ended by giving a few examples of when it might be a good time to consider premium in the future - as something to keep in mind when going forward.  I remember being told that it would be wise to go premium when any of my body mind or soul characteristics got to 20.  Characteristics are slow to gain, so I was told that it would be wise to prem at that point to allow these characteristics to continue climbing if I was playing anyway.  It is this period of transition - that initial 'leap of faith' between new F2P player and their first premium which can often be a major hurdle.

 

Thank you again for writing this advice for F2P players, a lot of players are attracted to the game by the fact you can play free, and your advice helps to clarify what players can and can't do, compared with a premium player, in a straightforward way.

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Updated to add a small section on premium play (instant advantages even if a player wants to return to being free).

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I love your guide, nicely done. An Ode to playing Wurm on Golden Valley :)

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