Hello all! I'd like to take the time to tell you about a project we're working on called Farwoods. We're a small indie team building what is, for us, a passion project, a free-to-play online roleplaying game set in a land of talking animals where everyone you meet is another player. These sorts of games live and die on their playerbases, so we're trying to get the word out right now, and we're looking for passionate, creative writers and roleplayers to try it out. You can read a little more about the gameplay on the website, but the basic idea is this: a persistent world without NPCs, where character advancement is tied to time spent playing and not repetitive grinding or combat, so that you can make any character you want and play them any way you want, and you'll still be able to get better at your skills.
Here's some pictures from the closed alpha:
We currently have 12 races in the game with plans for at least 4 more down the road. Each race has up to 6 visual variations that don't have an effect on gameplay, but help you set your character apart. Different races have different starting stats that help classify them into soft "roles," but ultimately can be customized to do whatever you want them to do. The game's 9 stats are prioritized for each character, with the first stat gaining 9 points and the last stat gaining only 1. From there, you can choose from some of the game's (currently) 70 traits, taking on weird quirks for bonuses or sacrificing one stat for another. There are some basic traits, like pacifism, blindness, muteness, and deafness, and also more specific or complex ones, like only being able to speak and understand your racial language.
Once you've created your character, you'll spawn inside the Morenth Library, the game's only PvP safe zone and the hub of skill advancement. From the bookshelves there you can scrounge for skill books, which you can use to spend your skill points on things your character can do. Each skill has one or more stats it depends on, and your scores in those stats heavily influence both how quickly you can learn it, and how good you are at it at an equal skill level. You also receive a limited number of skill points, and have to wait to get more through intervals, which award skill points after a certain amount of time playing. In this way, players are encouraged to specialize their characters in a few specific things and take on jobs within the player economy. What those jobs do is entirely up to the player, dependent on how they imagine their character.
For instance, a character might specialize into combat skills, mixing and matching to create their own style of fighting. Then, they have a choice of many different informal professions to choose from: They could be a bandit, and make their living beating up other players and stealing their things. Or, they could become a bodyguard, and find someone who needs protecting and get paid to do it. They could find a player shop that's getting shaken down, and offer their skills to make it safer for customers. They could choose a specific part of the map, and charge other characters to be able to pass through unharmed. They could try and establish some sort of guard presence in an area, and take donations in exchange for chasing off violent animals. They could even pick up just enough survival skills to keep themselves fed, and wander the world as a wayfarer, seeing what kind of trouble they can get up to without a specific goal.
The backbone of this persistent world is the burrow system, whereby players who've been playing for a while are given an item that allows them to place a permanent home for themselves on the world map. This creates a named burrow hole on the map, which can be locked (so that only the owner can enter) or unlocked (so that any player can freely enter and leave). Unlocked burrows can only be locked when they have no other players inside them. These burrows can be dug out however the owner chooses, and decorated for free with doors and countertops, but any other furniture has to be acquired from other players. Doors can be locked and unlocked by the burrow owner at any time, but by acquiring keys from a blacksmith and assigning them to doors in your burrow, you can give other players the freedom to move through specific areas in your burrow. You can use this system to create any kind of structure you want: a home, a shop, an inn, a faction base, just somewhere safe to store your things, etc.
If you've read this far, thank you very much for your interest! I encourage you to follow us on Twitter and ask in this thread any questions you may have about the game. The Twitter account also has many progress reports showing the pace of development on the game and the other features we plan to add. I hope this summary has ignited some creativity in you and that you're thinking about the characters you might want to make and play. You can check out the website for more details and to download the game. Right now much of the game is still in flux and few, if any, of the assets are final, but much of what we intend to add is already in place and playable. Thanks for your time!