Have you ever secretly wanted to be dumped onto a desert island with nothing but the clothes on your back and no hope of survival? A national survey says that at least 65.777% of all Americans have had this fantasy but there is the question of how many would actually survive it. Well, 3, probably, but that’s beside the point. ‘Life is Feudal’ is a game that allows you to act out the fantasy of being the washed up survivor on a massive island which is home to…well, it’s impossible to say, actually, because the game is not an MMORPG, so to speak.
Instead of imagining it as such, you should think of it as a medieval version of Rust or DayZ with separate player made servers, some of which are more stable than others. The trick is to find a server run by a clan, or someone who has the resources to keep it up for some time. Why? Because your character is unique to the server it is created on – just like an MMORPG. The problem is that if the serve goes down, you lose your character and all of the progress you’ve made. It should also be noted that the experience is dictated by the GM’s on the particular server you play on, which is to say it will be different on every server, unlike the traditional MMO. Yep, it’s a problem, but you get used to it after a while. What you won’t be able to get used to at first is the lack of character customization.
Right out of the gate you will notice that there are features yet to be implemented such as your character appearance and even gender. You can modify other attributes of course, such as the skills your character will have, etc, but that’s really about it. There are a few bugs that seemed a little off putting to me, and connecting to a server was actually a bit of a hassle at first. In fact it took me about three tries, but I finally managed to land on a beach…after which I promptly crashed. Strangely as it seems, the game is satisfying enough that you will soon forget you’ve been dropped into a sausage fest of epic proportions. So let’s get back that, shall we?
You wake up on the beach once you create your character, and you will notice that the game is like any RPG. You have your inventory, you have view controls, skills, etc. The lack of an automated tutorial might leave you a bit confused, but there is a brief control overview accessed by pressing the F1 key. My first impressions of the game were generally of being lost and confused. I literally had no idea what I was supposed to do here, so I simply wandered around for a bit on what appeared to be a completely deserted island. At first I was a little disappointed as I press ‘M’ to look at the world map, finding that the land I was on was nothing but a single island. What a rip off, right? Then I realized that it was taking a VERY long time to walk from Point A to Point B. Perhaps this island was bigger than I thought.
It wasn’t long before I realized that I could right click on trees, rocks, and Earth to access both menus and sub-menus which offered me various choices. I could, for example, snap a twig from a tree or strip the bark from its trunk. Similarly I could prospect the ground for precious metals, or remove fiber from plants for rope. Every time I tried one of these actions, I found that my skill set for each action raised just a bit and I became a little more efficient. Finally I found myself wandering into what appeared to be a terraformed plot of land, and at the edge, a set of coops, complete with another player tending them. As I has a quick discussion with the man, I found that he was raising hares, and more importantly, that he was a part of a player founded city here on the coast. After the brief conversation he supplied me with a bag of apples, which I found a bit odd, and returned to his work. Of course after I departed, I found that my character could actually become hungry and those apples actually came in handy. Isn’t that something?
As I walked deeper into the forest, taking in the feeling of complete and utter isolation, I learned that I could take the saplings in my inventory and use them to form basic tools. I created a simple knife, a shovel, and even an axe which allowed me to chop down trees. I realized quite quickly that some people in this world would be more skilled at certain things than others, meaning that if a group of people came together to create their own city, much like the one I saw on the coast, each person would certainly be assigned a different job, and they would be good at it. They would help everything move smoothly. From butchers to make sure everyone had food, to blacksmiths to arm the people in the event of an incursion or invasion, everyone would serve a purpose. For the first time I was seeing a game where being alone would have virtually no benefit. Of course there might be that occasional lone person who opts to live in a shack in the woods, and he would certainly experience a different type of game. That is certainly the one thing I love about Life is Feudal; everyone will have a different experience and everyone will have entirely different stories to tell.
One big thing I was wondering about going into this, was the name. Life is Feudal: Your Own. What kind of name was that for a game? Well it turns out that the developers are not quite done with this masterpiece of a title yet. You might have guessed that, given that the game is in early access, but what many fail to realize is that there is yet another game coming; this is just the beginning. A new game, based on YO, known as the LiF:MMO will be released soon, and it will fill in the gaps missed by the YO game. You could almost think of YO as a beta test, or even an alpha. It is clearly touted as an early access game, but it honestly appears to be a test run for the MMORPG which , if successfully launched, is the MMO that I’ve waited for my entire life. Imagine a world where you can do anything, build anything, and be anyone. A world where everyone must work together for a common goal, where factions can be built, splintered, and reforged in the wilderness. Entire towns can be built and razed to the ground, tunnels dug, resources stolen. This is the type of PVP that we’ve been waiting for, but the question is whether or not it will actually last.
As the MMO continues in development it promises up to 10,000 players per server and the formation of guilds. In addition to that it will bring us a much larger game world, which obviously provides more building options. Now here’s the question I must ask: will it survive? Crafting MMO’s have a rocky history in the gaming industry, just take a look at ‘A Tale in the Desert’. It works, and it is still there, but the population is dwindling. Other crafting MMO’s have survived to a point, take Runescape for example. Yes, Runescape focuses heavily on crafting, but it also has high levels of accessibility going for it. You can play it in a browser which makes it playable virtually anywhere. The question, is whether or not people are going to make the decision to spend any amount of time in Life is Feudal once they realize how difficult it is. I guess this is going to tell us how many people are into the hack and slash MMO’s and how many want to get down and dirty with the crafting, living off the land, and cooperating in order to survive. For many this will be a foreign concept, but for others, it will be like coming home.
I personally find it to be a breath of fresh air and I can’t wait to see how the full scale MMORPG works out in the long run. There will obviously be kinks to work out, and I foresee a rocky start, but as a buy to play MMORPG, this will work out quite nicely. Additionally, I think that it will work out very well for those who are interested in roleplay. I have role played in many games, and for those who want to simulate the medieval way of life, this might be an outstanding idea. Rules that had to be enforced in games like Second Life and others are simply part of the game world in LiF and cannot be ignored.
Your Life is Feudal and it starts on a deserted beach. How will your story begin, and how will it end? There’s only one way to tell, and I wholeheartedly recommend picking up this game.Related: Life is Feudal, MMORPG, Preview, Sandbox