22Jan 2013

The Journey to Ravenstone [Part 1]

As I had briefly mentioned in my returning post Shift Happens, I had returned to Wurm Online after about a year of having abandoned it the first time. I never did explain exactly what happened to make me leave, what made me return, and how I ended up with my current deed named Ravenstone. So I invite you to settle in with a cup of hot cocoa (especially if it’s freezing where you are like it is here), and let me tell you a story.

Why I gave it another shot

There’s many reasons why I stopped playing Wurm back in May 2011. It had seemed so long and difficult back then, particularly when shortly after I discovered Minecraft which made it so much easier to create massive and impressive projects. There was also time being spent in LotRO and later on that year I went back to WoW. WoW and Minecraft began to take up most of my gaming time and Wurm was all but forgotten.

Fast forward to May 2012. Times were rough for me. My WoW guild that I had spent 3+ years in, and had made so many friends in, was transferred to another server by the guild leader without much warning. I was devastated to say in the least but I refused to follow them to the new server for various reasons. I formed a new guild to try to keep together the guild members who remained but I’m just not the leader type. And thinking back now, my heart just wasn’t in it. I was doing it because I was upset and determined to make things work to spite my previous GL. WoW had always been my escape before but now I needed to get away from all that stress.

Minecraft wasn’t cutting it either. The problem I have with it is that each new update generally brings changes to the maps, changes that you can only see by discovering more of the map or starting again on a brand new one. So our Minecraft server has been through several new maps already, and each time I’ve started over again. It became rather repetitive…

  1. Start on a new map.
  2. Go through the “beginner” stage of getting new tools, build bases to work out of, and start gathering materials.
  3. Build a bunch of really cool things that I hadn’t built on previous maps, because I don’t like feeling as though I’m just repeating past work.
  4. A Minecraft update comes out so I archive the old map, generate some new maps until I find one that I like, and then go back to step 1.

By now, I’ve been through that process at least 5 times, probably more. It was getting to be too easy and too quick for me. What I needed was something harder, a game with a slower pace and more substantial rewards. I began remembering my previous time in Wurm increasing frequency…and I missed it. It had been lots of fun in its own way. So eventually I gave in and logged back onto my character Faeldray.

The Return to Independence

Just about everything in Wurm decays. Deeds run out, house walls fall down, animals die, farms turn to weeds. Players also have little to no compunction about looting abandoned places. Generally if there’s anything that’s not on a deed, locked up, and/or “nailed down” (some items can’t be picked up, only pushed or pulled very small distances), you can expect that it won’t stay around for very long. It’s well within the rules of the game and makes sense really. If those players are long gone, why not make use of the stuff they leave behind? Wurmians are frugal people in that sense.

I didn’t expect much to be left when I logged back in to Terhenetar. I was right. Our deed upkeep had run out a long time ago and Terhenetar had disbanded automatically. All of our houses and most of our fences had fallen down. All the storage bins and other containers had been emptied and taken, or had decayed to nothing. A forge, some stone slabs, and some willow trees we planted were all that remained of our home. It was a little sad to see but I couldn’t really blame anyone but myself. I had left it to fall into this state when I quit. I had abandoned it.

What was left of Terhenetar

What was left of Terhenetar

But things like that promote change in Wurm. Down at the bottom of the hill where our farm and animal pens had been, someone had built a home and had their own farm going. As far as I was concerned, what had been Terhenetar now belonged to that players and any others that came along and chose to settle there.

I have this habit of carrying around what I consider “essential” tools, so I was lucky enough to have logged off with most of the tools I would need to start over. After taking a look at the player-made map, I decided that I wanted to build my home somewhere else. Glancing around one last time, I said goodbye to my old home and then headed out onto the highway.

The roundabout road to Colossus Lake

The one thing I knew I wanted was to be able to have access to open water. Terhenetar had been built on the edge of an isolated lake, with no access to the sea by boat. I had built a rowboat previously, but all it was really good for was fishing. I couldn’t use it for transportation.

So after consulting the map, I decided that my best chances were to explore the west shore of the Inner Sea, the west portion of the server. It appeared the least crowded so I thought I had a good chance.

It turns out that just because there’s not a lot of mapped deeds in the area does not mean that there’s much room to live. Quite a lot of deeds are not marked on the map because their owners have never requested them to be added. The area was also quite mountainous, and finding free workable land close to the water was next to impossible. I spent several sessions over the next couple of days just wandering around, trying to find a nice place to settle. I was chased by all sorts of bad things, like scorpions, spiders, and hell hounds. One of the good things about looking for land close to water is that you are close to water most of the time and most mobs can’t swim. I’m also pretty good at situational awareness (that’s how I usually lived through raids back in WoW) so I was able to avoid dying.

I talked to other players on my quest for land, asking them if they knew anywhere free to settle. Players generally know their local area quite well and can be a great resource for finding hidden gems that you may not have noticed otherwise. Eventually someone referred me to someone named Cerber, who knew of some spots right on the water up around Colossus Lake. He offered to show me around if I made my way over there. Now, I was in the center of the west side of the server and Colossus Lake was located in the north east. But one thing I have learned about Wurm is that you cannot be scared of some distance. So I began to walk.

It took me over an hour to make to the northeast side of the server. I made a few wrong turns along the way and eventually Cerber found me and picked me up in his cart a ways away from Colossus Lake. He then took the time to bring me to the lake as he promised and showed me several abandoned settlements that were just waiting to be settled. I couldn’t believe my eyes really. This was prime waterfront land and so much of it was unused. I discovered later that a lot of people wouldn’t even consider it because they think it’s far away from Freedom Market at the center of the map. I didn’t mind travelling an hour to get their myself so I said I’d definitely stay around there. Cerber kindly offered me a house to sleep in until I decided which spot I liked the best. After some deliberation, I picked a beautiful abandoned village surrounded by trees with a nice dock going out into the lake. I quickly built a 2×2 shack to live in for a while, and after a few weeks (on June 6 to be exact), I deeded the area under the name Ravenswood.

This story is turning out longer than I thought so I’m breaking it up into two parts. Continue onto Part 2.

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