Mystic Highlands- The Journey Unfolds
Spolmit began her journey just over 48 Wurm years ago. Struggling over mountains and passing through villages that were new to her she stumbled across Creek Heights a settlement looking down on Mystery Glade at the southern end of Independence. It is still home but many dear friends have left to visit other lands and the urge has grown to see what these places have to offer.
Spolmit has seen many travellers describe their successes (and failures) and some of these have sparked the travel bug in her. Two such travellers were Valiance and Kaylie who created a home in Shady Vale on the continent of Xanadu. When they began to tell people about their plans to create a new land- to be called Mystic Highlands- then she felt an insurmountable urge to take part in their ambitious project. This is her story of what Mystic Highlands means to her and what it has to offer a prospective player.
The Beginning- in her own words
I arrived soon after Mystic Highlands opened. Like most players, I spent some time looking around Safehold (our starter town) and the area surrounding it. Safehold is set in a wide lush valley backed by mountains and facing forests in many directions. One of the first things I loved was the fact that the high mountains actually had snow on them. Of course, in the early days the pioneers were simply trying to survive and hopefully make some coins in order to set up their own homes. This was to be my first experience of actually making money by killing animals, burying their carcasses or simply by foraging and I found it to be far more realistic (and challenging) than simply buying coins. In those distant days raising my abilities was slow because of the 1x skill and 1x action timer but in my opinion, this is how it should be. Some people prefer rapid skill gain, but the people who live on Mystic Highlands prefer to earn their rewards. They work hard but are well rewarded. The land around Safehold possesses all the raw materials that a player needs to make a start. There is an inn where the weary traveller my rest a while and gain some sleep bonus into the bargain. The mine does not have anything but iron; however, this is enough for the budding blacksmith to start off on their apprenticeship. For the richer citizens there is a merchant where they may buy some helpful trinkets for a coin or two.
The Early Days
When I arrived on Mystic Highlands, I had little or no idea about what ‘role-play’ actually meant. At no time have I felt pressured to act in a certain way although we do have a policy of role play in local. The citizens make great efforts to ensure that this policy is upheld and only very occasionally have to be reminded of the fact.
On our web-site, Mystic Highlands is advertised as being ‘heavy on events’. I for one did not really understand what this was going to entail. Within a few days of the server starting- and rapidly gaining a good population- we were warned of an attack from Goblins and their wolf allies. I had never really taken part in such things due to an aversion to dying in Wurm but I can honestly say that a massive amount of fun was had by all; good coins were earned and put into the Bank of Safehold. The event really brought the citizens together and helped build the early community of Mystic Highlands.
This early event and all the others have also highlighted the vision of Valiance and Kaylie for Mystic Highlands. The amount of work that is put into these events is enormous and as one of the Council Members, I am aware of just how much work went on and still goes on in the background.
Mystic Highlands has been developed from those distant days in ways that aim to create a unique experience. There are for example no traders on the server. A stranger may ask why, but this has allowed trade and the economy as a whole to develop and strengthen. Another early addition was the addition of a ‘winter mod’ that makes survival during this season even more difficult. This definitely fulfils the aim of Mystic Highlands to make ‘life difficult’, however, many people use this time to stay by their forges and produce even better goods for use or for sale.
I am not a very talkative player however, I do enjoy ‘hearing’ other players ‘in-game’ and I am now seen in chat more than I ever have during these many years in Wurm. The citizens are a complete cross-section of a population. Some are older players whereas others are much younger, some are veterans and others are newcomers. We have players who are very knowledgeable and have others who need this knowledge and support. Some players can be argumentative at times but then a good argument can be very entertaining!
Valiance and Kaylie always try to make sure that there is some event every week (with the possible exception of our winter week) and these have developed into well-established, enjoyable evenings. One of the first was the fishing tournament- relatively easy to prepare for thanks to the small lake near Safehold. Since then there have been several more ranging from variations of the original to a more recent sea-fishing event.
I have seen Safehold Docks appear and be used for sea-fishing and sailing regattas. I have used the docks as a refuge many times but also as a place where gems mined can be sold to pirates for monetary reward. The community has battled with water animals on at least one occasion. Safehold Docks are one of the community buildings that have been built on Mystic Highlands and they certainly make it look like the vibrant, bustling land that it is- but it was not the first such place.
One of the event types that is always very popular with citizens is the fight / defence event. This is probably for a variety of reasons. Some players enjoy such events because of the coin that they can make; lesser fighters can rely on the more powerful ‘tanks’ to protect them while they contribute. I enjoy them because of the way that the peoples of Mystic Highlands come together as one. The Wanderer was the old man who created the adventure to the North. Players led by Razathor raced N by land and eventually sea. The journey was not easy and we were attacked many times by the Goblins and other animals. Eventually we arrived at a distant tower. On further inspection, we discovered that this was the Tower of the Wanderer. The caretaker informed the weary citizens that there was a portal from the tower to Safehold. We had an easy way home but we now had a way of travelling to the other side of Mystic Highlands.
Ah, the Shifting Maze. I remember the event well. We all arrived at the entrance and our challenge was simple- find the exit. Now the effort that must have been put into creating the maze was easily matched by our efforts to find an exit. One or two players did whether by skill or luck but many of us would still be there if we were not teleported out by a kindly GM.
One of the most recent developments has been the establishment of a network of portals that allows the player to travel to one of eight different areas. I have never used these yet but I can see them being popular with hunters, explorers or just the plain curious. I feel that we should be prepared for troubles as well- could the Goblin horde also find these portals? There is also the opportunity to use these portals to help you to return to your town portal- but at a cost of Karma.
Fighting always seems to work hand-in-hand with some form of reward for the citizens and not just a monetary one. In recent weeks the Caravan of Splendours was announced. Warriors were requested to escort the caravan to Safehold. This was a long journey and ultimately successful albeit at the cost of some brave souls. As a reward for our efforts, merchants have set up across the lands. This is another example of the ways that Mystic Highlands is being developed. There is a natural evolution and things rarely happen for just one reason, they are usually intricately linked with one or more other aspects of life.
I have been incredibly fortunate in my neighbours on Mystic Highlands and I enjoy seeing and hearing them all in-game however, I must mention one in particular, Lord Duskwind of Duskdale who has been kind and supportive to me and to many others throughout the development of the lands. I am sure that other citizens could say similar things of their neighbours and other players as well. That is a major strength of Mystic Highlands- we are all in it together whether it be from a GM point of view or from the newest arrival in Safehold.
The new players who begin their life in Safehold now see new challenges and new opportunities. There is a trader camp just outside Safehold where players can sell their low-level goods for a little coin. There is an Auction House just up the hill from Safehold. This has become a thriving, bustling place where players may bring in their goods for auction or perhaps leave with a bargain or two. The auctions are held regularly and are so well supported that extra benches had to be made for them to rest their weary limbs. It is rare that an item is not sold no matter how simple it may be and at times, the right lot has been sold for many silver coins.
One of the first new buildings created was the Archery Range. This is open to the public outside tournaments but be warned- it is also open to mobs as well. The concept of an archery tournament is so simple but it is the way that Valiance and Kaylie have created the building that builds up the sense of being in a tense, nerve rattling tournament so much so that I have even forgotten how to fire my bow when called out to fire first. Oh and the prizes for all of these events? They usually include silver coins and another prize that is often a high quality (sometimes rare) object related to the competition in some way.
If a player continues up the road from the Auction House they will soon see an entrance to a cave tunnel. This massive piece of engineering has been in place since almost the start of Mystic Highlands. The intention is to create an easy way to the W coast of our lands. It has served to bring the community together in the early days, to give players access to shards and ore and of course a way to improve their mining and prospecting skills. Everything for the project whether it be a bsb, forges, lamps, or reinforced walls has been donated by players.
If a player turns S from Safehold from arrival, they will soon see a mysterious building in the distance. This is the Graveyard and the Crypt. The Graveyard has been the site of several ambushes for fighters defending the area around Safehold but the Crypt is a place where players may test and hone their skills against some of the creatures to be found on Mystic Highlands. The creatures that you will start with are easy to begin with but will gradually increase in strength just as you start to weaken and need healing. There are of course rewards and these coins may be put towards a place that a new player may wish to call home.
It seems so long ago that players were rushing around trying to lead mobs to the tower guards both S and N of Safehold. Now, thanks to the perseverance and fortitude of players, the portals, the advent of sailing and time itself many areas of the server now have deeds established on them. There are of course regions just waiting for new and established players to arrive and perhaps take a chance on the area and create new villages or towns. Some players prefer to live in Safehold in their early days but there is a large deed just beyond the N guard tower outside Safehold called North Road Outpost. I pass through this town every time I visit Safehold and it is indeed a thriving place and often welcomes new players. There are many deeds located around the coast as would be expected and many have been improved and extended. In those distant days it was usual to see a piece of land with a few fields of cotton and perhaps a basic unfinished wooden house. Nowadays the deeds have all the luxuries that higher skills afford. Castles are being built, extensive farms, blacksmiths and churches. The buildings found on a deed may sometimes give a clue as to the skill of choice that is being developed. Fine roads or simple tracks have been built to connect the homes that have emerged on Mystic Highlands but there are still places that can only be accessed by water or by a trusted mount or cart.
When a player leaves or a deed falls it is always sad but the land on Mystic Highlands soon reverts back to nature so preventing the sense of disrepair so often seen in Wurm Online. There is an ever-increasing network of player-built guard towers that are often used by players who have been ambushed by some of the local wildlife.
Mystic Highlands is one of the most popular servers for Wurm Unlimited and deservedly so. It is a labour of love for the server owners and they are often online making their own life in Wurm. I have seen Valiance come to the aid of a player encountering a problem of some sort on many occasions and he can invariably remedy the problem or at least work towards solving the issue whatever it is.
The land continues to evolve and through the generosity of Valiance, Kaylie and many other players who contribute real life coin to Mystic Highlands. The future should see a unique Wurmian land, growing in terms of both population and reputation. During these last few days Iolo has been working hard improving the information for players held on the forums and helping players to access the new in-game map. Torar has created an incredible new map that can now be accessed on the web-site. We also have the new portal system available that I am sure players will use once the winter chill has left us.
An event on the horizon is the Arena. This is a place of combat where the player may choose to take on 1-6 creatures to the death either alone or in a group of up to three players. I have had a sneak preview (along with many other citizens) and the place is truly amazing. When you walk out onto the sandy arena you can almost imagine a crowd looking down and cheering / jeering. What it will feel like when there are actually other players there well, there is only one way to find out. There is a graveyard reasonably close so that players who succumb to the animals may rest in peace. How do players get to the arena? Well, that is thanks to the imagination of Lady Kaylie. She has arranged for a boat from Safehold Docks to take everyone over. This is not just ingenious but demonstrates the way that the server works. Everything is thought out and places, events and people are intertwined together to create the ever-evolving story of Mystic Highlands.
What part are you going to play in the future?