Did you know that Notch existed before Minecraft? Not only that, he breathed and ate food and made games and everything! Just like a real flesh being. But when he decided to pursue Minecraft's blocky green pastures, his previous claim to fame, sandbox fantasy MMO wonderland Wurm Online, didn't miss a beat. And by that, I mean it stayed in beta for six years and change. But with good reason: after all, even the likes of EVE Online certainly didn't get anything-goes craziness entirely right on day one. And it had a team of more than, er, roughly three people. So then, why is Wurm worming its way out of beta's nourishing soils now? Well, apparently, this was the plan all along.
The Wurm team explained the sudden (but also completely un-sudden) emergence in a blog post detailing its plans from this point forward:
"We’re officially releasing Wurm Online 1.0 on the 12th December 2012. What it means is that Wurm will contain improvements that we consider make the game marketable. We’ll finally have character customization, visible armour, multi story buildings and nicer looking creatures."
"As most of you have noticed, during all these years we’ve kept a low profile when it comes to attracting customers. It has been a deliberate strategy due to our special development situation. It has worked well and we have attracted the customer base we’ve needed to keep the flame burning."
The plan, then, is to launch with "at least one" brand new freedom server - so as to give new players a real fresh start. Beyond that, the team intends to be more communicative and open in the future, so as to keep the fickle stomachs of the non-diehard populace sated with juicy slabs of information.
If you'd like to understand what all the fuss is about, I definitely recommend this brilliant Quinns-penned account of humanity and theft and deplorable acts and kneecap-hungry mountain lions. Sure, there may be some residual clunk in Wurm's trunk, but there's nothing else out there quite like it.