The Kindness of Neighbors

On my previous blog, Battle Priestess, I wrote a series of posts describing my first few days & weeks in Wurm. There’s no better way to kick off the Wild Boar Inn than by reposting those here for posterity.

Originally posted April 26, 2011:

Ask a hundred people why they play MMOs, and you’ll get all kinds of answers, but one thing that separates MMOs from other games is the player communities. Whether it be guilds, raid teams, instance groups, or even good ol’ Tradechat, there’s people everywhere and it’s only natural that people develop friendships and alliances in order to meet their goals, which are typically centered around beating instances, raids, or world events.

But a few nights into Wurm, I experienced something quite different and unforgettable.

I ultimately decided to settle down in the area along the street where I saw that big scorpion. There was plenty of land available, and while chatting with the locals I found them to be very nice and friendly. One neighbor showed up to build a well on my property, which means that I now have a neverending source of water and don’t have to take a 10-minute walk down to Mist Lake to refill my canteens. The next night, we decided to go exploring, specifically to check out that abandoned homestead with the creepy stone coffin.

While we were up there, we saw the young scorpion that I’d seen previously, and also an adolescent starving scorpion, which was bigger and badder. My friend (who was relatively new himself) decided to try to fight the scorpion, as he’d been killing deer, spiders, & other critters, and he had his best sword and chain armor on. The fight didn’t go well, and we had to retreat. His health was down to 50% and he had very severe wounds, which would kill him if he didn’t get them treated.

Now, in most MMOs, death isn’t a big deal. Die quickly, respawn at a graveyard, walk back to your corpse, and maybe wait 5-10 minutes to let any debuffs wear off. In Wurm though, if you die you leave your inventory on your corpse (which hopefully you can get back to loot before anyone else does), plus you lose some hard-earned skill points. Of course, in a survival MMO, that’s a very bad thing. If you’ve been playing a while and have built up your skills, you really, really don’t want to die.

To counteract that, dying in Wurm can take a long time. Wurm injuries work sort of like never-ending DoTs or bleeds, slowly ticking away at your health until they heal or until you treat them. Light wounds eventually heal on their own and aren’t a big deal, but Medium, Heavy, and Severe wounds all require player treatment, and have the potential to worsen if not treated. If an encounter goes south and you retreat from battle soon enough, you might have time to apply healing covers and bandages before you die.

So we hopped in my pal’s wagon & rode back to his homestead, watching his health slowly tick down. I jumped off at my place so that I could go get the few healing herbs that I had, but unfortunately I kept failing at making the healing covers since my skills were still low. We sent an SOS out in local and in PMs, all the way from Silent Hill to the PCGamer village, asking for any herbs or healing covers that folks had and any advice on how to treat the wound. Several people came streaming in from all directions, sometimes traveling 15 minutes or more to bring whatever they had on-hand to try to save this one player who was going to die.

We got all the wounds covered except for one… the one that was killing him, and which stated “You can see through the gaping hole”. Yikes. We found out that we needed a healing cover made of very specific ingredients, one of which none of us had. So we went out and started foraging and botanizing the grass, and after a while found the elusive herb. There was only a 50/50 chance of the healing cover being made successfully, and another 50/50 chance of it actually working. Thankfully the RNG was in our favor that night, and the wound stopped ticking away. Once we had that taken care of, we were able to bandage it (which started the actual healing process) and our friend was saved! He would live to see another day.

This whole scenario played out over about 2 hours, the same amount of time that people spend in raids or instances these days, and honestly… I like this better. It wasn’t about competition or phat loot, it was simply about coming together to help another player because one of these days, it could be you. Be it scorpions, bears, spiders, wolves, or what-have-you, there are plenty of creepy things lurking in the forests of Wurm, not to mention the injuries you can get just by accidentally falling down a steep hill or ledge. It’s a brutal game, but it also naturally encourages players to help to each other, simply because you need each other to survive.

That’s pretty darn awesome.

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