tisdag 2 juni 2009

Moved to http://www.wurmonline.com/blog/

This blog is now formally moved to
http://www.wurmonline.com/blog/ where the whole team blogs. It will be a lot more interesting and active. See you there instead!

lördag 16 maj 2009

Libilian Outlawz aftermath

This was taken yesterday, on the morning after the raid. There used to be long houses on the walls and of course as you can see the wall itself has been breached.

fredag 8 maj 2009

What a day!

This month Wurm Online has a 6 page feature in PC Gamer UK! 6 pages!

The article was fair and just and well written. It explained what Wurm is about and captures the feelings that we want to convey.

I want to congratulate and thank the team and the players as you're all involved in what makes Wurm noticable in such a way.

Other things I've been busy with is refactoring the client, changing protocol and stuff in order to thwart old hacks. I've been talking to potential investors and I've assisted Egal some with getting the new server up and running. Oh and looking at bugs trying to find out the reason why some animals disappear at times. Adding some debug functionality since I have troubles reproducing the bugs at will.

I am currently looking at changing food for the better and also skill rolls need some tweaking to handle difficulties above 100.

Player Of The Week is Drega who reported the mount safety bug and Team Member Of The Week is Egal for working hard with the new server!

Enjoy the weekend - I know I will!

måndag 6 april 2009

Moving forward with the server setup

Like, a few weeks ago I managed to wreak havoc upon this game I develop. The effects weren't actually dramatically noticable in player count but quite a lot of the game masters and some developers quit in disappointment. Because of the lack of totally pvp-free servers and the hit to morale the community suffered player count is slowly slumping.

Now, I think that it is safe to say that I made a mistake and a rash decision. The discussion we have now in the forums could have been started instead of opening up for kvk (kingdom versus kingdom) fighting. There are probably some benefits as well with the way things happened though. Someone learned something or so. I probably did:)

Now it is pretty clear that Wurm is moving towards or splitting into a pvp game and a non pvp game on different servers. We are discussing on whether it should be possible to move between these games and if so how.

The main issues with letting people move between pvp and non-pvp servers are:
* Spies coming from and returning to the safe servers
* Loot disappearing into the safe servers
* High skills trained in safety
* High quality items created in safety
* People coming to the safe servers with high fighting skills, killing unique creatures then returning

Some people care about these issues and some don't think that it is a problem.

There are suggestions for solutions to limiting the negative effects of them. I think that we will have a solution ready within a few weeks.

Team member of this week is Enki - he's been around helping out for so long it hurts. I remember he made some useful diagrams over trader prices years ago when I was debugging those.

Player of the week is Awesomefusion. He's been such a force in pvp that it's helped balance it:)

All in all I feel that Wurm is moving in a positive direction again.

fredag 13 mars 2009

Mount code coming together

Yesterday afternoon I finally got the riding synchronized and the speeds are pretty good now so now I can move on to equipment.

You can add a saddle, bridle, (and horseshoes to horses) and your mount will move a bit faster. This equipment side could be made very intricate using all sorts of equipment and requiring horse grooming equipment etc, but that would just make it a hassle to ride.

Some equipment used as a bonus is good because you can ride without it and it will add to the economy.
We'll probably see these changes coming in a week or two.

The big discussion now is about the survival of HOTS because of dwindling numbers. We'll see how many players stick around until I can make the kingdom work properly.

Player of the week is Phennexion who wrote about his experiences with trying to play HOTS in a very good way and also came to say goodbye in irc afterwards.

Team member of the week is our lead designer Mortimar. He's been under a lot of pressure these last months with work and studies but is rounding up his team for a push. Good luck with that and everything else Mortimar!

fredag 27 februari 2009

Interesting week

Well, this one was interesting.

Darkfall released. I have been looking forward to it very much and honestly I've been pretty nervous about loosing a lot of customers to it. It seems that it will not be that bad.

The launch received a lot of criticism and I read that there is a lack of content. Someone claimed that it basically is all about running around killing anyone in sight and that it becomes pretty boring quickly. Now I am sure that is not the whole truth but it probably doesn't have all that jazz that they promised. This is good for us Wurmers I believe but I find it kind of sad that every MMO release seems to hold less than it promises.

I know far too well about post launch issues myself and can only gasp at the humongous task they have of debugging the game now with real players.

One discussion in the forums that I heard a lot about was the Nickromancer case. I removed the skills he received for the second time of becoming a Champion, as well as added a death so that he has as many as he had before the suiciding. Some people will still think that it is unfair. Things are never fair. A bug was involved that should have prevented the last suicide in the first place and a lot of people was upset so I decided to use the bug as an excuse to revive him. I am sure there is some way to hunt him down properly if you really want him permadead.

I do know that I don't want Vynora priests to live among the Hots like Nickromancer does so something will be done about that.

Another discussion was of course the MR region creature spawns on wild. It turns out that they actually do have a lot less spawns in their area. This could be because players destroy those spawns but from what I could see in the logs fewer spawns actually managed to spawn there as well. The numbers are too low to be statistically valid though and in the next update I have updated the spawn rates overall.

I have been busy coding new bugs. We are currently testing mounts and carts on the test server. I threw in a breeding system with traits as well. Wollschaf who has written great test reports thinks that horse breeding has the potential of becoming greater than boats in Wurm. But that is of course until swimming is made harder so that boats become essential for traversing large water masses.

Anyways, the player of the week is Wollschaf and the team member of the week is Eir. She just springs to mind. I think she said hello and goodbye in irc and it is always nice. Besides you all know she rules!

fredag 20 februari 2009

Nice end of the week

Well, this week has seen some nice progress at least on the test front. In production, shield skillgain has yoyo'd in speed which has been frustrating for a lot of people. The whole shield skillgain situation is a bit embarrassing I must say but I think that it works ok now.

The test server is up and running with a large cart that looks like a sack. You can however hitch a bull or two in front of it and drive it around, provided that you tame and lead the bulls first.

You may also ride certain tame creatures. After some convincing I allowed crocodiles to be ridden as well. Most weird creatures require a lot of body control to be ridden though.

You can download the test client and try these features out at http://www.wurmonline.com/testclient/wurmclienttest.jnlp

That client used to go to the production servers but now it goes back to the test server for mount tests.

Team members of this week and last week are Pryath and Niobe. Niobe is a fantastically good GM and gets the award for last week since she had her birthday then. She was the mastermind behind the new Newtown design.
Pryath is her husband and helps out with client development. He is working on icons and spell effects showing in the client.

fredag 6 februari 2009


It's fun that people care a lot about what you do. Unfortunately this leaves the possibility to disappoint those persons with every step you take.

Now, Wurm development takes lots of steps every day by a lot of people. This is because we are rushing. There is a reason for this, it is not a coincidence and it is a conscient development strategy on my part. I have goals to reach - I want to reach version 1 of all the features and polishing will come later.
I look at Wurm Online like a car being put together. Right now it lacks wheels and I can't rest until I put them on. After I've taken Wurm for a test drive we'll start replacing parts and polishing the chrome. I think I've made these kinds of allegories before.

This leaves plenty of room for disappointments which you players will have to live with. We seldom optimize right now. It takes too much time. You should be aware of this. Eventually we will take fewer if not smaller steps and with greater care.

Two examples of such steps are
1. The appointment of the mayor of Glitterdale. I hear fears but I see no failure. He sure is better than I was. We will optimize later.
2. The ban of Kingen. Some people think that he should get exactly the same punishment as some other player because the situation was similar. I haven't looked into the case because I don't feel I have to in order to say this: it is not the same case. No cases are exactly the same (I stated that Kingen had been banned before which was wrong but that is irrelevant).
I don't think that you should be able to expect a certain punishment for a certain crime in Wurm since then you can calculate on whether breaking the rules are worth it.
The GM's however do try to follow their own guidelines in order to keep it fair. I think what Kingen received was a standard first term ban.

All in all a ban is one of those steps where we risk disappointing a group of players. It is not fun for anyone involved.

Another thing I want to say about bans that the GM's have done: I've investigated a lot of those pretty thoroughly. At least twenty. Maybe it's a hundred but I don't think so so I'll count low. I've had to question very few and only felt that one or two was wrong or should be reconsidered. None have had any kingdom bias. And those are usually high profile cases - for these there are lots of bans that are without question.

That said, I am trying to code away most situations that are bannable anyways.

Team member of the week is Oracle - not for the ban but for being such a fantastic team member. Like all the GM's he takes the heat that most of the time should be aimed at me. He seems to pick exactly the right persons for the job all the time as well.

Player of the week is Miggy!

torsdag 29 januari 2009

State of war

I receive a lot of worried reports about the imbalance of the war on wild. Word is that the Jenn Kellon greatly outnumber the HOTS and Mol Rehan kingdoms.
Being tired of the constant underdog position, old players of Mol Rehan change side and join the Jenn Kellon.

New players are left behind
The remaining players of Mol Rehan desperately and quite successfully manage to recruit new blood. However, due to old variations in skill speed gain and the odd exploit the old players have a lot higher body stats so new players feel discouraged.
Add to that the recent skillgain limitation on alt accounts and I can see that the Jenn Kellon kingdom may feel like a dragon poised to swallow you whole.

Kingdom bonus
There is already the bonus for low populated kingdoms. If the difference is very large the players of that kingdom mainly receive a Combat Rating bonus of 2. This effects a few different things but when it comes to hitting the enemy this equals roughly 20 in overall fighting skill. So if you have 20 in fighting skill you fight as if you have 40. If the difference is lower this bonus is 1 CR instead.

.. is too high?
These last days I received two notes forwarded by the GM's. One player complains that he has been killed by people with far lower skill than he has. This is maybe because of the kingdom bonus I just mentioned. It could of course be a number of other things since skills are not the only thing involved in combat. Maybe they flanked him? In any case he was very upset about the kingdom bonuses.

.. is too low?
The other note I received was from a GM who was worried about these things and thought that the lower populated kingdoms were supposed to receive bonuses. He was upset that they didn't receive enough bonus.

On the hidden variables
I just want to comment on this and say that variables in Wurm are hidden for a reason. You are not supposed to easily calculate on whether you can beat an enemy. You will only be able to do certain assumptions given the equipment he is wearing and possibly his reputation.
To make a real world allegory you never know if someone is going to pull up a hidden knife in a fight. If all numbers are available people will make calculations and figure out which combinations are the best. The negative side of this apart from that there may be hidden bugs in the system is that people may decide to refrain from fighting at all. You should however get a feeling of whether you are competitive early on in a combat situation.

What should be done about the situation on the wild server then?

Do nothing?
It is tempting to look at it from a long term perspective. In a year from now I expect that we will have a lot of new players while some old players have left so the problem will be thinned out. We will probably have motivated people to join the other kingdoms so the numbers are different as well. There will also be new features that may outweight the skill advantage in some unknown ways.

.. but we're loosing deeds
But that doesn't help the player who right now feels that he is hopelessly defending his deed on the wild server either against overwhelming numbers or foes that gain unfair kingdom bonuses. Deeds on wild are actually expected to fall now and then. If you fail to defend your deed you will have to retreat.

What did I expect?
I did expect Jenn Kellon to gain the upper hand. Especially since newbies joined Jenn Kellon initially for years. I thought that the people who switched to Mol Rehan were brave given that there was no natural influx of free playing newbies to their kingdom. I was hoping that enough experienced players would join so that they could compete. And they did. But because Jenn kept the newbie situation the Mol Rehan are now in a dire position. Kind of expected. I don't know if the Jenn have enough people to push them back all the way to Gold Coast though.

What do I want?
I want the kingdoms to be fairly equal. I want a front line where the battle rages. I want groups to move around wild in secrecy trying to ambush the enemy, go on siege, hunt for resources, or pursue certain goals that will forward the plot. I will assume that most of the wild players want the same.

Possible immediate actions
Increase skillgain for body stats and fighting skills. Reset fighting related skills. Nerf body stats. Do nothing. Give money to people joining Mol Rehan on wild. Let a plague hit Jenn Kellon. Buff MR and HOTS even more (HOTS will be buffed soon anyways). Increase the kingdom bonuses for low population. - These are just a few of the possibilites.

Selected immediate action
I will add some incitaments for joining Mol Rehan and reward the existing (premium) Mol Rehan players. I will also have to buff HOTS soon even though I was planning to do that while I look at religion primarily. I will refrain from nerfing existing skills for now. This should increase the amount of Mol Rehan players somewhat. Probably not nearly enough to compete with the Jenn Kellons but hopefully enough to at least stand their ground.

Don't feel cheated please
If you are a Jenn Kellon player (chances are high that you are!) and feel kind of cheated I would like for you to consider how fun it is to play tennis alone. You need an opponent. Try to be happy that we try to fix some for you. If you are a Mol Rehan player and wanted a skill nerf try to understand that it is not something we want to do again. Some old heroes will remain on both sides and that you can achieve the same stats given enough time. Their skills will decay or they will loose them to mob deaths.

Absurd tennis game allegory
Wurm is supposed to be a Wimbledon for MMO players, not merely a chat room. We need to get a working startup line. I count on your understanding!



söndag 11 januari 2009

You're not Anonymous here

As most of you who read this blog probably are aware Wurm was recently discovered by a large internet forum known as 4chan.org. They seem to be a rowdy bunch who don't refrain from using strong language but they deserve a hearty welcome! We have received a lot of energy from them and a lot of them go premium so they really support development.

I must thank my team members for helping them settle in and get accustomed to our culture. I am sure a lot of you have spent long hours and had your share of headaches in the process.

Most of you new arrivals have already settled in but I thought I'd give my view on the matter as well. As you may realize using profane language in the public channels in Wurm is about as Anonymous as talking like that to your neighbours. Wurm is designed to be a place where you become someone so anonymity looses its role here.

I have created some instructions for you here where I personally interact with the community and show the basics of Wurm discussion.