Minecraft Wiki

Wurm Online is a multiplayer online role-playing game, which Minecraft creator Markus Persson (Notch) started developing with his friend Rolf Jansson in 2002.[1] Although Minecraft, which came out seven years later, bears little graphical similarity to Wurm Online, Minecraft does share many conceptual similarities, making Wurm Online one of Minecraft's many precursors and inspirations.


Development of Wurm Online started in 2002.[1] In June 2003, Jansson registered the website wurmonline.com,[2] and in August 2003 Notch registered the website mojang.com.[3] The two had founded the small private company "Mojang Specifications" before Wurm Online, and now used it as a publisher for their game.[4]

Jansson originally wanted to develop a multiplayer online computer game in a Western setting, in which the player characters could determine their own destiny and change the economy and politics of the game. Notch, on the other hand, envisioned a fantasy world with huge forests (as seen in his later project RubyDung) that the player could change every detail of. As a compromise, they agreed on a fantasy world in which the player characters could influence the economy and politics, as well as create buildings and modify terrain.[5]

While Jansson focused on the economy and politics elements, Notch programmed the world rendering and other game mechanics. Many ideas and concepts that Notch realized in this game from 2002 to 2007 reappeared in his later games as well, most significantly Minecraft. For example:

  • Everything in the game is created by the player. Tools are required to cut down trees, extract stone and metal from mines, etc.
  • The player can change the landscape by building or clearing hills with a shovel. They can also create mines and huge cavities underground.
  • The player can build houses, castles, fortresses and entire cities.
  • Players and items can be enchanted.
  • Tools, weapons and other items have a certain quality that determines their durability and attack damage.
  • Archery is an important combat technique in the game.
  • Players can ride carts, boats and animals.
  • Players can grow wheat, trees and bushes, which mature after a certain time.
  • One can cook using different ingredients.
  • Animals can be captured and multiplied.
  • There are dangerous monsters, such as Red Dragons and Giant Spiders.
  • There is rain, snow and wind (which affects boating) weather in the game.
  • It is not necessary to fight against other players, as players can also succeed without fighting in the game.
  • There are a large number of achievements that can be earned.
  • There are different game modes: either more focused on survival or more on influencing the economy.
  • The game was already offered to the public in the early alpha development phase (on Notch's site mojang.com).
  • The game was written in Java with OpenGL, like the later Minecraft.

The founders Notch and Rolf Jansson quickly found and hired some volunteers to assist development, particularly with the game's graphics. Wurm Online continued development and was officially released for PC in 2006. In April 2007, Notch left the team to pursue other projects.[6] Notch asked Jansson for permission to keep the name Mojang Specifications. Jansson agreed, and changed the name of the Wurm Online company to Onetoofree AB. With a changing group of helpers, Jansson continued to develop the game in his free time, until he founded the company Code Club AB in 2011 and hired the first permanent employee. The game continues to receive updates.


See also[]