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The Skill-System / The Tech-Tree

Dear Developers!

First... excuse my bad grammar here an there... but i think you will get the point!

Since I discovered "Life is Feudal" (specially MMO Version), i was really excited about it! It remembers me in the good old times of Ultima Online. A Game I really wanted to play again in a more modern look (3D and everything), but with the same attempt to be a medieval simulation with civil and military jobs seperated, where guilds and people can work and support eachother - a true life-simulation in medieval times.

I played LIF:MMO now for about 5 weeks. Some of you might say it is a short time periode for such a "long term" type of game to have a serious opinion. Maybe true, but we (my gaming-party and I) just met many other peoples with more experience and of course talked about the game itself. My party enjoyed the presense of more older and more serious players.

The people I have met, the group I am playing with and myself understand, that a nice side effect of the massive complexity of LIF:MMO is, that it filters out trolls and unpatient short-time-gamers. The Simulation-Character of the game is the important point for me and others to play it! I was searching over the last years for a game which promotes the teamwork and patience to work with other players together over a much longer time period to reach a common goal, a game that differ to the most games on the market nowadays. It came almost true with your product! Thank you and good work for that, except for one point which i really want to discuss!

Patience is for players like me not a problem. And my following concern isn't about patience or the time it takes to reach certain skill-levels! Its all about the really illogical and disturbing concept of the techtree-design, which is the only part (really the only!!!) of the game, which is ruining my gameplay again and again. Excuse me to say that, but if your game wouldn't have such a great charm in the most part then I had sadly ended playing it! i am on the verge of stop playing it continously because of the following!

So my concern is a big petition to you!
I want to make a serious attempt to present my concerns in a constructive way with elaborate suggestions and I hope I can reach you in one way or another.

To get to the point quickly:

Do you know any goldsmith, which has to work 10 years (feels like it) as a miner to get profession in goldsmithing?
Do you know any cook, which has to work 10 years as a farmer to research new recipes to cook?
Why can we cook 12 (maybe more later in the development) cooking-recipes in the really beginning (Nature's lore), and then after a long long long time, after you study farming (min. 60 Points) and advanced farming (min. 30 Points) you learn 18!! new recipes instantly? Why are'nt they distributed equally and plain over all the steps of leveling to have more small benefits over time?

Why can't I fertilize soil with dung, until I reach 90!!! points in farming? Sorry for asking that... but is it really immersive / realistic to demand a master-grade in farming to mix soil with dung? Sorry. You know already, that i am playing a farming charakter, but these logical Problems are all over the techtree, recognized by other players with different skill-focus too.

But thats my point: There isn't really a seperatet profession oriented TechTree! There are only 3 main categories and then a lot of misordered subcategories, which doesn't match a realistic skill progression for some professions.

The actual concept of the techtree disturbes the teamplay-charakter of LIF:MMO too! Shure... there is already a teamwork-factor in the game. You need other people to reach a common goal, but only in 3 !!! main categories. As a farmer you need an Artisan... True. But if a master in brewing also needs to become an advanced-farmer inside that branch (minimum level 30 or more) which can harvest honey to brew Mead by himself, he don't really need another farmer to trade with him to get honey for brewing. In this example, we lose the need of one person in the work-chain.

And many other bad side-effects have to be mentioned...
As an example. Imagine you are a farmer with Points as follows: 74 Nature's lore, 73 farming, 53 advanced farming and 29 in cooking. You have to train your "advanced farming"-skill to 60 Points to raise your cooking-skill over 30 (easy to understand). But... you can't really do anything else with these points you already earned. Really sadly! Because to train "advanced farming" you have to gather wild plants over and over again (1 Billion times) to gather wheat which you can grind into flour what's the only effective thing to skill this. Over this time, the most of the other stuff you gather is just useless, because you can cook only "1x ingrediance food" out of it or nothing. Its true that with cooking unlocked you can cook "2x ingrediance food" at first but only to max quality 30 which has the same effect like "1x ingrediance food" on quality 60 or so (in this example). Worth nothing. Food Quality inside the stomache stays 1 on both alternatives.

Carrots -> Useless until i find a cooking recipe or feeding animals with it.
Onions -> Can be used, but only effective since you unlock cooking on the far other end of the skilltree, really? Do you have to be a genious to mix some onions into a Cabbage-Soup from Nature's Lore?
Peas -> Useless, if you haven't thousands of them.
Cabbage and Wheat are the only things of interest in the beginning for a long long time period!
And it gets even worse: I can't find any wild plant over Quality 30, even above a soil quality 50 or more! That shouldn't be a Problem, but it is!

What happens? You have a ton of useless stuff you have to waste. Trading? The other more skilled people don't want or need these stuff eather (i tried to trade it), because they say Carrots and Onions are waste for them! They, on the other hand, still cook effectivly with Cabbage combined with fish and aroma or semething like that, just like it is in the very early game state. It still is the fastest way for them. So... where is the feeling and need of progression?

Crop-fields is the answear? No... not really! Because our Artisan's are already nicely trained, most of their skills to the end of a profession branch are on their way up to 90, but all of these people are still not able to craft a plow for me, because they must have to be more genius to craft a wheel for it first. The recipe for a plow is already unlocked, but not for the parts of it??? Although they can craft mechanical parts (in Real-Life a really complex item!) but can't craft a simple wooden wheel??!? Without a plow, I can't plow a field big enough to train advanced farming worthy, and without quality food the leveling is slower than slow! I only train per mill in this situation without any alternative (0.005). Gather Honey, you say? Not in winter time and not in that quantity you need, because I can't brew anything with honey yet, and anyone who can brew with honey doesn't want it, because they can gather it by themself. Everytime, a recipe inside a profession becomes unlocked, you still can't build or use it, because there is something different you have to skill more, and the only thing to do it, is to do the same work as in the beginning for a thousand years (gather wild plants like a cave man). The small amounts of our apparatuses we can craft decay really fast. We have repair-kits, but we have to train more to use them. Really? If an Artisan can craft a whole smelting oven, he can't repair it by himself at once???

You are just stuck in the stone age although you have earned much more than 300 Skill-Points in total. This concept is like a pure chicanery! Many players I met are building useless roads and stonebrick-walls a million times, just to level for reaching another branch on the other end of the techtree of their profession. 5 weeks, many many points but with little to no progression in the lifestyle. Thats frustrating, NOT FEUDAL! In many periods i had the feeling doing absolutely useless work! I loose track of the time i need to train for something, because i'm never shure about, if i can use it when I unlocked it. It's a mess!

We became gifts from other guilds... a cart as an example. But our characters have already unlocked the cart in theory but cant craft it eather. Which logic is that?

It's not just about the time you need what is frustrating! It's simply the fact that you want to make small progress! And you wanna feel that progression! Let's have a look at Ultima Online again! If you choose a carpenter you made wooden piles a million times first, true - its ok! It takes time, true - its ok! But then, you were proud to make chairs. Then you made chairs a million times and you become proud of doing tables after that. A Progression! Simple as that! You can see it, you can feel it! That feeling is completly missing in the TechTree of LIF:MMO. Its frustrating this way it is!!! Only looking on slowly growing numbers and promising words about what you will be able to build, but without the information that you wouldn't be able to use it until you have 100% in every imaginable skill in your profession branch.

The point of the game is teamwork! The point is trading with other people what they need, to gather what you need by yourself. The point is: different professions per person! Then, why it isn't work the way it is? Because it isn't balanced and the concept isn't really logic!

Aren't there any alternative concepts? I think, of course there are! And it's possible without canceling the "life is feudal"-concept of the game! But I worry about, that you can't change it anymore, because the techtree is a foundation of the whole game and many mechanics of the game build up on that techtree, but I hope though it would be possible for you to change it anyway. Because it isn't really immersive yet!

Here are my suggestion of a better concept:

First: Have a Profession-Selektion in the Charakter-Creation Process! Seperate the professions clearly from each other like UO! And inside this, let's have it it's own techtree with more plain distributed benefits on the way to master-grade! That would do a lot!

The most players i have met, already took 2nd, 3rd and more Charakters to work with. So lets have them specialized farmers, Artisans and so on in a more isolated way... Let a Blacksmith only be a blacksmith and let him train, what he is belonging to, instead to force him to work in as miner first! Let him craft horseshoes or something simple (as an example) in the first place and let him progress only in his job with his own work... from simple to complex in a fluid flow of skill-progression.

Second: Take the really basic Actions which the player needs to survive in the first time to where it belongs... "General Actions". That could be: "searching for food" (Berrys and such small stuff), "search material" (plant fibres and firestones and so on). These are general Actions needed to survive as the charakter spawns the first time. It wouldn't influence the gameplay or balancing, because you already put it in "Natures's Lore" lvl 0! But... don't do that! Nature's lore is already a specialization. But gathering berrys is nothing specialized!

Third: Again... distribute the benefits plain over the skill-levels please! As an example: lets have one new unlocked recipe per 10 Points or so. I don't care if you choose every 30 Points whatsoever. You can just leave the time it tooks, but give us some small benefit on our way to profession which we CAN actually do! Please! Let us know, that our work is something worthy! Not like now, in 1000 years I can do everything i want instantly if i have near 100 in every skill of a branch I choose. Let me do more little different stuff on my way up!

Fourth: Stay logical in the techtree as you are in the rest of the game! The component-System is great and complex! The Nature-System is great and complex and logical! Your concepts of weather is ok and inovative! But look at your techtree! Thats all against your own philosophy at the moment!

Don't get me wrong! I wouldn't have wrote this if my heart isn't captured by the most concepts of your work! Its all because I want to play it without a permanent demotivation! It's realy exhausting at the moment and I frequently need a brake to recover myself from this frustration. And I am pretty shure, many other players feel the same! I talked to some of them!

The other elements of the game may be a matter of opinion but this techtree is a mess! Please change it to be more worthy in the future, if you are still able to do that. If not, I am not shure, if i continue the career(s) as a civil person in LIF:MMO, what is all I want to be. I want to play a game, where a civil person is equal worthy than the military ones, because to feed the community or craft useful stuff for everyone. You get my point!

We like your game, except this part explained above.

Thank you for your attention!
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