LiF MMO: Postmortem

The only thing more frustrating than playing a bad gaming is having a good game end early, and Life is Feudal MMO is just such a game.

I want to be very clear here, I really, really enjoyed LiF. I might still enjoy LiF in the future, as its technically in Early Access and plenty can change. Hell a ‘big’ patch containing who-knows-what is slated for later this month, maybe it will deliver (it won’t). The group we had in-game is/was great, we had zero drama, and we met some very cool people in other guilds, plus got to fight the Chinese in enjoyable PvP. All good, and well worth the hundreds of hours I put into it.

But what frustrates me about LiF is it suffers the same critical flaw far too many MMOs suffer; progression ends and everything falls apart shortly after. What I hate most is a lot of devs have this idea that once people are ‘done’ with progression, they will happily start doing something else in-game, even if that ‘something else’ has little to do with what the progression gameplay was.

In LiF you go from improving your character, expanding your crafting options, and building a guild city together, to PvP’ing for the sake of PvP. Think about that for one minute and realize how insane that plan is. Anyone who hasn’t quit in the first 30 minutes is someone who enjoys the progression and what it is, even if much of it is macroing or doing the same digging task for hours. Call us all crazy, but its what we enjoy. No one is so insane however to trudge through hours and hours of that JUST to get to the PvP. Those people have far better options, both in getting to the PvP faster, and in the PvP actually being better all around.

Yet here you have yet another MMO that has gameplay that a core group enjoys, but that runs out way too quickly, and the answer from the devs is to go do this totally different thing. Even crazier, their own view of what the game is and who it caters to is that they have a PvP-focused game, despite the fact that (guessing) 95% of all in-game activity ISN’T PvP. I’m not saying PvP should be removed from LiF, far from it, but the idea that the majority of LiF players are there to PvP is just so wrong.

Progression ending is also just such a dumb concept, both from a game-design perspective and financially. The financial model is not just to attract someone to buy your game, but to keep them, right? Yet your game design has a pretty definitive end. How the hell are you going to stay in business like that? Just so, so dumb, and so, so basic a flaw.

World of Warcraft also has this flaw, but Blizzard is big enough that they can just keep adding content on top and have people return. Your indie MMO ain’t that, so maybe try to think past the first 3 months? Is that really asking too much?

Plus there are simple fixes to LiF that would make this possible. Instead of a hard skill cap, have a soft cap system, where once you reach a certain number, every skill point after takes far longer to gain. Switching between alts to get things done around town is already annoying, just let me grind for a long, long time to have one character do a lot of things, and make one character being able to do everything take nearly forever, that’s fine. Another fix is rather than having a cap on material quality, again go soft-cap, but with items above 100 degrading faster and being unable to be fixed. You but a reasonable cap on power inflation, but you don’t put a hard stop to progression. Let us upgrade the quality of crafting stations slowly rather than having to tear them down and rebuild them, at again an ever-increasing cost-to-gains ratio.

So yes, for now LiF is on the back burner. Since you don’t have to sub, I’ll continue to pay the maintenance cost of our town, and will continue to follow the game, but we as a group simply don’t have anything to do right now, and as such have mostly stopped playing. It’s a shame, and hopefully future patches fix this, ideally permanently.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in Inquisition Clan, Life is Feudal, Rant, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to LiF MMO: Postmortem

  1. Jonneh says:

    Me and Trego talked quite a bit about long term viability, we both agreed that the way the game is set up would suit seasonal game play where the server resets and you do it all again on a fresh map (providing the map was different). I wouldn’t even mind buying a new character or two if that is what they want the subscription model to be. Dump all the characters into the original map when the season ends.

    I don’t like that power hour you get when you subscribe. A game that wants you to play together shouldn’t put in systems that pull you away from working with other people, and “can someone help me with X” being followed up by “sorry just started my power hour” is perverting game play.

    The zero resources to almost infinite resources situation is a bit weird as well. My common sense is telling me that 1 forester should be able to support 1-2 carpenters when it is currently 1 forester can support about 100.

    Most of the map being inhospitable as well seems crazy. Why have 49 servers when over 50% of them have nobody in because there are no resources or are almost entirely water?

    I don’t really like the way the claim system works either but I can’t think of a better way of stopping all your stuff being stolen the minute you log out without things like PvE guards, although I would like it if some PvE elements were added as it would provide an alternative to getting punched to level your combat skills up (which again is completely bizarre).

    I’d be happy to roll on another server though if everyone else was up for it and do it again. I still think the game is fantastic despite all the wacky design decisions.

    • SynCaine says:

      I’d do it again on a new map, once some interesting features are added, be it some form of working PvE or some expansion of gathering/crafting.

      • Kyff says:

        Maybe this weakness could be a Feature. Drop the persistant world and make several issues one after the other. Like “A Tale in the Desert”.

  2. Kyff says:

    This is not surprising at all. The stand alone game (Lif:YO) and all private servers suffered from the same. People buiöld up their Holding and lose interest shortly after. In a way even darkfall was the same. Once all cities and hamlets were build and everyone had decent gear there was only pvp for pvp sake and Players left in droves. If I remember correctly you suggested item decay and skillcaps would help against this. So Players would have to keep producing stuff and realign the skills according to the current flavour. It seems this either does not help at all or the decay is too lttle.

    • SynCaine says:

      Decay is way too little in LiF, not to mention once you have repair kits, you can fully repair any item back to full dura with minimal cost, basically eliminating decay all together.

  3. Alistair says:

    PvP as the endgame is a major problem… especially when PvP is the weakest aspect of the game.

  4. Catalina de Erauso says:

    >>In LiF you go from improving your character, expanding your crafting options, and building a guild city together, to PvP’ing for the sake of PvP. Think about that for one minute and realize how insane that plan is. Anyone who hasn’t quit in the first 30 minutes is someone who enjoys the progression and what it is, even if much of it is macroing or doing the same digging task for hours. Call us all crazy, but its what we enjoy. No one is so insane however to trudge through hours and hours of that JUST to get to the PvP. Those people have far better options, both in getting to the PvP faster, and in the PvP actually being better all around.>>

    For a moment, I thought you were being sacastic about EVE Online… a game most people play for the sake of progression in PvE and then they reach a glass ceilnh and are confronted with the choice to either start PvP for the sake of PvP or quit the game.

    Just EVE is way larger and takes (well, used to take) a lot longer to reach the end of the progression grind and begin the PvP’ing for the sake of PvP’ing.

    Anyway, as soon as you started reviewing your adventures with LiF, I figured this day would come. LiF is a three monther and Early Acess is emptying the pool of people interested to play it before it’s even finished (whatever that means to the developers). So, who’s gonna play it once it’s finished?

    I don’t recall which blogger said it, but there is no such thing as “early access”. As soon as players are allowed to play it, that’s the launch day. So true…

    • SynCaine says:

      PvP in EVE impacts the economy, territory control matters, and the scale is far greater. Very little of it is PvP for the sake of PvP. Plus EVE has other end-games than PvP (at least ‘blow ships up’ PvP). Not to mention that while you can max out for a certain role/ship (though few get all associated skills to V to truly be maxed out), there is always more progression for other options. That doesn’t currently exist in LiF.

      We played LiF longer than 3 months, so that term doesn’t apply either. It has fixable flaws, while most MMOs actually don’t (they instead rely on the devs just putting more content at the end and hoping to keep pace, which outside of WoW and FFXIV, they don’t).

      Finally on EA, I think the status is helpful in terms of letting people know the game isn’t finished. People avoid EA for that reason, which is fine, and those who buy EA games should know what they are getting into. I’d rather have more games, including unfinished EA titles, than less because EA doesn’t exist. People who argue against EA existing are literally arguing that they want fewer games available (and far fewer indie/niche titles), which is… something.

    • Trego says:

      Are you comparing PVE in LIF to PVE in EVE? That is utter nonsense, LIF doesn’t have PVE to speak of, LIF has base building with a skill grind. There’s a player, and there’s an environment, but the player is not ‘v’ the environment in any way comparable to EVE online.

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