Most veteran Wurm players will tell you that there are a handful of new player questions and comments about the game that come up all the time. One of these comments, and this comes up every night or two, is:
“But there’s nowhere to settle!”
Of course, the area surrounding the spawn point on each server is the first to get built up and deeded, so newer players have to venture out away from that area to really be able to find available land. This was especially true on the Independence PvE server last year, as it was the only PvE server and new trial players started there by default. Players who wanted to find wilderness had to venture out sometimes 1-3 hours away from the spawn area to find some precious wilderness to settle in.
Then last fall the two new servers, Deliverance and Exodus, opened, and many players moved there, relieving much of the burden on Independence. As the months have passed, old player-owned deeds have dropped and nature has started reclaiming many of these areas. They’re not necessarily pretty to look at; half-decayed buildings & fences, bulk and food storage bins, beds, chests, coffins & looms all hint at what activities the previous resident enjoyed doing in-game and are popular for pillagers & explorers to sift through for the occasional treasure. Most abandoned settlements have already been picked-over and left to continue rotting, but I see in these old areas a HUGE, vastly underrated resource for new players.
Need a place to settle? Don’t look for wilderness. Look for an abandoned deed.
Another common complaint from new players is that it takes so long to do things in game. Just to build a house, you have to chop the trees, chop trees into logs, and saw the logs into planks. Then you have to find a public iron mine (or make your own), mine some iron, build a forge, & make the iron into nails & a door lock. Then you need to flatten the area where your house & settlement will be, and assemble your house piece by piece until it’s finished. Want a floor? You’ll either need to chop what can seem like a forest of trees for wooden floorboards, or continue mining so that you can put down slabs or cobble. Want fences? More trees or mining. Need to flatten someplace for farmland? Time to dig. It can take days if not weeks for a new player to finish a modest settlement in the wilderness.
Now, imagine that the same player finds a spot previously occupied but abandoned. There’s no buildings, but it’s been terraformed nice & flat already, and there are already slabs or floorboards where the old building used to be. There’s also still an old fence pen set up, and while it’s small, it’ll do for a bit of farming and an animal or two. There’s also a mine nearby, with iron and maybe one or two other metals inside, and there is a forge, oven, bulk storage bin, and a bed already on the property.
All that player has to do is build his house. The terraforming has been done, everything he needs to get started is already built, and he has the resources available to make further progress in the game. Sure, he won’t gain the skill he normally would get making all those things, but the skill will come in time anyway, and at least he has a modest base of operations to get started. The beauty of this is that since nearly everything in-game is changeable, as the player gets more experience he can change things to suit his desires. Want more trees? Plant some. Want fewer trees? Chop some. Want to get rid of a huge concrete slab? That can go too. Don’t like the position or design of your house or fence? You can build a new one & tear the old one down – at your pace and without being unprotected in the meantime.
The other advantage of this is that the more developed an area gets, the fewer animals that spawn there. By claiming an abandoned deed, you’re leaving more wilderness for explorers and animal spawns for hunters, not to mention leaving the landscape untouched and wild to add to the atmosphere of the area.
Of course something happened over the weekend that spurred this post… those of you who follow my twitter feed likely already know what it is. I’ll post more about that this week! 😉