You know, there are some games out there that just make you feel old. If you’ve not experienced that concept yet, just wait a few years. For many it is the Minecraft craze which seems completely outrageous. The game which continually perplexed me was Life is Feudal: Your Own. For reasons beyond my grasp there were thousands upon thousands of players in the game when it hit Early Access, and that number has only grown with time. Now there are hundreds of thousands of adoring fans who continue exploring, battling, and building. But why? What is so incredibly addicting about this game in particular?
After swinging by the Life is Feudal booth, which actually had one of their biggest fans discussing the game, I began to understand. People love this game because it offers so much freedom through a massive variety of systems which simulate most everything. Basically everything you do and use has a related value. For example, say you just want to spend your digital medieval life farming for other players. To do that you’re going to want to have high quality crops! In order to make that work, however, you’re going to need to raise the quality of the dirt plot in which everything grows. So, go and grab some manure from the stable and use it as fertilizer to increase the quality over time. Seriously, things get that deep in basically every single facet of the game.
Obviously, most players are going to try more action-oriented roles first though. Battling is also an immensely complex facet of gameplay. If you’ve ever played Mount & Blade then you have a bit of an idea how things work out, but just know that there’s even more at stake. The clothes you wear change your speed as well as protection level. Would you chance it to run around nearly naked just because it makes you so much faster than a heavily-armored enemy? Do you know exactly at what distance to strike an enemy with your piercing weapon? Can you see where the enemy is armor-less and strike there to cause serious damage? And what of your own stamina — are you keeping it in check? All these questions must race through the player’s mind while playing. Miscalculating any of it may lead to serious consequences.
Most of the time it appears other players in Life is Feudal’s massive world won’t kill you, at least. They’ll just knock you unconscious and steal everything on your person. There’s a reason for this beyond general kindness. There’s actually a level attributed to what players do. If they’re behaving badly they’re going to be marked accordingly. With enough bad behavior on their record, they’ll slowly lose access to higher level skills. At their very worst their character will be unable to do much of anything to contribute to the game at all. It’s a surprisingly smart way to keep the userbase in check, though of course I’m not certain how well it plays out.
Depending on what server you choose to join you can select what kind of gameplay experience you’re poised to have. Sure, you can enter a world where everyone is having a free for fall, but there are also areas to go if you’re looking to have a calmer, group experience. With that said, it really does appear that a new player’s best bet is to begin playing with some of their friends. Not only will this make it easier to learn the game, but it is almost necessary to group up to do well. Every character will basically end up specializing in some line of “work” (healing, building, etc) and must therefore depend on each other. It’s very cool to hear that interdependence is pushed as opposed to games like DayZ where zillions of players happily run around as lone wolves.
Even after learning all that I have about Life is Feudal, I still know it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The game is still in Early Access but heading toward full launch in October. It’ll also move the world into DirectX 11 which, from what I saw in comparison video, looks like quite the jump. Fans will definitely be pleased, and new players should certainly keep an eye on Life is Feudal when it finally departs Steam Early Access.