(stolen from SA)
-What is it?
Here is a short teaser, it is very old and outdated though
Haven & Hearth is a free MMORPG made by two swedish students that work on it in their freetime. Its coded in Java and has an open source client. You can play it via the homepage by clicking play at the top http://www.havenandhearth.com/portal/
or download a custom client which has a bigger resolution and other features from this thread http://www.havenandhearth.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=10840&sid=e3ab4da97a7acf3330025775973975eb
It's a sandbox games, which means there is no goal to achieve. It has no NPCS beside critters and animals(and some to create your char), so there are no quests, no ingame tutorials or similar. Basically it's about surviving, making friends, starting villages and waging wars.
It's still in alpha, so it gets updates from time to time. That also means that there are character and map wipes, however. World 2 and 3 have each lasted about a year. World 4 has started about a week ago.
-How to start?
Since there is nothing guiding you, the game is incredibly hard to start. After creating your character you either start in the wild with nothing but a few loafs of bread and two torches or, if you already have friends playing it, start at their camp. To get a few first LP get branches from trees and make fires(and light them). Do this until you can get foraging. With this skill you will be able to see fruits and other things on the ground that you can pickup (and eat). Collect rats if you see them, you can cook and eat them.
After that get Lumberjacking so you can craft a stone axe and chop trees.
Your first goal should be to build a basic camp where you can sleep (leanto) and cook things.
Yes and no. You need to grind a bit at the start, to get LP for the skills in order to build/craft items. The combat system has heavy diminishing returns, so older characters arent overpowered, but newborn alts arent too good as well. You can increase your attributes by eating food which you have cooked.
Basically everyone can kill you. And if you die you are dead. permanently. He can also destroy all you have permanently. Wheres the fun then? Well its risky. You can put a claim on your things with the skill Yeomanry and prevent others from entering the claim. However if they have blackskills they will still be able to enter your claim, but they will leave scents. With this scents, depending on the crime they done, you can track and kill them while theyre offline(upon killing them you will leave scents on your own though).
Another way is building walls. Palisades can be torn down with bare hands, but require incredible strength, brickwalls can only be torn down with a ram, which takes 8 hours to build and cant be transported farther than a few tiles.
-Whats the lategame about?
Once you have all the skills and a great bunch of attributes AND your camp set up the lategame starts. The lategame is basically enhanching your items and characters by getting better resources (every item has a quality which is determined by the resources its build from and your skills).
But the lategame is also about ingame politics, and that is were the fun really starts.
You can establish trading between villages, you can plunder them, you can burn them down, but be afraid of retaliation from the villagers or hired mercaneries.
Here are a few examples of great history in H&H.
In world 2 the goons (SA members) were feared because they have had a big membership and plundered villages. An opposing force - Xanadu - was established by dedicated members, lead by one of the developers (who didnt cheat, he played full legit of course).
A few weeks later they managed to kill the goon leader Delamore, who then quit playing himself, but still was leading the goons. It became quite in the world and people were bored.
Thats when the possibly biggest force by that time, all members of ps.com, decided to raid a recently set up village near the starting point. They were allied with the goons and allowed Delamore to take responsibilty for the raid, to fan the flame flames. A topic was created ( http://www.havenandhearth.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3750&hilit=codexia raid&sid=269524531f643dcd41c389df523e6206 )and it soon became clear that it werent goons who attacked. Suddenly ps.com Members became hated and few of them died. The atmosphere was very tense, with flame wars every day on the forum. Xanadu was mostly disbanded due to inactivity and some of the members joined up with Codexia members. They created a new village, which the ps.com members soon found and raided multiple times due to a traitor. However, about a month later, after world reset was announced, old Xanadu members finally managed to invade Wayneville and kill most of the ps.com members.
When world 3 started, world 2 politics didnt matter anymore, so ps.com members decided to be good people now( http://www.havenandhearth.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=5667&p=64322&hilit=codexia raid&sid=8fdd99900b7386f299261a555be6291e#p64322 ) and allied with Xanadu/Codexia members, to build the greatest town ever seen. They have built Sodom(scroll down for pictures), which has never been penetrated for the whole year that world 3 lasted.
This is wayneville in world 2. A character is 1x1 tile big, Wayneville was about 150x150 tiles big iirc. sadly i dont have the 1:1 picture anymore.
And this is Sodom in world 3. It is about 4x the size so ill only link it http://pyrofyr.net/Stuff/X/homes/cool/sodomsmall.jpg
Each member has his own claim which is 35x35 tiles big, the whole town is surrounded by a brick wall. Later in the map a second town with exactly the same layout was built directly next to it, to offer refuge for people that are allied with Sodom, but not members of it.
Here is a Skilltree, which lacks descriptions though
A great tutorial for starters
The official wiki
Note: Im not playing the game anymore, so i cant offer starting items/camp but i can give hints. I just thought this is a great indy game which is worth to share with you guys