Some more words about CRPG elements and the sequel.
Linear or Open Worlds
In Lord of Xulima, the world was open in essence. From the beginning, you could go wherever you wished. Of course, you could die very easily, adventuring yourself into too dangerous regions. However, we set some few specific barriers in several places mostly in the first part of the game.
There were two types of barriers, ones that were only powerful guardians like the army of the impious princes that protected certain regions. Those barriers weren’t impossible to beat without triggering the events that removed them (killing the corresponding prince) if you had a very powerful party. The other barriers were fixed and impossible to beat until you got special items or did specific things. For example, the Ulnalum Guardian that prevented to enter in Varaskel or the Yul statue in Rasmura that protected the bridge access with a halo of darkness.
We set those barriers for two reasons. First the story, the story was more coherent if the main story dialog was played in its natural order. Second, it was to avoid the player from getting lost too soon. In LoX’s earliest version, we first tested with no barriers at all. The testers wasted a lot of time trying to figure out where to go, what areas they could explore or were too dangerous. Ultimately, they became frustrated very quickly. In contrast, with those few barriers the world continues to be very open with lots of things to do, the story flows better, and the player is not overwhelmed by so many options at the very beginning.
As with any design decision, this one was sometimes criticized by the most hardcore players and at the same time, the game was too obscure for other players that got lost as soon as they reached Velegarn (indeed, most of them died on the road to Sorrentia; do you remember that lovely ogre?).
As always, it is impossible to please all players, so we will be loyal to the essence of Lords of Xulima and its old-school spirit. For the sequel, we will continue with this philosophy but improve the world openness as much as the story allows us to. The world will again be vast and dangerous. We want the player to explore and experiment without adding artificial barriers. You will be free to roam wherever you wish or your survival sense allows you.