Our gamedesigner Luca aka Fenris answered some questions for mmorpgitalia.it
You can check out his interview here
If you for some reason is not familiar with Italian language, you can read English translation below:
1. In the last years we had few examples of mmo sandboxes, like Darkfall and Mortal Online. The only successful one, though, has been Eve Online. Which elements do you think are fundamental to have success? Do you think these games miss something?
1. Lately the sandbox genre has been tread on by non-enthusiastic projects and old ideas, each one of them based on its big predecessors like Ultima Online.
The majority of our staff loves the sandbox genre and had a ton of experience in games like Darkfall and Mortal Online. Despite the amazing work done by Aventurine and Star Vault, these games only seem to complete each other. The first one didn't have a decent skill/stats/craft system, and made players struggle for gaining always new experience, until they got bored. The other one, mostly lacked a great siege system which could wake people up, since there wasn't much to do.
We believe that in these last years, the fragile balance between a great, enjoyable combat system and a smart-fast character improvement system, has been compromised. These games took out the fun of a necessity like crafting, it became a boring and ripetitive quest. They left us with no reasons to fight for our lands, nor the will. We want to give the sandbox genre the importance it always deserved.
2. Many players often play sandbox games just to kill other random people, not caring about PK penalties. What can you do to make the social aspect of the game not inferior to the combat?
2. Players acted this way in other MMOs because they've always been showen a game with no purposes, Quake-based deathmatches with no reason to play other than fights. Many developers tried to introduce Role-Play servers to make this any better, failing nevertheless. In Life is Feudal there will be a complicated guild system based on orders, realms and kingdoms. Most powerful alliances will subdue others nearby alliances, even tax their resources and structures, so that there won't be a reason to conquer their cities like in Darkfall. The "evilness" of that alliance, for example, will determine its failure, since submitted guilds wouldnt stand very long below their predominance. Like in feudal times, social aspect will be incredibely important.
3. You are very determined on the "building" aspect of the game. Will we really be able to build underground cities, for example, and change the enviroment as we please? Anywhere?
3. As you can see in the videos we shown in our website, terraforming will have much relevance in our game. Players will be able to change the enviroment and the terrain as they please (if they own the land or have the permissions to do so), though some limitations will be needed to make the game smooth, such as no underground complex buildings. You will still have the opportunity to dig some underground horse trap, for example. Who played Minecraft knows better how this very system will work.
We also have normal predefined buildings, which players will be able to place as they want. You can see this also in our videos, where testers are working on buildings in real time.
4. Which kind of lore awaits us? You talked about "medieval reality", can you give us some details?
4. Life is Feudal is an MMORPG completely based on medieval period. Every weapon, every armor, everything is based on this lore, even social life. If you played Mount & Blade, you know how realistic this game will be.
5. Which races will we be able to play?
As I said, our game will be based on medioeval life, so there will be only humans.
6. Combat: will the visual be in first or third person? Will it be different from others mmo?
6. It will be possible to choose third or first person, and some people will probably like one better than the other. The combat system will be similar to the one used in Taleworlds masterpiece; Mount & Blade. This means no target system, but pure aim FPS-style. Also, directional attacks, parry and interrupting moves will make your combat experience similar to the one that old Savage 2 players used to have, just in a massive game.
7. How will the skill/stats system work?
7. They will be much similar to Ultima Online. Both stats and skills will matter, even if less than players ability to play.
8. Will the world be open and without instances?
9. Do you have plans for a limited beta?
9. We plan to enter the alpha stage very soon. It will take at least another year and a half, probably, to have a closed beta. We'd like to have time to work hard on every feature of the game.
10. Can you talk about the development team?
10. We have about 15 people hardly working on this game. The majority is russian, but we also have a few european and an american guy (don't freak out, the server will be european). We all are enthusiast and happy to work at this project, and despite our nationality differences, we're very secure about our ideas for a perfect sandbox mmo.
11. Can you give us any information about PvP and PvE?
11. Like I said before, PvP will be pretty much influenced by feudal themes and social aspect of the game. PvE, instead, will be very simple and based on the hunting of wild animals. There won't be dragons, or monsters of any kind. We think you're gonna like how this is gonna turn out differently from others mmo.
12. You wanna say anything else to us?
12. I just wanna comfort crafting lovers, you won't be left alone. Crafting will be very important, and items quality difficult to rise at high "levels". Also, A system based on minigames will make your experience funny and more competitive. Greetings to all of you, keep following us on our website.