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Life is Feudal: MMO Impressions – Now Back on Steam

Life is Feudal: MMO, the hardcore medieval sandbox MMORPG by Long Tale Games, has returned to Steam after a three-year hiatus. Relaunched on April 18th, 2024, the game boasts new content, exciting events, and a revamped subscription model to entice both veterans and newcomers. Considering the game was originally on Steam for a single purchase price makes this is tough pill to swallow. I personally like that it is back on Steam and will take advantage of the free 30 days, but it is doubtful I will continue the sub at US17.99 (~AU$27), especially as none of my mates are interested in it. It’s a brutal and difficult MMORPG to get into solo, so is best played with friends.

Life is Feudal is known for its unforgiving realism. You begin as a naked peasant, thrust into a world where survival is paramount. You are given a choice as to whether you want help with tutorials on the newbie island with limited players or set forth on your own into the real world of Abella. I chose tutorials, and set forth meeting a village elder, then completing quests for local villagers that taught me the basics of gathering resources, crafting tools, hunting for food, and building shelter are your initial hurdles.

I was going fine with these starting quests until it got to the hunting one. You are tasked with searching for animals to kill for their meat. As my character was relatively brand new, it had no skills so I could either try chase a rabbit or deer down and attempt to stab it, but with limited stamina this was nearly impossible. The other method was to throw stones at it and hitting them takes off 6 damage. For a rabbit, this meant 2-3 hits and they only provide 1 meat. The quest said to return to the hunter but when I did, there was no conversation option to turn in the quest. Thankfully the in-game community has been nothing but helpful and I was informed that quest needs 10 meats.

I thought it was going to take me forever with 1 rabbit taking about 5 minutes at this rate. I came across a deer, but I spent around 10-15 minutes hitting it once then chasing it for ages. I didn’t realise at the time, but the deer would lie down on occasion and while this meant it was an easier target, it was actually healing itself. I eventually took it down after cornering it at the ocean and it netted me 30 meats. It was a long trundle back to the hunter NPC to turn it in. At this point after playing Life is Feudal for a couple of hours, I thought I knew enough to head to the main game, and in talking with players in-game they said to just do it and learn as I go.

I asked the ferryman to send me to Abella and I was plonked onto these new lands in the middle of nowhere with only rags on my back. Everything I had learned, unlocked, and looted was gone. The only thing that remained were my initial character creation choices and strangely enough my hunger stats. I looked around for food and found some tapers and berries, but these hardly gave me any sustenance, and after eating about 6 of them it said my mind and body was bored with the food choices.

As I had no skills in anything, and none of the tools/weapons I had in the tutorial island, I was left to start from scratch. Players must build their characters from the ground up, mastering crafting, gathering resources, and surviving the harsh realities of this medieval world. I initially established a base where I had landed, but this was miles from water and I was struggling to find food, so I abandoned that site and spent time running across the zone so I could find a spot closer to the water. This focus on depth over ease of accessibility in similar games won’t be for everyone, but for those seeking a deep dive into medieval life and having to really work for your survival, Life is Feudal offers a unique and rewarding experience.

As you are playing you are earning experience in the background with crafting, combat, and building, and this wasn’t explained to me by the game (perhaps it would have if I stuck to the newbie island longer). I was asking myself, how do I gain skills so that I can build advanced things, because after about 5 hours of playing and gathering resources, I still could not craft simple things like rope and bows/arrows. In the character screen (P), the first three tabs are skill trees with crafting, combat, and minor skills. Here you can see various skill trees and can plan how you want to develop your character. If you want to be able to wield swords, you will need to train as a footman, and then invest experience into swordsman. There is a button next to each tier, and this slowly applies experience earned from that tree, into that skill. This happens over time both while you’re playing and offline. It’s a good thing to set as your last thing to do before logging off each night as you’ll wake up trained in what you queued up. EVE Online, Empyrion, and other games have this system and it’s great for players like me that can’t play every day but can still gain some skill progression.

Where you will thrive in Life is Feudal is through player interaction and potentially joining a guild. Guilds are the backbone of society, allowing players to band together for mutual defence, resource gathering, and grand construction projects. I saw some slapped together one-house land plots, but you could tell a well-coordinated guild by their work in unison to build a magnificent multi-home village, and it is a sight to behold. However, the harsh realities of the medieval world are ever-present. PvP is unrestricted, and guilds can wage war on each other, raiding settlements and stealing resources. This constant threat adds a layer of tension and excitement but be prepared to lose everything you’ve built if you’re not prepared.

The Steam relaunch of Life is Feudal: MMO brings several improvements. Newcomers are greeted with a free 7-day trial and helpful starting bonuses. Veterans will appreciate the “Balance Restoration Campaign,” allowing them to reclaim investments from the previous iteration and 30 days of free play time. New content includes additional areas to explore, engaging events like seasonal hunts, and a revamped reputation system for interactions with other players. Integration with Steam features like achievements and community hubs foster a more vibrant social atmosphere.

The subscription model has also been adjusted to be more affordable but is still a clear sticking point for players on Steam based on the multitude of negative reviews. As I mentioned at the top of this review, while I am enjoying learning and playing the game within the free 30 days, I am unlikely to continue the subscription as it’s bloody tough playing solo and none of my mates are interested in the game at this stage. The subscription price has been reduced to US17.99, or ~AU$27/month and that’s one of the most expensive subscriptions out there. Time will tell to see if the Steam player base extends beyond these free 7- and 30-day periods. There is a promising game once you get into the nuts and bolts of it. It is tough going as a solo player, so is better played with friends, but it’s not impossible to play alone. There’s plenty of things you can do as a solo player, and the in-game community has been very helpful in the times I have been playing which is a sign of a great community.

Life is Feudal: MMO carves out a unique space in the MMORPG landscape. Its emphasis on realism and player-driven content may not appeal to every gamer, but for those seeking a challenging and immersive medieval experience, it offers a compelling alternative. The Steam relaunch, with its new content, returning features, and revamped subscription model, could breathe new life into this niche title. However, the long history of the game going from a buy to play model, leaving Steam in favour of an external subscription model, and now returning on Steam but with a subscription model, may have burnt too many bridges.

This review utilised a key provided by Evolve PR and Life is Feudal: MMO is available now on Steam. There is a 7-day free trial for brand new players and 30 days free for returning players, though a subscription is required to continue playing beyond the trials.


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