I have been wanting to write up something about H&H for days now but I have not been able to stop playing long enough to do so. My crops have needed tending, leather needed to be tanned, and bunnies needed their necks wrung. And hours and hours of exploring across the most massive online map I have ever encountered only to see but one of the hundreds of other players.
One starts out in the middle of...somewhere (you can start near friends if you share a password called a "hearth secret" of your choosing) with a little food, some close, and your wits. Early survival is basically about finding food. You can forage, fish, hunt, or grow your own crops once you have acquired some seeds. If you think you will want a house, you will want to take lumberjacking so you can get the boards and blocks you need to build it. If you prefer living under the stars or in a cave, you can simply claim a 5x5 plot which can be further expanded in the cardinal directions for the cost of LP (Learning Points...instead of Exp.). Eventually you may even want to join up with some other players and form a village with its own borders. Waterfront property can be risky since the rivers act as the main highways but too far from water can leave one isolated. The map is huge. I really want to throw around some sort of hyperbole here but none needed. The world is frelling gigantic.
Anyways...if you want to bake bread, do it. If you want to PK, do it. I was a big UO player for years. I was very active in the RP scene, helped found a town, ran a guild, and tried to straddle the line between PvP and RP as best I could within game limits. What got me interested in H&H was one simple little thing: perma-death. You do not lose absolutely everything (there is an inheritance system for subsequent characters) but enough to make dying hurt. There is also a tracking system for criminals. Certain criminal acts such as tresspassing, stealing, and murdering cause you to leave a "scent" that other players can use to track you down. Being logged out won't save you if they track down your "hearth fire" from which they can summon your avatar. The ability to perform criminal acts is not cheap and neither are the offensive skills.
Perma-death caught my interest but terraforming drew me in. If you chop down a tree, you really chop down a tree, leaving only the stump. Stumps can also be removed. Not exactly thrilled with the clear-cut look, plant some more trees. Perhaps fir trees are not your style, plant some maple and oaks and turn your coniferous forest into a deciduous forest. Mining in a cave means really mining away walls. Do not forget to include supports if you are digging a new mine shaft else you could wind up under a collapse.
Here is the skinny: it's a free java game by a couple of Swedes and it is still in alpha. There was a complete wipe a couple of weeks ago so the current world (world 4) is relatively new, making it a good time for new players. Did I mention the map is gargantuan?
So not exactly the write up I wanted to do but I think my wheat is ready to be harvested and I still need to build a coop before my chooks die. Those chooks are going to keep me in flights for arrows.