I’ve had my eye on Life is Feudal MMO for a while (I don’t mind the LiF name, but having to include the ‘MMO’ at the end of it is silly, so going forward its just going to be LiF here). I had read plenty that it was in rough shape; it had bugs, it was missing content, and that it was a massive grind. The fact that the Steam launch was pushed back over a month was also a clue as to what one might expect.
And yet I still spent the $30 to play it, and I don’t regret that purchase, at least not yet.
LiF is, in a lot of core ways, very similar to Ultima Online, or Darkfall, if you remove basically all of the PvE, and put that focus towards item crafting and building construction. (I can’t speak for the PvP, haven’t gotten into a fight just yet). One thing I’m already sure of however; LiF is very much an MMORPG, and very, very much not a themepark. I’ll likely get more into what LiF really is as I experience more of it, but I’ve already gotten a pretty memorable story, so let me share that.
When you first play LiF, you are placed on a newbie island, and given a very rough tutorial on what to do. I got through some of that, but knowing I’d be much better off joining a guild and learning from them, I got myself off the newbie island and into the world, along with finding a guild.
LiF puts you in a random spot on the map, and of course my spot was about as far away as possible from where my guild had it’s little city. I was told to enjoy the hours of walking, and they were not joking. I started running and after 10 minutes or so, I wasn’t even out of the first ‘square’ of the map, and I had nine squares to go.
But things aren’t that simple in LiF. You will run out of stamina as you run, and both health and stamina have two bars. The top bar is your short-term bar, and that refills rather quickly. The bottom bar is your long-term bar, and that takes far more time to recover. With stamina, whenever your short-term bar hits zero, you stop sprinting, but after 3-4 seconds, it refills and you can run again. However each time you refill that bar, its costs you a bit from the long-term bar, and the way to fill that one up is to sit down and actually rest for a few minutes.
While resting however, your food bar goes down faster. Yes, LiF has a food bar, and if that hits zero, you start losing health. As I was running, I figured its likely a good idea to have some food, so any apple trees I found along the way I picked, but that wasn’t resulting in much, and eating an apple didn’t refill the food bar much. Still, I pressed on.
I was also told to craft a torch, because I’d need it to swat away any wolves that happen to try and eat me. That was good advice, as about halfway to the guild spot a wolf attacked me, bite me a bit, and was then driven off with a swing of the torch. A bit later, a bear attacked me, and mauled me to within one hitpoint before the torch drove him off. I was now badly injured, tired, and nearing starvation. Welcome to LiF!
When I was about two squares away, I noticed my long-term stamina bar was nearing zero, so I sat down to rest, but that hammered my food bar, so I tried to pick some food from the ground. Unfortunately I was in a colder climate now, and most attempts to find a root to eat failed. I asked in guild chat if anyone can come out and bring some food, and one guy got on a horse and started the journey. Near this time, I came across two other players, who were guild allies in the area. I asked if they had any spare food, and one of them traded me ten cooked fish.
And as I was about to eat the fish, I died from starvation. Welcome to LiF!
The final kick in the balls? My respawn spot was the same, across-the-map spot I originally spawned in. I logged off, telling the guild I’d attempt the journey the next day.
Fast forward to today, and I was ready to undertake the journey again, but this time a bit smarter. First, I crafted a fishing rod and ran to some water along the way. I then fished for a bit, gathering a few fish (I was failing a lot, likely due to my low skills). You can’t eat raw fish however, so I needed to build a small camp fire. After gathering the resources for that, I had it built, with enough fire wood to keep it going. Then it was time to cook the fish, which gave me plenty of food for the journey.
The second adjustment was in my route. I stayed more south, not wanting to hit the harsher snow climate until later. This worked, and also had me come across a number of other player cities, including a rather impressive looking castle with massive stone walls and arrow towers. I didn’t not stray too close to that, just in case.
The second journey went rather smoothly, and I was able to easy fight off the lone wolf that tried to harass me. Finally in my guild’s ‘city’ (a bunch of shacks, and a central area surrounded by a wooden wall), I had to build my own shack to create a bind/recall point, which had me chopping down some trees and hauling logs back and forth. With that finally done, I again logged off. During this time, I heard that our guild was fighting successfully against a Chinese guild we are at war with in our local area, and with my recent PUBG experience and their hacking, I must say I look forward to facing that enemy (hoping, of course, they aren’t brutally hacking in LiF, but we will see).
So I did a bit of gathering and crafting, with a LOT of running, so was it fun? I think it was, yes. Sure, it was a lot of tedium, but there was also that initially MMO sense of exploration and the unknown. There was certainly that ‘survival’ feeling of needing to find food, of avoiding wild animals, and about crossing rough terrain (at one point there was a ridge I spent a few minutes trying to find a path across). Seeing other player settlements, big and small, gave the whole thing a player-owned worldly feel missing more almost all MMOs today. And seeing the guild working towards larger goals, ever so slowly, reminded me of what MMOs were in days past, and why I found those so much more rewarding than ‘finishing’ a themepark ride, solo or otherwise.
I can’t say whether I would recommend LiF to others just yet, but so far, it has me interested.