Hello ladies and gentlemen, today we will be taking a look at an upcoming hardcore sandbox MMORPG called Life is Feudal, and we will present you with an interview with one of the game’s Lead Game Designer / Project Leader, Vladimur “Bobik” Piskunov.
First off, what is Life is Feudal?
“Life is Feudal” is an indie project of the Hardcore Sandbox MMORPG, set in a Realistic Medieval fictional world. The game will present players with realistic features, a full loot system, physics in combat and free open world PvP. Character progression freedom is also key in Life is Feudal, with skill caps and stat caps set for every player. Life is Feudal is also set in a persistent and seamless world, where it is up to the player to build their own communities, and terraform the landscape to their will.
So, now that you are up to speed, let’s get started with the interview with Vladimir “Bobik” Piskunov.
What inspired the creation of Life is Feudal? Any stories or anecdotes about how the game came to be?
Bobik: Some previous projects of “promised to be good and sandbox” MMORPGs can be called like some kind of anecdote. Basically some frustration and clear vision of Life is Feudal caused me to start a topic on one of local game development sites with a call to arms from fellow developers.
The survival-crafting genre (unofficial name) pioneered by the likes of Minecraft and DayZ seem to be very popular these days. What makes Life is Feudal unique compared to its contemporaries? How do you think Life is Feudal improves the formula?
Bobik: Survival and crafting is not a main aspect of our game. We are going way further towards global sandbox. Global political sandbox with countries, kingdom, intrigues and espionage. Global economical sandbox with free crafting system and trade posts trading network. Skills and stats sandbox with skill cap and stat cap system. LiF is way bigger than just survival-crafting.
The minigame system for gathering resources and crafting is certainly a way to keep even the most mundane tasks engaging. What minigame do you find the most enjoyable so far?
Bobik: Construction and materials preparation. The one where you need to distantly draw lines to cut stone to pieces precisely 🙂
Compared to other games like it, Life is Feudal has a fairly deep lore. Will there be in-game ways to explore that lore?
Bobik: Most of our lore is a background history of days before current time. Current time lore will be created and observed by players. They will be a part of that lore, which is really cool in my opinion!
Some of the more interesting and enigmatic skills mentioned on the website include Alchemy crafting and Religion-based powers. Care to tell us a little more about what those can do?
Bobik: Alchemy can be compared with Oblivion/Morrowind alchemy with a minor tweak that we have organic and mineral catalysts. BUT there is a huge difference in core mechanics. We create an unique set of effects for every ingredient for every player. For instance, if Player A mixes blue flower with a red flower – he will get a health potion. If Player B mixes exactly the same flowers he will get stamina potion. For Player C that recipe will create a poison. Such system will actually force everyone who want to be an alchemist to REALLY be an alchemist and find all those combinations for useful potions, instead of googling them in some wiki in 5 minutes.
Religion is another feature, that will replace some “magic” with miracles and blessings. For instance, one of basic miracles that will happen will relocate players back to their homes. We plan a complex Pope, Cardinals and Holy Church system, but it is quite far till its development and mechanics might changed significantly from current vision.
The game has a battle formation system that I find fascinating: what kind of bonuses do players get for fighting in formation? Can anyone call for a formation, or do you have to have some kind of authority?
Bobik: To start a formation, leader of a unit aka “party” must have some skill points invested into Secondary combat skill called “Unit and Formation”. The more skill points unit leader had invested in that skill, the more different formation or situational battle orders he can issue. Bonuses vary from increased movement speed, increased defense, increased attack speed or increased damage for a first hit (after “Charge!” order).\
Your game depends largely on player creativity and a willingness to take up a role to give the world life—bandits raiding independent farmers, players banding together to fight them off or hire mercenaries, or join a neighboring kingdom for protection, etc — to that end, will you encourage role-playing on your servers? Or will this all be done in a very meta-game sense?
Bobik: Mostly in a meta-game sense. We already have some groups on forums which are willing to practice role playing on our servers. And if we see a good role playing practice growing around LiF it seems like a good option to even start another dedicated RP server.
It was stated there actually would be occasional events hosted by the game itself—how will they work with limited PvE elements? Will you, say, hire players to play a role?
Bobik: We will certainly not hire players for that sort of stuff. So far we only have a rough plans on those features and it is definitely planned for the later stages of development. But for instance, increased population of aggressive wolves that will increase a chance of lonely players to be hunted by a hungry pack, or sudden appearance of Pigmy-like “Natives” in your mines would be quite easy to implement and will spice PvE up a little.
There hasn’t been much talk of actual character customization, outside your skills and starting race—how much will you be able to customize your avatars appearance? Will there be gender options?
Bobik: Of course there will be two genders! Also players will be able to chose from 3 races with 3 face sets each and numerous haircut, beards, battle scars and other options, so no worries there.
Life is Feudal had a failed Indiegogo campaign last year—how did that affect development? Do you feel you had to make concessions to the final product without that extra funding?
Bobik: That failed campaign slightly damaged our development progression, cause we had wasted some amount of time to prepare everything properly. But our very successful Greenlight campaign provided a good moral boost for us, so I can say that we have caught up a little. Of course if our crowdfunding would have succeeded our development rates would be higher simply because we could afford more team members on development. And of course we had to do a lot of feature cutting for now in order to get ready for a LiF:YO Early Alpha Access by September 2014.
You can tame animals in the game and turn them into domesticated livestock… but there are also bears in the game. Can you tame bears? Or will bears do a little ‘raiding’ of their own, if not taken care of?
Bobik: Yup, some animals can be domesticated, while others (wolves, bears, boars) will be just a threat for travelers and source of crafting and alchemy ingredients for professional hunters. And they might wander into villages occasionally too!
It seems like Life is Feudal will make it possible for players to create huge empires that could potentially crush the ambitions of individuals or small guilds. What sort of protection do you offer to such groups, if any? Do you have any checks to prevent one empire from crushing all their enemies underfoot mercilessly?
Bobik: I believe there is no need for such regulations, because they will restrict a true global politics sandbox freedom. As a veteran of many global politics games with assets destruction (Shadowbane, Darkfall, EvE) I have seen numerous times a huge alliances to rise, only to be crumbled by similarly sized alliances that were created by other players to counter that “zerg”. Or such alliances crumbled under their own weight because of the human nature, where many subordinates are trying to pursue their own goals inside that alliance.
We plan to have a certain participants cap in our battle system, so guild battles could not have more than let’s say 1:3 odds. So if that smaller guild is a real bunch of very skilled and organized players, then they will be able to hold their guild monument untouched on a global politics map.
Sailing was talked about on the forum as a potential mode of transportation: will there be several islands to explore, then? Or will it just be a faster way to navigate around the single landmass?
Bobik: Firstly it will be a good way to travel and fetch large quantities of goods around the continent. But we have some plans for a discovery missions that will unlock whole new continents and ships will be an only way to get to those continents.
Finally, any last words for our readers?
Good luck & have fun! But remember, life IS feudal!
Related: Features, Interview, Life is Feudal, MMORPG, Sandbox