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RainRain

A year in review.

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Posted (edited)

I was thinking of making this thread yesterday, but didn't particularly feel compelled as I wasn't sure how much effort I wanted to put into a post like this; but I came up with some ideas and talking points.

A year ago, Wurm Online launched on steam, alongside a new cluster of servers; There was a lot of alluded changes coming to both PvP and PvE servers, how they functioned, revamped focus on them (changing how missions worked, base pvp rules, etc.)
Launch was.... pretty awful! I don't blame them too much for this on a technical aspect, since it's probably the most amount of players wurm has ever had at any given time of its lifespan, and though it took days/weeks for the issues to actually be fixed properly, they eventually were.

A couple months after the launch, some old subsystems were re-enabled: Missions and Valrei, as well as the unique items and rifts.
From there, there have been minimal changes.
Changes regarding channel grinding, favor gain and linking that lead to a change in the sacrifice system.
Changes to the pvp server over time until its population more or less died off, mostly handled by 1 dev.
A combat "rework" that still baffles me to this day
The animal handling rework, the first thing i'd call an actual 'update' to the game, of which has been mostly negative (though if the kinks get ironed out might be okay maybe?)

And in the future, we're still potentially going to see the exploration rework; There were a lot more pvp updates planned but I greatly doubt those will see the light of day given that the pvp server is more or less dead- unless focus goes back to Chaos for some reason)

That's been the last year, more or less. Very few updates, most of which were awful initially, feedback seemingly rarely actually accounted for. We still barely have an idea of who, behind the scenes, is actually working on the game actively, is responsible for these changes- and to the degree they work in (Since I last bothered to check, most of the devs are part-time and there is still no full-time developer for the game). Yet on an investing level, the playerbase has doubled and is still steadily draining the banks of something around 6,000 accounts which are definitely more than enough to upkeep the servers and pay the (nonexistant) staff. It's a good reminder to most people that most members of the staff in this game (your game masters, community assistants, etc) are almost all volunteer staff- being literally paid in premium time and sleep powder to participate, minus maybe 1 or 2 (at least, i'm assuming the head gm's might get paid something? and maybe the community manager?). The game costs very little to run, and will probably remain so forever; the people in charge could literally (have? we're basically at that point) not update the game at all for months and run away with a decent profit; and it seems that's the decision they've made regarding the outlook of the game.

Given, this game is the abandoned project of Rolf and most of the codebase is in a pitiful state that requires expert-level spaghetti wrangling, it's not an easy task- but it's not an impossible one, either, given that people (in our community, even) have created sizeable changes to the game in form of WU mods.

So. What does that leave for the future? I'm curious on other people's opinions on the game in its current state (mostly veterans, honestly), and where they think the game will go.

I have a hard time seeing wurm actually die out- other than the pvp scene. The game is tailor made to have a huge reliance on the community coming together and doing the bulk of the work required to maintain the game- and there are lots of people in this community who are satisfied with the game in its current state, and will likely be satisfied with the game staying the same for the years to come- these are the people who currently form a huge chunk of the game's core audience, and will probably perpetually feed its maintenance. But I can't see real, reasonable growth; Not in the state that updates come in, not in the state that the game encourages new players to stay and enjoy their time. Dare I say even that the dev's attempts at updating the game in what minor ways they have are consistently backfiring and alienating their current playerbase- all because they lack the proper leadership when it comes to providing good, quality changes to the game. There is little feedback, there is little vision for the future, nor an overall design vision for how the game's different subsystems should come together into one whole; The game is more or less a massive patchwork project of completely different subsystems usually headed by one inspired developer who manages their own subsystem, rather than coming together as a unified game (see: archeology, valrei, rifts, cooking, fishing, animal handling now- and i suspect, exploration in the future).

In summary; I don't have hope for the future in this game ever being good, and I'll probably actively try and get people not to invest time into this game knowing what comes at the end of playing it for a month, or a year. But I'm not the whole community; I'm curious how others see this, and what hopes they have for what's to come- and more importantly, what actually keeps people playing at all (and don't say other players, or the deed you've had for 5 years- both of those are just entrapments)

I am also greatly amused that I apparently put more thought into doing something for a year of the steam server's being launched than the staff of this game did.

Edited by RainRain
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We literally haven't had a valrei update in almost 2 and a half months.

I guess whatever volunteers and miniscule devs, are on holiday as it goes in Sweden. 

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3 hours ago, RainRain said:

A combat "rework" that still baffles me to this day

 

I think this is one of my biggest disappointments with the game as of late, given I don't do stuff with animals.

weapon skilling is still lame, and shield bashing wasn't tweaked or reworked to not be awful. instead visual changes and some special move tweaks, crit enabled and some other stuff that evades me. very little for players wanting to get better at combat to sink their teeth into.

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Don't worry guys Game Chest is investing Wurm's income in more Roblox companion apps! We're in great hands!

 

🤗🤗🤗🤗

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I was going to save this for my 1 year summary (coming next month to mark a full year of population data collection) but...

 

The number of currently premiumed accounts is very likely to drop off a cliff around black friday when all those cheap 1 year subs drop.


3 years ago, I could travel and see 3--5 people on the road, pass through, or by, at least 40--50 deeds on my trips to rifts.

 

2 years ago I maybe saw 1--2 people beyond in an afternoon of travel.  I'd still see deeds though, but I also saw a fair few ruins too!

 

1 year ago I saw no-one on a lot of trips (3--5 hours driving around highways on Xanadu); though I still passed through a lot of deeds.  Though, the ruins outnumbered them.

 

Last month I went out driving; very few deeds, no people, just an empty and still world.  There aren't even any ruins, just paved patches that have not changed in years.

 

Xanadu, at least, is a ghost town server.  A lot of folks have moved to smaller servers to compensate, but those that do quickly fade into inactivity.

 

Overall, we're where the "gloomy naysayers" said we'd be.  So far up a creek that we've forgotten what the paddle even looks like.  Short of a miracle, my paper is likely to be titled "Player population trends in a declining MMO", and I'm very very sad about that.

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Posted (edited)

Dunno. Maybe the devs are afraid to commit to big changes although if you browse the suggestions forums for the past 4-5 years, big changes is what people want. People want reworks and updates , not shallow mechanics or small tweaks such as the combat update. 

 

As for a future. 

 

Tbh if the money from the steam release wasn't enough to hire new full time devs, then yeah, wurm really has no future. It will survive, with around 100-200 die hard players, spaced across 15 servers. Wurm will survive, but it will not ever grow to a more "lively population".  

 

Lack of player retention, lack of special events hosted by devs and I don't necesarily mean impalongs I mean fun stuff the devs could do such as having a zombie invasion during the halloween where they "home in" on players and chase them across the map. Something that breaks the monotony of the grind, which is 99% of wurm's game mechanics. Everything is design around the grind and I think it's used too much as a crutch which is an issue why players leave. 

Even this year's impalong seemed to have fewer players than ever. I remember impalongs when we had huge lag fests with 150-200 people in local, was crazy back then. 

 

The current development cycle seems to work around releasing 1 big update per year, not test it, then wonder why people are becoming bitter when they are given more new broken mechanics in wurm (after we already have over 100 unfixed broken mechanics for so many years). This type of ... approach to managing an MMO will not help the player pop, nor reviews for it, sparse as they are. 

 

Wurm will survive, but I won't be playing on empty servers. I once enjoyed playing in a big alliance with 50 people, seeing wonderful banter or group projects and shenanigans unfold. Now? It's been years since I felt that. 

 

Short of "drastic measures" for a drastic issue, nothing will change for the better. But for that the owners need to take an actual risk to take Wurm to new directions, preferably better than broken or unfinished updates. 

 

12 minutes ago, Etherdrifter said:

Overall, we're where the "gloomy naysayers" said we'd be. 

Yeah well, not gloomy naysayers, just that the writing on the wall became obvious for us when it was decided to ignore the entire epic population small as it was to commit to a decision about Epic, either close it, merge it or open a 2 way transfer. The fact it received zero advertisement after the steam release or that people couldn't instantly start here it was just another open admission that Epic is equal to a bad gameplay experience....yet it was kept open? Also WU stopped getting updates which obviously upset a lot of people and set a precedent to "ignore a part of the playerbase and its existence" although once can also say it started with Epic. And not just Epic, but the Freedom Gchat is usually vitriolic and negative about wurm's future for about a year now? Or 2? Or 3? You can just taste the bitterness every time you open that chat. 

 

All in all, for many of us a pattern emerged about being ignored, we saw the writing on the wall and players quit as a result which created a vicious cycle of lack of players, lack of content, lack of communication. There's a lot of variables at play but the main ones that stayed over the years and its still going on with the AH update : lack of proper communication, tell us what is in the works, lack of a roadmap to actually inspire confidence in the customer base, lack of committing to heavy decisions that can severely impact wurm for the better (or worse), half measures that did more harm than good (fishing update, same reward - fish - from a convoluted system), same pattern of opening new servers as if that saves the game, just draws in more players to dump money into the game then leave after 3 months, adding more ghost towns in the landscape, I could go on, but it's a bleak picture.

 

I'll wait till the end of the year and if no significant update (and preferably a well designed and tested one) or announcement happens, I'll let my prem run out, put my stuff on a boat, disband the deed and wait and see if there's anything that can draw me back to wurm. Sadly I know quite a lot of people who are planning to do the same, so yeah, expect a pretty big pop drop before Christmas. I imagine many will reprem alts to get more xmas gifts but that won't impact the population significantly. 

Edited by elentari
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13 hours ago, Etherdrifter said:

I was going to save this for my 1 year summary (coming next month to mark a full year of population data collection) but...

 

The number of currently premiumed accounts is very likely to drop off a cliff around black friday when all those cheap 1 year subs drop.


3 years ago, I could travel and see 3--5 people on the road, pass through, or by, at least 40--50 deeds on my trips to rifts.

 

2 years ago I maybe saw 1--2 people beyond in an afternoon of travel.  I'd still see deeds though, but I also saw a fair few ruins too!

 

1 year ago I saw no-one on a lot of trips (3--5 hours driving around highways on Xanadu); though I still passed through a lot of deeds.  Though, the ruins outnumbered them.

 

Last month I went out driving; very few deeds, no people, just an empty and still world.  There aren't even any ruins, just paved patches that have not changed in years.

 

Xanadu, at least, is a ghost town server.  A lot of folks have moved to smaller servers to compensate, but those that do quickly fade into inactivity.

 

Overall, we're where the "gloomy naysayers" said we'd be.  So far up a creek that we've forgotten what the paddle even looks like.  Short of a miracle, my paper is likely to be titled "Player population trends in a declining MMO", and I'm very very sad about that.

 

opening cadence/melody was a very bad choice even with all the lag, those numbers were gonna drop eventually

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13 hours ago, Etherdrifter said:

I was going to save this for my 1 year summary (coming next month to mark a full year of population data collection) but...

 

The number of currently premiumed accounts is very likely to drop off a cliff around black friday when all those cheap 1 year subs drop.


3 years ago, I could travel and see 3--5 people on the road, pass through, or by, at least 40--50 deeds on my trips to rifts.

 

2 years ago I maybe saw 1--2 people beyond in an afternoon of travel.  I'd still see deeds though, but I also saw a fair few ruins too!

 

1 year ago I saw no-one on a lot of trips (3--5 hours driving around highways on Xanadu); though I still passed through a lot of deeds.  Though, the ruins outnumbered them.

 

Last month I went out driving; very few deeds, no people, just an empty and still world.  There aren't even any ruins, just paved patches that have not changed in years.

 

Xanadu, at least, is a ghost town server.  A lot of folks have moved to smaller servers to compensate, but those that do quickly fade into inactivity.

 

Overall, we're where the "gloomy naysayers" said we'd be.  So far up a creek that we've forgotten what the paddle even looks like.  Short of a miracle, my paper is likely to be titled "Player population trends in a declining MMO", and I'm very very sad about that.

If you were writing an anecdotal paper as a data science submission I'd give you a failing grade

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7 minutes ago, Jeston said:

 

opening cadence/melody was a very bad choice even with all the lag, those numbers were gonna drop eventually

at the time it was unplayable.. and needed, without instances.. you also need more land to keep things peaceful.. else you have many in a tight spot and they start to fight over chopped cedar, mined vein or dirt hole in somebody's perimeter..

some free land and distance from neighbors is all some want, etc..

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Just now, Finnn said:

at the time it was unplayable.. and needed, without instances.. you also need more land to keep things peaceful.. else you have many in a tight spot and they start to fight over chopped cedar, mined vein or dirt hole in somebody's perimeter..

some free land and distance from neighbors is all some want, etc..

Agreed, wurm isn't a "everybody in the same area" mmo

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, Finnn said:

at the time it was unplayable.. and needed, without instances.. you also need more land to keep things peaceful.. else you have many in a tight spot and they start to fight over chopped cedar, mined vein or dirt hole in somebody's perimeter..

some free land and distance from neighbors is all some want, etc..

 

It was somewhat playable, and yes I lagged but I could play on and off and had more fun with the rubber banding than being in empty server lands once more. Opening other two servers as a way to fix what was going to be a temporary problem has now made all north population heavily spread out. 

Edited by Jeston

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1 minute ago, Archaed said:

If you were writing an anecdotal paper as a data science submission I'd give you a failing grade


I'll direct you back to the population data thread where you've still failed to respond to anyone's feedback with an argument supported by the data (or, indeed, offered some data of your own to the contrary).

 

You can talk about grading data science when you have demonstrated some actual proficiency in it.

 

Snark aside, the year in review pretty much sums up a lot of sentiment I've heard from people who just quit over the year.

 

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, Archaed said:

Agreed, wurm isn't a "everybody in the same area" mmo

 

I have friends who love the grind/world building of Wurm but refuse to play cause "no one around"  and if you really want everyone to be spread out to the point there is no one to speak to in local most of the time then you must be loving the way wurm is headed, grats to you brother and mission success.

 

 

Edited by Jeston
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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, Finnn said:

at the time it was unplayable.. and needed, without instances.. you also need more land to keep things peaceful.. else you have many in a tight spot and they start to fight over chopped cedar, mined vein or dirt hole in somebody's perimeter..

some free land and distance from neighbors is all some want, etc..

 

If only we'd have had 12 other servers people could have started on...one of which is as big as 4 regular servers combined and another as big as 2 regular servers. If only the owners would have pointed out in the starting area of newbies they can actually play the game in older servers that have infrastructure and guess what? I've heard from some NFI players the reason they didn't start on the older servers was because they thought they'd be crowded which is why they released new fresh servers in the first place.

 

Talk about portraying the wrong assumptions to new people. 

 

A giant amount of space to start on on SFI, without any neighbours or competing for territory. If only any of those twelve other servers would have been given more advertisement as potential starting areas for new people.... SFI population a year later is the same. Ifs and buts, candy and nuts something something. 

 

Also the fact that in 2021, Wurm still has a tutorial that leaves players to go to youtube to figure out playing is just..... I'll let you fill in whatever adjective you want. 

Edited by elentari
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Finnn said:

some free land and distance from neighbors is all some want, etc..

 

key word is "some" but not the majority of people who actually play MMOs to be social and interact daily (for better or for worse) I'd rather have a spat or rivalry with a guy cutting my trees than have no one at all and if he breaks the rules consistently that is his account in timeout not mine and it also gives GMs something to do, better they have to clean up turds than consistently just serve the wills of vets daily who just want miles around them to be perimeter and block pathways through their deeds for no good reason

 

there is right now as of this post

 

187 on southern

197 on north

 

now that will obviously fluctuate but a 10 person difference of old server vs new servers shows me that we never needed more than one server in the north

Edited by Jeston
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34 minutes ago, Jeston said:

there is right now as of this post

187 on southern

197 on north

now that will obviously fluctuate but a 10 person difference of old server vs new servers shows me that we never needed more than one server in the north

 

There is always a "right now" to "prove" something. Yesterday 8pm GMT, there were 720 players on Freedom, 395 on NFI including Defiance (37), 366 on SFI including Chaos (41), plus 33 on Epic. And that was no extraordinary Sunday evening (week before was livelier on SFI with slaying on Release, so was the impalong week).

 

Contrary to all that "ghost town" speech, I see stable deed numbers on Xanadu (and SFI as far as mrtg allows me to appraise), at the moment more foundings than disbandings.

 

The desired population density is of course a matter of taste. I assume that some of the smaller SFI servers are more satisfying for lovers of close company than Xanadu in general. Yet there are quite some settlement clusters here too, Personally, I like to have neighbours and allies, but not too close by.

 

A single server in NFI would have killed the population. There were shortages of deedable places on Harmony for quite a while, and bitter territorial conflicts. Everyone who ever suffered such a conflict with a ruthless neighbour values free areas around his or her deed. Which size a deed has is matter of taste and will to pay upkeep.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ekcin said:

 

There is always a "right now" to "prove" something. Yesterday 8pm GMT, there were 720 players on Freedom, 395 on NFI including Defiance (37), 366 on SFI including Chaos (41), plus 33 on Epic. And that was no extraordinary Sunday evening (week before was livelier on SFI with slaying on Release, so was the impalong week).

 

Contrary to all that "ghost town" speech, I see stable deed numbers on Xanadu (and SFI as far as mrtg allows me to appraise), at the moment more foundings than disbandings.

 

The desired population density is of course a matter of taste. I assume that some of the smaller SFI servers are more satisfying for lovers of close company than Xanadu in general. Yet there are quite some settlement clusters here too, Personally, I like to have neighbours and allies, but not too close by.

 

A single server in NFI would have killed the population. There were shortages of deedable places on Harmony for quite a while, and bitter territorial conflicts. Everyone who ever suffered such a conflict with a ruthless neighbour values free areas around his or her deed. Which size a deed has is matter of taste and will to pay upkeep.

 

This is one of those vets I spoke of in my post above. Cant have change, Xanadu is totally thriving cause of all the deeds of alts with 4 year upkeep in coffers.

 

HEALTHY 

 

there is no worse type of mentality for this game than what is written here, "deed land shortages" , hah 

Edited by Jeston
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ekcin said:

plus 33 on Epic

 

half alts due to lib /mag missions to donate 7-8 mission items to avatars. Epic pop is not higher in reality than 20 individual players. 

1 hour ago, Ekcin said:

Contrary to all that "ghost town" speech, I see stable deed numbers on Xanadu (and SFI as far as mrtg allows me to appraise), at the moment more foundings than disbandings.

 

 

Deed numbers is probably the worst indicator of population, were deed numbers valid for server pop when everyone planted a "trader deed' to milk em for all they got? Chaos players have freedom deeds to dump their loot on but hardly ever play in those deeds. New people found 1-2 month deeds then they disband due to upkeep. People make deeds for unique hunts, make them to deeed "orchards" to harvest, people make trader/ merchant deeds or build deeds for point of interest locations, such as that deed with the "Welcome to Deliverance" building in the south of the map, people make roadside inn deeds and so on. 

 

Does that mean that suddenly for each deed we can assign 1 individual player? no. It's never been like that. 

1 hour ago, Ekcin said:

The desired population density is of course a matter of taste.

No it's not. Wurm has always been an MMORPG sandbox and part of the "M" in MMO = Massively Multiplayer Online. Barring the minority of players who want to have a "single player" experience in an mmo (as absurd as that is since we got WU for that) I guarantee that 95% of players WANT a higher population. I'd rather be swamped in 50 unknown individual player names in my local and feel like it's a multi player game than only seeing 50 people once a year at an impalong. Many of the players that left abandoned the game precisely because it's so dead. A minority of 2-3 players stating they like the game in the current population state doesn't change the fact that the rest of the players hate the sorry ghost town phenomenon we have in the game. 

 

New players leave the game because there's often no one to guide them, at least on Epic.

Pvpers hate not having players to pvp with.

Merchant players hate not having customers.

Explorers hate finding only ruins or empty deeds.

Priests hate not having enough players around to do sermons with and end up premming the alt army (because that's a good indicator of pop right?) 

Crafters hate not finding customers to imp stuff for.

Should I go on? 

 

I'll die on this hill where I'm a broken record that the low playerbase should be the no#1 concern of the owners/devs/whatever and that anything else is secondary. As long as we keep going as we are, aka with zero direction, well...it's been a fun ride folks (in the beginning at least, cause the last few years were a sorry state of affairs at best). 

Edited by elentari
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1 hour ago, Jeston said:

This is one of those vets I spoke of in my post above. Cant have change, Xanadu is totally thriving cause of all the deeds of alts with 4 year upkeep in coffers.

HEALTHY

there is no worse type of mentality for this game than what is written here, "deed land shortages" , hah 

 

He did it, he did it again!

He did the "reeee vets!" again!

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Player numbers are always so skewed when alts are included.

I move my alt army (in the dozens) and you see my server shoot up in population by 20 players. Some applaud, others question, real ones cry when they realize that out of the 31 people online 6 are real people.

Deeds are so skewed.

I am down in my deed count but I had just 70 myself for 'Used' deeds, with many more that were planted just to prevent other players expanding over Points of Interests or contested lands. You could say 'theres 200 active deeds on this server' but if 60 of them belong to one person, 5 belong to another, 7 to another, 2 to another etc...and those deeds aren't even active?

 

We have no real way to accurately calculate the playerbase, but we have one thing called common sense - and common sense dictates the numbers are continuously dropping.

We have players like Nspybot who run logs on GL-Freedom and you can see the games global chat go for 700+ minutes without a single message.

IN AN MMOS GLOBAL CHAT.

 

Five players make up 30% of all messages sent in the global chat. 
If that isn't a sign of a game thats heavily declining in the MMO aspect, I don't know what is. Its also somewhat more telling than deed/player numbers.

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2 minutes ago, Blazecraze said:

 

We have players like Nspybot who run logs on GL-Freedom and you can see the games global chat go for 700+ minutes without a single message.

IN AN MMOS GLOBAL CHAT.

 

Five players make up 30% of all messages sent in the global chat. 
If that isn't a sign of a game thats heavily declining in the MMO aspect, I don't know what is. 

That's because those five players make GL chat a dumpster fire to avoid 🤷

 

People talk to people they like, alliances, server chat. 

 

I'd support removing gl chat entirely. 

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10 minutes ago, Archaed said:

That's because those five players make GL chat a dumpster fire to avoid 🤷

 

#005     858    3.24238531%    <Pandylynn>
#004    1064    4.02086010%    <Dumbo>
#003    1809    6.83621797%    <Grifo>
#002    2116    7.99637216%    <Madnath>
#001    2223    8.40072557%    <Blazecraze>

 

I understand and fully empathise

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damn it pandy why you gotta make gl a dumpster fire

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46 minutes ago, Archaed said:

That's because those five players make GL chat a dumpster fire to avoid 🤷

 

People talk to people they like, alliances, server chat. 

 

I'd support removing gl chat entirely. 

 

To some players, for sure. Its just insane how often we are missed when we aren't on, or how people make comments at how lonely the game is without us in GL ;) 
I'd support the removing of GL entirely too, if it meant IRC became populated again ❤️ 

 

 

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