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Digital Farwoods: Graphical MUD, inspired by Redwall, currently in open alpha

Farwoods

New Member



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!
 
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The Great Sage

The Storyteller
I fucking love MUDs and I promise that I will try yours.

Unfortunately, the thing I love about MUDs is how mysterious the older ones are. The thought that architects who have built puzzles and rooms decades ago and are now long gone and that NOBODY might know the secret to the puzzles is fascinating to me. Trying to figure those forgotten puzzles out is like nerdy digital archeology.

This, sadly, cannot be a draw of your game. Young MUDs face huge, huge challenges not the least of which is the hyperactive idiot brains of today. You're going to have to do something very special to keep people interested. And sadly I don't expect that an intense love for the subject matter is going to cut it. Who knows, I might just be a cynic, though I think there's a good reason the genre isn't well-represented on the Steam store.

That being said - besides your own, which MUD is your favourite?
 

Farwoods

New Member
I fucking love MUDs and I promise that I will try yours.

Unfortunately, the thing I love about MUDs is how mysterious the older ones are. The thought that architects who have built puzzles and rooms decades ago and are now long gone and that NOBODY might know the secret to the puzzles is fascinating to me. Trying to figure those forgotten puzzles out is like nerdy digital archeology.

This, sadly, cannot be a draw of your game. Young MUDs face huge, huge challenges not the least of which is the hyperactive idiot brains of today. You're going to have to do something very special to keep people interested. And sadly I don't expect that an intense love for the subject matter is going to cut it. Who knows, I might just be a cynic, though I think there's a good reason the genre isn't well-represented on the Steam store.

That being said - besides your own, which MUD is your favourite?
Thanks for the thoughtful perspective. I agree with you that mystery is a highly attractive draw of almost all retro games, MUDs included. Many people discuss how much more they enjoyed gaming before the ability to decompile the games and learn everything about them, then publish it into guides, was widely available. Though, I do note that we have this capability for most older MUDs now, and many worlds which are passed from MUD to MUD like Midgaard and other Diku areas are more or less solved, given the MUDs were often open source.

It's my opinion that the MUD genre is not represented well on the Steam store because, indeed, it's an older form of entertainment that has not yet experienced a resurgence, but more importantly MUD players are very set in their ways and MUDs generally run on very old technology. Writing a Steam-compatible client is a lot of work and so you'll find few people willing to do it, if not because it's too much work for a dev team that's probably working for free, then simply because they've always gotten along just fine without one. Reaching a broader audience is not the highest priority of most MU* wizards today, I don't think.

As for Farwoods specifically, I would say that we are a graphical MUD, which is a pretty rare breed even for MUDs, so you're probably not going to find a lot of experiences like it, and I imagine we're a little more approachable to the uninitiated than most text MUDs. But to me, the draw of MUDs was always less digital archaeology and more the sense of having a persistent, living world which was always ticking away, that you might log into and roleplay in. No need for interest checks or recruitment, the scene is always perpetually set, the server governs interactions for you... it's the ideal roleplaying environment. Hopefully, people will keep logging in simply to keep playing their characters.

As for my favorite MUD, besides the defunct ones that I spent most of my time on as a teenager, I'd say that Gemstone IV is a very pretty and well-made MUD. It has a ton of flaws, being a paid MUD and a rather grindy one at that, but it absolutely captivated me when I played the free trial when I was young. It really felt very alive.
 
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The Great Sage

The Storyteller
Okay, having played your game for a few days I have to say that I wouldn't recommend it to anyone as it currently is.

The game world seems very empty. I think I understand that you intend that players will be the driving force behind the world's story, but I really think unless you provide some sort of simple gameplay loop that any player can engage in by themselves you will have some trouble retaining players. Right now I think there's only a real place for crafters and scroungers. Any other 'class' seems out of place and directionless.

The world map seems quite small? I've gone up into the darkwoods and its associated areas and I've been to the mountain and then to the little hill that lies to the west of the library and it's all almost featureless. There are trees, rocks, water and sometimes bridges. The world definitely doesn't seem like a living one and exploration mostly feels like in old cartoons where the same scene keeps repeating in the background as a character is running or driving somewhere. I think I understand the intent behind it - to keep all the players relatively close together right? In effect it makes it feel like I'm living in a snow globe.

On the positive side, I think that the movement and controls are very crisp. I like how you rendered most things down into context menus when interacting with objects and things. The magic system seems neat although it's hard to get into and I think if I wanted to keep going I'd have to make a whole new character to scrounge for crystals and what not. There aren't any players selling or trading them as far as I can tell.

Two things I'd like to see is the ability to maximize the game window to fit any resolution of monitor and the ability to 'forget' skills.

All in all, I think it's far too early for you to be trying to attract players. Please correct me if I'm wrong but it seems to me like there are no real mysteries to solve and no secrets to uncover. I see a lot of potential though. The game reminds me somewhat of Ultima Online, which is a very good thing.
 

Farwoods

New Member
We're not looking for players, we're looking for testers. The game isn't even finished yet. :)

The best time to play the game at the moment is Fridays at 8PM Eastern. That's when we have organized playtesting events and there will be the most people on. If you aren't already in the Discord, feel free to join and help provide feedback on the direction of development: Join the Farwoods Discord Server!
 

Farwoods

New Member
Here's a post on our latest skill to be added, Jewelry:

Also, some screenshots from our playtest yesterday:
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Farwoods

New Member
More screenshots from our playtests.

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Also, a note since I've received several comments on the open PvP nature of the game: This is a roleplaying game. Combat is a necessary part of the economy, and strife a necessary part of stories. It is not permitted nor particularly supported by the mechanics to grief other players, as the mechanics of this game are heavily geared towards cooperation between players and the formation of factions. But combat is a valid playstyle, and brigands, mercenaries, and guards are all valid characters to play; it is just expected that fighting will involve talking and roleplaying. Typical MMO tactics like spawn camping are not possible.
 

Farwoods

New Member
We will be expanding our playtests to both Thursdays and Fridays from 5pm EST/10pm UTC to 10pm EST/3am UTC!
 

Farwoods

New Member
Hello everyone! Weekly playtests continue after the holiday weekend, Thursdays/Fridays from 5PM EST to 10PM EST (late joiners welcome). People have also been playing on and off throughout the week. Part of our playtesting is attempting to play the game as we expect it to be played after release, albeit with relaxed rules. We expect that, especially with the larger map we have planned for the beta, players will split off and form factions throughout the world, and we expect these factions to have conflict with each other. That's happening now, which makes this a great time to hop in and get involved with the community. Here's a list of niches in the game's economy that are currently underfilled:

- Smithing
- Woodworking (and wood armory)
- Combat-focused characters of any stripe
- Mining
- Blue, gray, green, red, and white magic

If any of this sounds interesting to you, especially if you're looking for a new roleplaying environment to immerse yourself in, join the Discord and our community will happily help you acquaint yourself with the game. The more the merrier!
 

Farwoods

New Member
Alpha screenshots for your Sunday. Some of the players have been building a settlement out in the untamed forest!

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Farwoods

New Member
One of our players had their character drawn by @KolatBlue on Twitter:

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I suspect there will be more such commissions in the future.
 

Farwoods

New Member
Happy New Year, everyone! We are soldiering on here, grateful for everyone who has shown interest in the game and helped us found a small community of roleplayers. Hoping to reach beta this year!
 

Farwoods

New Member
Warriors rejoice! By popular request we've added two new types of craftable weapon to the game: axes and spears.

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Also, our playtesters continue to find and document new bugs for us to fix:



Finally, check out the new forums we've set up for the game:

 

Farwoods

New Member
Hello everyone! We've been continuing to work hard on the game, including our moderating and game master toolkit. The latter has reached a point now where we feel comfortable hosting a special event! This event will be aimed at playtesting the combat system on a larger scale: so far, players have mostly been involved in one-on-one duels, but we expect when the game is released that high-stakes combat will most likely take place between groups. We hope that players might even organize dedicated factions, and that these factions might (amicably, at least OOC) go to war with each other and schedule battles between their warriors. If you're at all familiar with SCA and other hobby reenactment groups, the structure might be familiar for you.

Anyway, here's what you can expect from this event:
  • Two teams of prebuilt characters of the same interval with appropriate skills and equipment.
  • You will receive a special version of the client to connect to the event server.
  • The event server will retain your normal login information.
  • Your account will be assigned a character and team to maintain balance.
  • The event will take place in a separate game world and map, so your existing characters/items will not be present.
  • Whichever team downs every member of the opponent team at least once will be the winner.
  • There may be multiple rounds depending on how long it takes and how enthusiastic everyone is.
Given the length of the play session you will have some time before the fighting begins to familiarize yourself with your character and abilities and allies, and possibly even spar with your teammates before going out to battle. So don't worry about not knowing what you're doing. All the characters will be created ahead of time and added to your account with appropriate skills and equipment. Since you will need to actively participate in combat with them there will only be 1 character per player.

The event will be held some time in the week of 3/28-4/4 depending on the availability of people who express interest in participating. If you haven't tried the game before, this event is the perfect opportunity to get your feet wet, since everything will be provided for you. All you have to do is log in, socialize, and fight some critters, and there will be plenty of veterans on both sides to help guide you. We are hoping for at least a 4v4 fight, so anyone reading this who wants to show up and give the game a try will be contributing considerably towards that goal. :)

Forum thread: https://farwoods.net/forums/thread?id=69
Official Discord: Join the Farwoods Discord Server!
 

Dezmodian

New Member
Oh that is fun! As one who's spent several years in such (mostly a GodWars MUD in the 90's) this made my day to see :) Nicely done!
 

Farwoods

New Member
This week, a large update! We've added several decor items to expand the furniture system: rugs, tapestries, beds, lampposts, and stools. We've also added an initial implementation of the dyeing system, allowing us to color tailoring items like the new rugs and tapestries a variety of different colors, as well as existing clothing. This is the first step towards making places feel a little more lived-in and welcoming.

Next up is some major changes to the way the rest system works so that players spend less time laying around.

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Farwoods

New Member
This week, we added the weather system along with our new rest system! Check it out here:



While in inclement weather, your character will be cold and move and regenerate slower unless they are wearing insulating clothing, depending on the severity of the weather. Combined with the changes to rested regeneration, critters are encouraged to get tailored clothes for when they get caught in the rain, and to take shelter from it so they can regenerate health/stamina/etc. faster. In the future we might consider making insulating clothing slowly take damage while it is protecting you from exposure.
 

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