Flight to Willow Pond

Our cousin Gathilas had joined the party so there were now four of us in total. Our plan was still to head to the east coast where it looked empty on the community created map, which can be found here: Deliverance Community Map

Our journey began north of Green Dog and our plan was to head east to Nightmare Lake and circumvent it to the north. Now, my sense of direction in the real world is superb. I have never had an issue traversing downtown roads in a major city and I have driven halfway across the country with no problem. But in video games, particularly MMOs, my direction sense is next to useless. After 5 minutes of walking I couldn’t tell at all where we were on the map. It didn’t help that there have been many changes to the roads since the map was updated in this region. My brother Faeran, on the other hand, seemed to know which way to head and our journey began with out a hitch. Except this is Wurm and hitches are what it is all about.

The first problem that we encountered was that the decision to take a reduced speed in exchange for more carrying capacity meant that we could not out run most things, unbeknownst to us. We still had no idea that we could have been walking faster if we unloaded some of our inventory. Since we were a group of four, mountain lions, wild cats and wolves posed very little problems and, for the most part, we stood our ground against these beasts. Spiders and bears on the other hand, well, lets just say our common strategy was to run. Running from spiders and bears was a bit tricky because they ran faster than us. There were really two options when either of these beasts attacked us. The first was to find water since spiders cannot swim (bears could swim and we had to find that out the hard way). Water, unfortunately, was pretty scarce along the path we were taking so the second option was used far more frequently which was to run through a gate. While gates were more plentiful compared to water where we were, there were still times where neither option was available and we were forced to fight or die. The moments after a spider or bear attack were ones of sheer panic. The person who got hit first was usually stunned or slowed and the rest of us inevitably began running in opposite directions searching for water or a gate. We would eventually get our wits about us and we would alternate taunting off of the person getting hit to spread the damage around while simultaneously looking for a gate or water. We did fight and win against the odd spider or bear fight we chose to stick around for, but we agreed that it wasn’t worth the time it took to heal from such a fight.

After each fight, we would spend some time healing our wounds and this meant more foraging and botanizing. We were looking for very specific ingredients to create healing covers. Items like sassafrass and garlic would create lower level healing covers while the coveted lovage and rosemary were the best healing cover ingredients that could be foraged. All the while, we were gathering more vegetables, which was great because we were finding it difficult to keep up with food. It seemed at least one of us was starving at any given time.

Another problem were the nights. The nights in Wurm are dark! Gathilas and Nicilie still had their newbie lights, which last the first 24 hours of game time, but we hadn’t discovered lanterns just yet. We found that you could move the cursor around to look for hungry beasts lurking about in the dark. Once you hit one with the cursor, it lit up red. This seemed to work even when the beast was on the other side of a hill. So Faeran led while the rest of us continually scanned the horizon for a would-be attacker and we called out “Mob at X o’clock” when one was spotted. The term “Mob” was one that we used back in Everquest as a short form for “Mobile”. I guess we learned it from someone but for the life of me I don’t remember whom. It referred to an npc that was on the move or could potentially be on the move. This strategy worked for the most part, but there were times where we were surrounded by so many mobs that a fight was inevitable. We would clear the path through wolves or cats and around spiders and bears.

As we progressed along we started to notice that a lot of the settlement names that we passed were in homage to Everquest. There was Befallen, Ruins of Kunark, Halas, and Black Burrow just to name the few that we passed (if you look at the map you will get a sense of the path that we took). After Black Burrow, our plan was to shoot up north and then east along the road towards that tiny pond labeled (at the time of this post) Willow Pond. The road, however, ended before the turn. We had read somewhere that cobblestone roads can deteriorate if no one walks along them in some time so we were heading into some true wilderness.

Where the road would have turned east we found a valley between two large hills. It conveniently started to get dark as we entered the valley and we huddled in close. We knew that if we could just get to that little body of water we would be somewhat safe but the darkness almost stopped us in our tracks. We scanned the landscape for potential attackers and we saw too many to count. Mostly spiders, but wolves and cats were plentiful as well. We knew we had to take our time. We chose to attack a nearby cat just to get it out of the way. This allowed us to move forward a bit into the valley. Going slowly, and foraging and botanizing for food and ingredients for healing covers along the way, we plotted a path that would lead us through a few more cats and wolves. The next couple fights went smoothly and we stopped after each one to heal ourselves back up. While healing up after the most recent fight, a mountain lion jumped on top of us. We sprung into battle, still slightly wounded. Halfway through tearing the cat a new one, a wolf jumped into the fray. Gathilas off-tanked while we took down the cat in a timely fashion. Now all of us were on the wolf trying to taunt it off of Gathilas to spread the damage around when all of a sudden a spider came out of no where. He must have smelt easy prey.

It had been one of the most invigorating video game experiences of my life.

I was the only one with very little wounds at the time so I grabbed the spider’s attention while the wolf was taken down. We knew that we were in no position to run. There were no gates in sight, and with no roads under our feet we would never out run the spider to the pond which was still too far away. I was calling out my health as it fell quickly from 75% to 50% to 30% before we got the spider to a wounded state. Everyone was frantically taunting but to no avail. The last moments of the fight seemed like an eternity while the startling notion of respawning at the starter area flashed through my mind again and again. Suddenly, I parried an incoming attack while we all seemingly struck the spider simultaneously. My health was at 3% when the spider breathed his last breath. A red halo of light had closed in to block most of my vision.

Everyone frantically started to apply healing covers as I checked for the severity of my wounds. I cringed when I saw that one of them was labeled “Bad”. You see, in Wurm, wounds can be very light, light, medium, bad and severe. Only the first two will heal on their own while medium wounds will not heal, but won’t get worse either. Bad and severe wounds on the other hand get worse with time and since I had but 3% health remaining, I thought that the next tick (which would occur within the next 10 minutes) would be my last. We used up the last of our available healing covers, all of which failed to apply, and we continued to forage for more materials. It was a race against the clock and our chances were pretty bad considering our extremely low skill in … well, pretty much everything. Eventually, it was Faeran who saved the day by applying a healing cover that was of good enough quality that it would just stop the wound from getting worse, but we were pretty sure it would not be enough to get it to start healing. My other wounds were healing up fine and my health moved back up to about 30%. I was feeling a lot better about moving again and we pushed the rest of the way through the crowd of mobs and made it to the pond.

Like clockwork, the dawn cracked as we approached safety. Next to the pond we found a small enclosure made of wooden fences and a 1×1 house. Some crops were spread about the land signaling that this was someone’s current abode, but a few of them were already withered meaning that that someone hadn’t been on in a while. We would use this place as a temporary base while we healed up and restocked our supplies. I recall that this night was a late one as it was well into the AM in RL by the time we made it to Willow Pond. It had been one of the most invigorating video game experiences of my life. This would not be the last time that I thought to myself that I would be playing Wurm for a long time to come.

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This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series The Journey to Puzzles

1 comments
Michael
Michael

This was the single best experience in an MMORPG I've had since EQ. The darkness, the adventure, and the unknown immersed me in a way that I haven't been in a long time. The thing this game provides over other games is the feeling of an actual world, despite the lackluster graphics. Funny how some darkness, danger and no in game map can beat out a triple A game with top end graphics in realism.