Monday, October 13, 2014

Day 2 - In which I learn 2 methods to obtain iron tools

My research into how to play LiF as the belligerent undesirable that I am turned up a few potential approaches. Some of them involved abusing known exploits. Using tactics that the game developers have already publicly identified as exploits may be very possible at this stage, since dev attention is focused elsewhere, but it seems shortsighted. I can't help but think that at some point people who use these techniques will be called to task. The trick is to walk as close to the edge as possible - not to leap off the cliff.

The Plan
Anyway, of all my options, I came up with a tentative plan:
  • Find a moderately populated server with a "hands off" sort of GM.
  • Move into a village with some nice people with nice stuff.
  • Play with them for awhile while building a secret house off in the woods somewhere hidden for a longer term base.
  • Acquire a pitchfork. Pitchforks are reputedly OP, but disdained by much of the community as farm implements. Preliminary reports indicate that naked pitchfork guys are kicking the asses of heavily armed and armored opponents.
  • Steal things, murder people.
  • Maybe get people to pay me to stop somehow? There is no in game currency yet, but they could still give me their stuff.
Before I launch the Plan, I want to take the opportunity to gain familiarity with some more game mechanics. I'm very aware that I still don't have a clue about much of what's going on around me, and want to work on that for a little while.

So I decided to join a low population official server to experiment and test some things out. The first thing I wanted to do was build a house and pitchfork from scratch just to familiarize myself with the process.

I found myself a nice scenic spot by the lake, built all my primitive tools, then started leveling ground. When I had a nice level spot, I chopped down some trees, sawed some boards and built a tiny shack to live in. 

I had expected that I would be able to store my loot safely inside, but soon found that there was no way to secure it. My brief disappointment at this was tempered by the realization that nobody else can secure their loot in their hut either. I'll just have to figure out something else to do with my treasure hoard.

Anyway, next I applied myself to figuring out how I could make a pitchfork. I got as far as figuring out that I needed some iron ore and a furnace to smelt it. I quickly slapped together a furnace and set about trying to prospect some iron.

After a couple hours of frustration, I eventually got the hang of zeroing in on a vein of ore. Then I dug a short tunnel and grubbed some ore out of the ground. I hauled it back to camp and smelted it to get a few bars. My conclusion from all this was that mining and prospecting are fine activities for mindless peasants - not for bandits.

First Contact 
While I was doing all this, another player logged in to the otherwise abandoned server and hailed me in global chat.

Mark: Hello Syeed.
Syeed: Hey
Mark: Are you new here?
Syeed: Yes
Syeed: I just joined this server yesterday.
Mark: You should come and join our village
Syeed: Just trying to figure out basic gameplay at this point
Mark: We can help you
Syeed: Where is your village?
Mark: Well, are you asking because you want to join us? :)
Syeed: I probably will join, just not sure if I'm going to stay on this server.
Mark: You should stay
Mark: My m8s and I joined this server awhile ago, we are ahead of everyone else :)
Syeed: I'm just trying to find this ore
Mark: What kind?
Syeed: iron
Mark: We have a place to dig ironm we can show you how
Syeed: It's more about figuring out how to find it than anything else at this point
Mark: You know the big mountain?
Syeed: Yes, i'm on it, near the lake.
Mark: Our village is between the big mountain and a smaller mountain to the north

I made a note of the intel and resumed my business. A third player logged in and chatted with the first a bit. Soon both of them logged off. Once they were gone, I dropped all of my belongings near my hut and took a hike over the mountain to investigate their village.

There's a village down on that hill
The Heist
I found a small cluster of tiny huts and one larger plaster house. There were crops growing, a couple chicken coops, a forge, and numerous appliances. I saw a number of small sacks laying around and rifled through them. The second one I checked held a full suit of light chainmail armor, which I immediately donned, as well as a morningstar and nordic axe. I tried to equip the weapons but apparently didn't have the skills.

I continued to work my way through the village, taking anything that seemed valuable until I came to the larger house. I wasn't sure if I could get inside, but merely right clicking it and choosing "open/close" did the trick, and I strolled right in and helped myself to more loot inside.

While I was looking into a sack inside the building, I heard footsteps nearby. My heart was racing as I prepared myself for my first PvP encounter. I heard a fire or furnace or something burning outside, and more footsteps and I came up with a plan on the fly - run like mad into the woods. I wasn't sure if it would work out, since I was already overburdened with loot, but what the hell.

I went to the door, saw that it was closed again, and opened it. Then somehow I got stuck behind the door in the middle of the wall. I could see both outside and inside, but could not move. Then the game froze up completely and I had to force quit. My wife was calling me so I couldn't log back in right away.

When I did log in, I respawned on the roof and found myself alone again. I continued looting until I couldn't carry any more and then picked up something called a quern stone and lugged it all the way back over the mountain to my camp and set it down. I have no frigging idea what a quern stone is, but figured it might be useful somehow. Before I left, I made sure to claim the largest house in the village, so they would be under no illusions as to who had stolen their stuff.

Back at camp, I wandered off and buried my loot, making a sort of pirate's treasure map in my notebook to find it again, since there is no system in place for bookmarking locations.

This was my final haul. I don't even know what most of this stuff is:

  • Light chainmail tunic, leggings, greaves, gauntlets, vambraces, and helm
  • Morningstar
  • Nordic Axe
  • Skinning knife
  • Saw
  • Pickaxe
  • Shovel
  • 18 poisonous preparation
  • 19 refreshing preparation
  • 10 grave weight preparation
  • 25 toughness preparation
  • 29 bull's strength preparation
  • 24 swift mind preparation
  • 21 aquila wings preparation
  • 1 urea
  • 726 nails
  • 7 naptha
  • 6 flax stems
  • distiller
  • 8 iron ingots
  • 19 iron bars
  • 2 animal calculi
  • 25 wheat
  • 11 carrots
  • 49 peas
  • glassblower's tools
  • 2 glass
  • 20 flax seeds
  • 11 animal traps
  • 5 flux
  • quern stone

The next phase
Tomorrow's agenda is to make a pichfork and aquire any skills I might still need to use it. I think I'm going to need to improve my smelting skills so I can do blacksmithing and either make a forge at camp or sneak into the village and use theirs. not sure exactly how this is all going to play out, but I'll know when the time comes. I'm running into the skill cap now, so I need to figure out how that business works.

Once I have the pitchfork, the final step of this experimental stage will be to find some random jackoff and try to kill him, just to see how it goes. Once that is done, I will consider my basic training complete, and move to a more active server so the real games can begin.

Life is feudal...bitch.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Press F1 and all will become clear...

Lovely day on the beach.
Naked on the beach
I downloaded the game and opened it up, where I was given the choice to "create a world" or "join a world". I chose create, selected the default parameters and waited for something to happen. And waited...

After awhile I gave up on waiting and just joined some random-assed private server that was open to the public. I connected successfully in about a minute and found myself dropped on the beach in nothing but my whitey-tighties, where a window popped up and informed me that all I had to do was press F1 and everything would sort itself out for me. This reminded me a little of the classic EVE Online new player experience, of which one dev famously said, "Welcome to EVE, here's a Rubik's cube. Go fuck yourself." I'm sure that eventually the LiF devs will implement some sort of NPE, but I hope they keep it pretty bare bones. Make it hard - separate the wheat from the chaff.

Anyway, after pressing F1 and familiarizing myself with basic controls, I took a quick look around. Choppy performance, horrible FPS, and soul destroying lag were clearly going to be an issue. I immediately went and set all my graphics to the lowest possible settings, which helped somewhat. A little searching on the official forums turned up this advice from player Christaston70:

Please follow these steps:

1. locate your game folder in my computer, steam, steam apps, common. 

2. access the DATA folder. 

3. open the pref.cs or prefs file with notepad. (CS file)

4. Change these commands.

$pref::Shadows::disable = "1";
$pref::Shadows::filterMode = "None";
$pref::Shadows::textureScalar = "0";
$pref::Video::antiAliasing = "0";
$pref::Water::disableTrueReflections = "1";

I followed the instructions to turn shadows off and tried again. FPS was still poor, but the game was now playable on my shitty laptop.

First gameplay impressions
I have wood.

I spent a little while running around aimlessly in my underwear. There seemed to be lots of forest, an endless beach, and rocky hills inland. I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself, being apparently alone with no items and unsure how to interact with my environment, so I consulted the tutorials on the official LiF site.

Pretty soon I was harvesting plant fibers and branches, and making myself a primitive axe. It quickly struck me just how laborious it was going to be to make even simple items. I cataloged the information in my brain - this is good. If items are hard to make, then the people who make them will be unhappy when I steal them. They may even attack me. The possibilities for emergent player-generated content are beginning to take form.

Then the tutorials directed me to track some wild critters and go kill them with my new axe. So I found a set of tracks. They were quite difficult to see, but I managed to follow them for some distance before they disappeared. I tried again. After about an hour of repeating this and never seeing any animals, I decided that hunting was just not for me. To date I have still not found any wild animals. No great loss, though. This business of hunting NPC animals smacks suspiciously of PVE, and I hate PVE.

Having given up on hunting, I tried making a few more primitive tools. I chopped down a tree and carried the log around for awhile. I made a fishing pole and fished unsuccessfully. I made a campfire. I dug up some roots and ate them.

Around that time, I started to feel that I had the basics of how moving around and making things works, so I decided to log out, consult some the forums and guides posted by other players, and formulate my plans for stage 2 of my career - learning how to set up a home base and make the weapons I need to rob, destroy, and pillage other player's settlements.

A Newbie in a new game

Hey everybody, allow me to introduce myself. I am Syeed, also known as Haedonism Bot. I'm a fairly casual gamer with a life and job, so I usually only have time to invest myself in one game at a time. For the last 3 years that game has been EVE Online, my first MMO, and the only one I have found to date that is even remotely worth playing. I had tried WoW and Guild Wars 2 and found them cartoonish and unappealing. Other games I had heard of just sounded awful.

Then a short while ago, a friend turned me on to this game - Life is Feudal : Your Own. The title seemed sort of dull and uncreative, the logo is an obvious ripoff of the Soviet flag (trying to appeal to a Russian audience I suppose), but deeper digging left me feeling intrigued.

Sandbox, you say? Awesome. Open world PvP, you say? Nice. No PVE? PVE sucks anyway, so that's great. Meaningful loss when you die? Property that can be stolen or looted from your corpse after I murder you? Battles over strategic assets and locations? No ridiculous orcs and elves? Grit and realism? These all sound fantastic - just the things that I love in a game.

Some things give me pause though. Multiple servers. I realize that this is par for the course among MMOs but it's a wrong way to go. Conflict is more meaningful when everybody is competing for the same resources. Community is better when you can interact with anybody and everybody who plays the game. Also instanced battles. This one almost made me turn away right there. Instances are almost a game breaking thing in a sandbox. If you can create a little pocket of non-sandbox where uninvited third parties can't show up and try to fuck with your plans, then it isn't really a sandbox at all. Fortunately these have not yet been implemented, and it's possible that the devs will still come to their senses on this one.

Anyway, that's who I am and how I came to be here. Having tried the game for a week or so, I can confidently say that, while still very rough around the edges in it's alpha stage, it is already a game worth playing - one of very few such on the market. I will be here for awhile. As an EVE Online player I write a moderately successful blog about my gameplay experiences, and I plan to do the same here.

So read on, and I'll tell you my story.