Yesterday was a crazy day in Wurm Online. It was patch day! It seems like patches are coming more and more frequently these days, which is a very good thing. In the recent weeks we’ve seen an updated crafting system, new graphics and features, and quality-of-life tweaks; these patches seem to be coming at a lightning-speed rate compared to last year. One of the nifty things that was added yesterday was new crop graphics – now all crops have their own unique looks, and you can actually see the crops change as they go through their life cycles. Cotton is my favorite so far, though I love having strawberry fields now.
So today, as part of Developers Appreciation Week, I’m going to give a shout-out to Rolf and the other developers, artists, and the GM/Community team at Code Club AB. For a very long time, Rolf was the only paid developer for Wurm, but in the past year he’s added a Client Developer (Haradur) and a Lead Art Developer (Wox). There is a team of other volunteer developers, artists and web gurus as well – Dashiva, Budda, Zcul, Cryptik, Wollschaf, Saytheb, Saroman, Kinoss, Egal, and Gurubear – all incredibly talented folks that love the game and provide their services to make the game a better experience for all of us.
I’m still amazed that Wurm Online is largely developed and managed by one person and such a small team. When I first started playing Wurm, coming from the world of AAA MMOs, huge budgets, and enormous development teams, it was easy at first to see all of the faults of a smaller indie MMO. Animations were lacking. The graphics looked like they were stuck in the early 2000s. The UI was really strange and unintuitive at first. But, once I really started playing and discovered that they truly are designing something completely different than your ordinary, run-of-the-mill MMO, it all becomes clear. Sure, animations could use some work (and are being worked on as we speak!), but it’s not about shiny graphics, really. It’s about imagination, cooperative play, and carving out your own little space in the world.
One thing that I love about the Wurm Online dev team is that they really do try to involve the players in the development of the game. New art concepts are posted before they are implemented, to get feedback and suggestions, and yes, some concepts have been changed based on player feedback. New features and system redesigns are often pitched to the players for ideas and suggestions, and those ideas are very often implemented into the final design. The whole process has a bit of a homegrown and grassroots feel to it, and it is a wonderful thing to, as a player, be able to talk directly to the dev team regarding new features. In March, there was a Wurm Meetup in Amsterdam, and Rolf and the team showed up to hang out with the players. Lots of great suggestions were brought up directly to the team during this meetup, the majority of which were implemented in-game about a week after the meeting.
I would be remiss if I did not also mention the Wurm GMs. These volunteers are very passionate about Wurm and the players – they absolutely want everyone to have a wonderful experience in-game and do their best to assist players quickly and efficiently, in what is often a thankless job that requires them to selflessly take time away from their own playtime. These guys and gals are the ones that grease the wheels (so to speak) by taking care of glitches and in-game issues, and Wurm would be a much harsher and more frustrating place if they weren’t there.
So here’s to Rolf and the entire Wurm Online team. Thank you for all the blood, sweat, and tears that you pour into this little online world that we get to explore and inhabit, and thank you for the creativity and for daring to do something completely different than the accepted norm. Thank you also for being so open to the players and taking our feedback into consideration – it IS noticed and appreciated. Cheers!
*In the interest of full disclosure, yes, I am a Community Assistant for Wurm Online, which entails assisting new players and answering questions in the Help channel. These are my sole personal opinions, and not in any way endorsed by Code Club AB.