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Wurm Online

Wurm Online's summer update tweaks graphics, UI, and more

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Wurm Online, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Sandbox, Crafting

Wurm Online's summer update tweaks graphics, UI, and more
Ready for Wurm Online's summer update? It happens tomorrow, June 18th, and it's all about enhancing client performance in the long-running browser-based sandbox. Also on tap are new housing extensions, fence types, mystical sorcery powers, and overhauls of the foraging and botanising system.

The UI and the graphics are getting an overhaul, too, thanks to new creature models, animations, inventory grouping and more. So, yeah, it's a pretty substantial patch. You can read more about it at Wurm's official blog and be sure to check out our recent revisit of the classic sandbox game.

Second Wind: Returning to Wurm Online is a process

Fantasy, Video, Wurm Online, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Sandbox, Crafting, Second Wind

Second Wind Returning to Wurm Online is a process
After being away from Wurm Online for almost a year, I have to admit I was a bit scared to return. Anxiety levels are high as you log in and have a quick scan of the area to see if you're surrounded by something that will immediately eat your face. It's also fairly unsettling to see how much of your stuff has rotted or been stolen since you left.

In fact, once I determined that my house, my boat, and most of my possessions hadn't been taken by other players in my absence, I had to log back off. I just had to do something else offline for a bit while that anxiety flow slowed to a trickle.

But I soon answered that unexplainable call to log back in and start my new life as a reborn Wurmian. I've heard so many great things about the game's improvements over the last few months that I just had to check them out for myself.

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Free for All: My five favorite MMOs for exploration

Screenshots, Culture, Ryzom, Wurm Online, Opinion, Second Life, Vanguard, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Virtual Worlds, Free for All, Miscellaneous, Sandbox

Vanguard screenshot
There's nothing more important to me than the ability to freely explore MMOs. Heck, exploration is the reason I got into MMOs. I remember grabbing that box of Ultima Online (man, I wish I still had that box!) from a shelf at the local game store and looking in wonder at just how vast this virtual world seemed to be. I'm still the same way, although after years of doing this, I am a bit more cynical about games. I've heard so many promises that never came true, but I know that even the worst of titles offers the chance to explore a brand-new world.

There are a lot of exploration mechanics out there. Free Realms has an adventurer "job," The Secret World needs players to explore to solve mysteries, Guild Wars 2 offers experience based on discovering new areas, EverQuest II entices people to explore by offering collectible items embedded in the ground, and there are so many MMOs that allow players to gain experience just by approaching areas they haven't before.

But I have my favorites. These are games that just make me feel like an explorer.

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Free for All: The second annual Frindie Awards

Real-Life, Sci-Fi, Asheron's Call, Contests, Culture, PvP, Ryzom, The Matrix Online, Wurm Online, PvE, Opinion, Second Life, Vanguard, RuneScape, Free-to-Play, Browser, Mobile, Casual, Virtual Worlds, Mabinogi, Kids, Alganon, Free for All, Family, Miscellaneous, Enter at Your Own Rift, Sandbox

Frindie Awards logo
It's time once again for the Frindie Awards, my attempt to shine some light on the best indie, browser-based, free-to-play, and unusual MMOs that are all-too-often ignored by press -- and players. This one is for the little guys! Well, mostly. It's also for those games that seem to have passed under the collective radar of Massively readers or that seem to be very misunderstood.

Picking the winners this year is just as hard as it was last year, maybe even harder. 2012 was an incredible year for MMOs, so I would rather have just put together an article that highlights every single favorite. In the end, it's more helpful to make myself pick out a winner. It's a rare thing for some of these games to even receive a nod on a major website, something I still can't figure out. Either way, it's best to think of all of the MMOs on this list as my favorites from 2012.

Anyway, let's get to the awards!

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Massively Speaking Episode 228: A Glitch in the system

Podcasts, EVE Online, MMO Industry, Wurm Online, News Items, Massively Meta, All Points Bulletin, Massively Speaking, Miscellaneous

Massively Speaking Episode 228
MMO worlds are shutting down left and right lately, and fans wonder whether this is the fabled onlinepocalypse we've feared for years. The Mayans predicted the end of such gaming worlds, but their contemporaries thought them mad, and historians didn't know what to make of an ancient civilization talking about "welfare epics," "XP grinds," and "Massively Speaking."

If it is the end of the world, wouldn't you like to hold the hands of two soothing podcasters who have plenty of popcorn to share? If we were you, we would totally do it. Listening to this episode is the next best thing, really.

Have a comment for the podcasters? Shoot an email to podcast@massively.com. We may just read your email on the air!

Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to Massively Speaking directly in iTunes.
[RSS] Add Massively Speaking to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
Listen here on the page:

Read below the cut for the full show notes.

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Wurm Online officially releasing December 12th

Fantasy, Launches, Patches, Wurm Online, Free-to-Play, Sandbox

WURM Online officially releasing December 12th
While Wurm Online, that sandbox of sandboxes, has been entertaining the public for a while, it's yet to officially launch. That will definitely change come December 12th, as the title will transition into version 1.0.

With the launch comes several improvements to the title. The developers are adding character customization, visible armor, buildings with more than one story, and "nicer-looking creatures."

Wurm Online's launch will also coincide with the release of a new server for players looking for a fresh start. The team said that once Wurm Online goes to 1.0, players will see a lot more communication and publicity for the game.

Choose My Adventure: You decide the MMO and how I play it

Fantasy, Polls, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EverQuest II, Fallen Earth, Lord of the Rings Online, Wurm Online, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Vanguard, Guild Wars 2, War, Free-to-Play, Massively Meta, MMOFPS, Global Agenda, Choose My Adventure, Allods Online, World of Tanks, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous

Choose My Adventure You decide the MMO and how I play it
It's finally time for my second round of Choose My Adventure. The last time I helmed CMA, Lineage II was top pick, and I had a lot of fun with it. I took tons of screenshots and video to keep you in the loop as to my progress, and you can expect the same, whichever game is chosen this time.

MJ's turn with The Secret World was a lot of fun to read and follow. She even livestreamed some of her shenanigans... I mean, adventures. You can bet I'll be playing with one finger over the PrtScn button and livestreaming some of my adventures as well. I hope to make this a multimedia extravaganza of epic proportions.

Take a look through your choices and vote, vote, vote. And make sure to get those votes in by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday the 21st!

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Previously on MV TV: The week of September 22nd

Fantasy, Video, Aion, EverQuest II, Classes, Events (In-Game), Interviews, Previews, Wurm Online, Opinion, Ultima Online, Vanguard, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, The Secret World, Casual, Virtual Worlds, Humor, Allods Online, Community Q&A, Livestream, Sandbox, Dungeons, Crafting, Previously on MV TV, Anniversaries, Housing

Previously On MV TV banner
It's that time of the week again, people! Time for those unlucky few who missed our livestreams as they went live to click beyond the cut and enjoy my favorites of the week. It's hard picking them out, so I reach out to the team and ask which ones deserve to be highlighted. Honestly, all of the livestreams deserve the spotlight, but it should be no surprise to find out that individual streamers find their own streams to be the best of the best. I tend to agree, and every week I am surprised at just how no-nonsense and informative our streams are. Be sure to bookmark our livestream schedule calender so that each week you can tune in to your favorite. Feel free to suggest titles for streaming and to chat it up with our streamers live as they play!

This week we have MJ returning with her favorite games like EverQuest II, Aion, The Secret World, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, and Guild Wars 2. Richie joins in with his current favorite, Guild Wars 2, and I round things off with an hour spent with the Ultima Online developer team, a goblinball session with community leaders in Allods Online, and a tutorial on building a house in Wurm Online! Trust me, if there is one goblin-kicking, dev-interviewing, house-building livestream series that you should watch, it's this one!

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MMO Blender: Using older MMOs to build a perfectly paced world

Fantasy, Video, EverQuest, Fallen Earth, Culture, Game Mechanics, Ryzom, Wurm Online, Opinion, Ultima Online, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, RIFT, Livestream, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Crafting, MMO Blender

RIFT Sanctum creenshot
One of the issues I have with so many modern AAA titles is that when I play them, I immediately feel forced through a series of noisy and chaotic moments. I know that these tutorials are supposed to make me feel as though I am stepping into a sort of world-on-fire, but to me it just feels like a mess. RIFT is a great game, truly, but every time I want to start a new character or try the game out again, I dread going through the annoying tutorial. It's so demanding. It grabs my hand and pulls me through a linear series of non-discoveries.

Now, this might just be my fading gamer memory, but I distinctly remember how it felt to be dropped off in the middle of nowhere in an MMO. While there are a few modern titles like Wurm Online that basically do the same thing, the mystery and immersion of those first few levels in most major MMOs has been replaced by sheer noise. I don't like it.

Good pacing is a wonderful thing. If it's tweaked just right, players feel immediately invested in a world even while feeling completely lost. I'd like to make this week's dream MMO using those older-game designs. It's time to slow down.

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Free for All: Getting lost in the labyrinth of Wurm Online

Fantasy, Video, Culture, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Wurm Online, Vanguard, Free-to-Play, Virtual Worlds, Humor, Free for All, Livestream, Sandbox, Crafting, Housing

Wurm Online screenshot
Wurm Online is a game of darkness. Really, the entire world is balanced on what will happen after the sun sets. If a player isn't careful, she can find herself lost and alone without a torch to light her path. I don't mean to make the daylight out to be a haven from danger; a player can die during the day as easily as at night. But at least during the day, a far-off shelter can be aimed for. Unless there's fog, of course.

OK, look. Wurm Online is a game of super-scary death things, but the night is particularly scary. That's what I meant.

When an old Vanguard: Saga of Heroes buddy of mine let me know that he and his friends had built a giant maze in Wurm, one that can actually keep players occupied for hours and can possibly lead to injury or death, I jumped into a tiny rowboat and paddled my way south toward the Deliverance server. I had to see this thing for myself.

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Previously on MV TV: The week of September 1st

Fantasy, Puzzle, Real-Life, Sci-Fi, Trailers, Video, EVE Online, Fallen Earth, Game Mechanics, Interviews, Previews, Professions, Wurm Online, Opinion, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, Browser, Casual, Virtual Worlds, MMOFPS, Interviews (Massively's), World of Tanks, Post-Apocalyptic, Guides, Livestream, Miscellaneous, Sandbox, Dungeons, Previously on MV TV

Previously On MV TV banner
This week I have quite the selection of tasty video tidbits for you to enjoy. What better way to spend the weekend than staying inside away from the nasty pollen and wasps, watching amazing gameplay videos hosted by yours truly and his band of fellow pixel-heads? That's right! You don't even have to buy MMOs anymore! By simply clicking on the "continue reading" link below, you step into an expansive world of MMO exploration, teeming with sights and sounds unlike you have ever seen or installed before! Why should you go through the trouble of standing in line, purchasing a box, spending two days installing it on your massive PC, pulling up that huge plastic chair, waiting for the game to patch, and attempting to make a character who doesn't look like a 17 year-old pop-punk band member only to find that you suck at PvP?

The simple answer to your problem is to watch us play ALL OF THE GAMES! Which games, you might ask? Well, this week I have some Piggy action as he streams Fallen Earth, followed by Richie with some Guild Wars 2, Mike with some more EVE Online, World of Tanks and Tribes: Ascend. And I follow it all up with a trip through Wurm Online to view the mystery behind the Puzzles deed and then chat with Illyriad CEO James Niesewand about his game's new patch! Check it out!

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Wurm Online 1.0 update to feature multi-story buildings, new avatar customization

Fantasy, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Patches, Wurm Online, News Items, Free-to-Play, Browser, Sandbox

Wurm Online 1.0 to feature multistory buildings, new avatar customization
Wurm Online may have been in development for nearly a decade, but December 6th of this year marks the project's first official deadline.

Version 1.0 of the browser-based sandbox title is coming, and it boasts multi-story buildings and new character models with customizable facial features (not to mention visible armor and proper bone structure). Wurm creator Rolf Jansson has just posted a new dev blog with all the details on the new milestone. "The game will still be far from finished but it will have a nice (huge) set of features which all come together in a very strong way," he says.

Wurm is a skill-based persistent world that's both free of instancing and free-to-play. Jansson describes it as a "player-driven economy sandbox MMO providing a strong endgame."

MMObility: MMO streaming services have a long way to go

World of Warcraft, Betas, Previews, Wurm Online, Opinion, Vanguard, RuneScape, Mobile, Mabinogi, Battlestar Galactica Online, MMObility

Splashtop screenshot
I've been a huge fan of streaming technology for a while mainly because it gives players an opportunity to access more powerful and flexible devices from the convenient location of their hand-held tablets or phones. The tech has come a long way even since I started reporting on it, and it continues to impress me. What's the point, you might ask? Why not just sit down at a desktop to play MMOs like everyone else? Well, the truth is that moving around is sometimes more relaxing and can definitely be better for your health.

Being able to get up, walk around, check in on a game from different locations, and just be mobile isn't just a neat gimmick. Some MMOs also work much better with a touchscreen device, especially MMORTS titles and games that require only a button press to perform an action. There are options for those who need a fully functioning joystick or control scheme, but they are not yet available to everyone. Let's go over the options we do have. Be sure to try out one or two on your tablet... you just might find that playing on a smaller screen is really fun.

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Free for All: The best weather systems in free-to-play

Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, Ryzom, Wurm Online, Opinion, Roleplaying, Mabinogi, Free for All, Miscellaneous

Mabinogi screenshot
Perhaps someone can explain my obsession with in-game weather systems. I remember interviewing the lead designer for Vanguard: Saga of Heroes a few years ago. I had to stop him and ask for more details about the weather system the game used. He told me it was on a separate server, a pretty fancy program that ran independently of the rest of the game. It sounded as if he was telling me that there were real storms brewing in the game and the system knew when and where they were happening.

I was fascinated. How cool it is to imagine in-game clouds forming at one point of the world and slowly moving across the land until the sky begins to rain on your character's head? Sadly, in-game weather seems to be either a low priority or a hard system to tackle. I'm guessing it's a combination of both.

So I searched out those few MMOs that feature an impactful weather system. Not coincidentally, they also happen to be some of my favorite MMOs.

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Free for All: The coziest places in free-to-play

Fantasy, Screenshots, Video, Culture, Ryzom, The Chronicles of Spellborn, Wurm Online, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Casual, Roleplaying, Free Realms, Free for All, Family, Miscellaneous

Mabinogi screenshot
Cozy. It's a word that seems more at home in a Martha Stewart magazine than in the column for a website about MMORPGs. Cozy can mean quite a few things, but I love the way that the word can instantly make sense to almost anyone. Think about it -- think about what cozy might mean to you. It means a place that makes you feel warm or safe, a place that begs you to stay for a while. The reason I am so attracted to cozier spots in MMOs is because they can be few and far between these days, or they exist but the content pushes you through so fast that you forget to stop and relax for a while.

That speedy content, in my opinion, has helped bring roleplay to its knees. I remember when it was more common to be roleplaying instead of the opposite. These special, inviting spots slow us down and help us remember that we're playing multiplayer games, games with other real people who are experiencing the same places we are at the same time.

So, here is a small list of five of the most coziest places in free-to-play. In my opinion, of course. Feel free to add your own.

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