Wurm Online Digging Guide

Wurm Online Digging Guide by Farmerbob

I will use the following grid for reference throughout this article.  It represents a 3×3 grid of  tiles in Wurm. The double lines indicate tile borders used to build walls, fences, and buildings – as well as tell us the slopes of the tiles they border.

1)  The first thing to know about digging is where you will take dirt from when you dig.

When doing simple digging, the corner closest to where you are standing is where you will dig from.  If you stand at point “G”, activate a shovel, right click anywhere nearby, choose dig option, and you will dig dirt from point G.

When doing flatraising.  If you stand anywhere in the tile bordered by corners FGJK, you will be able to perform a flatten action in any of the 9 tiles above.  When flattening, the tile you right click on to choose an action is very important.  More about that later.

2) About slope and dirts.

One dirt = One point of slope.  If you right click on the tile border that you want to see the slope of, and select examine, it will tell you the slope.  Where you stand in relation to the tile border is important, as it will tell you if the slope is up or down in relation to where you are.  If you want to see the slope of the border between corners J and K, you can stand anywhere nearby, but the message will differ depending on if you are closer to point J, or K.  Once you get 15 points in digging skill, you will be able to mouse over tiles when your shovel is equipped, and see slopes on tile borders and see when tiles are actually flat.  A nice little perk for anyone, not just landscapers.

You can walk up slopes up to around 30, but generally slopes above 25 are going to require you to climb.  Slopes above 20, if you walk down them, will damage you occasionally.  When building roads that will take up and down traffic, it’s best to limit slope to 20 if possible.  Large carts with animals hauling them will not travel on slopes over 20.  Taking wounds while you are in a hurry to go somewhere is highly frustrating at best, and might even get you killed.

If you want to change a slope, as mentioned above, 1 dirt = 1 slope.

3) About digging limitations.

You cannot dig at an intersection of tile borders where any of those four tile borders has a slope more than 3x your dig skill, either sloping up, or down.

You cannot flatten on a tile where any of the twelve tile borders touching it has a slope more than 3x your dig skill, either sloping up, or down. All four corners of every tile have two shared borders and two unshared borders.

You cannot dig into rock, if you want to lower rock levels, it can be done, but it’s slow, and uses mining actions.  See the wiki article on mining.

You cannot simply drop dirt in a pile and have it exceed 40 steep.  If you try, dirt will flow off the pile, and fill in the first tile corner that has a slope less than 40.  If you drop lots of dirt, and have several tiles in a row with nearly 40 slope, the dirt will fill the tiles to slope 40 one tile at a time, recalculating slopes and placing dirt as needed to keep dirt from exceeding 40 slope.  The 40 slope rule is more complex than it sounds – there is a slope calculation for corner to corner  dirt flow.  If you have a steep down slope, and at the bottom of that steep down slope there is a steep side slope down, the dirt will probably flow, even if neither slope exceeds 40.  (This limitation is why flatraising exists – flatraising allows slopes up to 300 – more later)

You cannot dig or drop dirt next to a wall or building where it would change the slope of the border tiles that the wall or building is built on.  This includes dropping dirt from many tiles away, if that dirt would flow and change the slopes.

Roads require 20+ strength to dig on, and cannot be flattened (there are some exceptions even after the recent road flattening “fix” – I have used flattening as recently as yesterday 21 NOV 2009 to fix a road)

You cannot flatten on tree tiles.  Sometimes you can flatten near them, sometimes not.  I’ve never experimented to try to determine exactly what restricts digging or flattening next to trees.  Unless you have a pressing reason to keep a tree, just cut it down if you have to move a lot of dirt in adjacent tiles.

4) How about flatraising?

Flatraising is using the flatten command instead of the dig command.  Most people use the term to mean any flatten action, but there are several different ways to use the flatten command for different goals.

When you flatten land, you move dirt from high corners to low corners inside the tile you have chosen to flatten.  If you drop dirt on the tile while you are actually flattening, (and it doesn’t flow away) it will not actually change the time showing on the flatten timer, but it will continue the flatten action until you run out of stamina, or stop dropping dirt long enough that the flatten action runs out of dirt to move.  Each step of flattening takes 10 seconds, and is completely unaffected by skill, or shovel quality or enchantments.

Three important warnings:

A)   DO NOT STAND ON THE HIGH POINT OF A TILE WHEN YOU FLATTEN.  You may take damage if you fall more than 2 dirts.  If you can, drop the dirt, then move to the center of the tile.  Of course if you want to raise first aid skill, giving yourself lots of small wounds by flatraising is a relatively safe way to get those wounds.

B)   WATCH THE SLOPES THAT YOU ARE STANDING ON.  In Wurm you can indeed kill yourself very quickly by digging.  If a slope goes higher than 23, you may slide off a tile unless you manually attempt to walk up the slope.  At 30 slope you must use the climbing action to stay in place on the slope.

C)   WATCH  YOUR STAMINA..  You use stamina when flattening, digging, and climbing – and you may fall off a steel slope if you run out.  This can kill you.  Quickly.

There are three main uses for flattening land.

1)   Raising land for walls and building construction
2)   Stripping dirt off the side of a steep slopes so you can use it elsewhere
3)   Building roads and landbridges

Lets touch on these three, then I’ll explain how you can use flatraising when you have a low dig skill, in order to dig much faster.

1)   To raise tiles, you have to be able to drop a dirt pile on at least one corner of the tile so that you can flatten the tile to raise the other corners.  This may not be an issue for small projects, but when building most dirt walls, or some roads, you will want to have a relatively flat space at least 2×2 tiles.

For Example, you want to raise the four tiles bordered by corners FHNP above:

Lets start from the ground level.  I suggest to start by getting the dirt to point K, since that is where it will have to go after the sides of the tiles have slopes over 40.

Start dropping dirt at point K.  When working alone I normally drop until there is a pile of 20. Flatten one of the 4 tiles. Drop more dirt at point K. Flatten the second tile. Drop more dirt, flatten the third tile, then drop and flatten the fourth tile.  It’s really rather simple after you see it done once, especially if you actually do it yourself.

Some people will tell you that you need a ramp to get the dirt up.  You do not.  Example: If you start a pile of dirt in tile CDGH, no matter how steep that tile becomes, you will be able to reach into that dirt pile from tile GHKL.  You can start a pile of dirt by climbing a short way onto the tile, then dropping 4 items on the tile and getting a pile started.  Add dirt, then remove the items.  Having a cart at the top will speed things up a lot, unless you have lots and lots of manpower, in which case there are other ways to move dirt that are faster (two dirt piles, and 4 people.  Two dirt movers, one flattener, and one healer to heal the dirt mover standing on top of the pile that the flattener is pulling from)

2)   Stripping dirt off a mountainside can be tricky.  If you do not know how deep the dirt layer is, you won’t know whether to start at the top, the bottom, or at the middle.

If you know the dirt layer is thick, you can really start anywhere.  However starting at the bottom will quickly create large slopes in some cases

If you know the dirt layer is thin, you will want to climb as high as you can, and find or make a good resting point where you can stand without climbing.  If the dirt is really thin, it will probably be faster to simply dig, then drop the dirt, letting it flow down unless you have reason to not want the dirt to flow.

If the dirt layer is somewhere in between thick and thin, you can pretty much start wherever you want.

When you flatten, you move up to 4 dirt every 10 seconds (this can vary based on the slopes of the tile you are flattening – if two of the slopes are flat and the other two are equal slope, you will get the fastest possible dirt movement.  Ideally, flattening is faster to move dirt short distances  than the fastest possible digging timer.  However, you are only moving it a short way.  If you need to move dirt more than a few tiles away, it quickly becomes more efficient to use a cart if the slopes are climbable.  If the slopes are not climbable, flattening might be the only meaningful way to pull dirt off a hill or mountain.  It all depends on what you are working with.

3)   Creating nice roads, especially across difficult terrain, can be extremely difficult if you do not flatten.  If possible, you want to start at the highest point in a road, then work to lower points of  the road.  This will allow you to precisely gauge the slope of the road, and make corrections quickly if necessary.

Your first step will be to clear trees, buildings, walls, etc from where you will need to be changing the road elevations.  You want them cleared on the roadbed, and in the tiles next to the roadbed..

Then create a big pile of dirt at the highest point of elevation of the road.  Flatten that pile.  Add more dirt if possible, and flatten again.  Build up a nice, thick buffer of dirt.

After you have flattened the highest tile on the road for the last time, flatten the road tile next to it.  You will pull dirt from high elevation to low elevation, 4 dirt at a time until the new tile is mostly even, then flattening will slow down while it makes corrections on the two last corners.  When this is complete, reflatten the highest tile, and check the slope of the lower tile.  If it is more than 20, you will want to fix it.  If you do not have two flat tile borders perpendicular to the roadway, and two equal slope borders parallel to the roadway, then you need to either dig a high corner, or reflatten.

Add more dirt to the high point, flatten, flatten the 2nd tile, then flatten the third.  Try to fill in and make the tiles truly flat, as the flatter the perpendicular tile borders are, the faster the flattening process will happen.  Continue to work down the slope.

Some more “Dirty” tricks.

Sand vs Dirt :
1) Sand lasts longer than dirt in piles
2) Sand is NEVER automatically dropped at the end of flattening actions.  Dirt is, if you need 2 or less to flatten a tile.
3) It’s much easier to see the tile borders on dirt.
4) Dropping a single dirt or sand on a corner changes all four tiles touching it to dirt or sand, if they started as dirt, sand, or rock.
5) If you drop dirt so that it will flow onto one of the bottom corners of a mine entrance, it will disappear permanently

How to dig lots of dirt or sand fast with low skill:

Stand in a corner of a SAND tile that has been flattened.  Dig two times, then flatten the center of the tile that was flat before you started digging.  What will this do?  You will dig two times with your normal digging timer, then you will take 10 seconds to flatten the tile, and get 2 sand.  If you try this with dirt, you need to remember to drop all the dirt in a cart or pile before you flatten, or you will just use dirt from your inventory.  With three actions, you dig 4 dirt.  This method is extremely useful for creating large flat areas, as well as being the fastest way for low skill diggers to fill a cart or pile.

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