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In my mad “Free MMO” spree this time I would like to talk about Neverwinter. The name Neverwinter is that of a city in the world of Faerun, in the Forgotten Realms setting. The Pen and Paper game, Dungeons and Dragons, is what people typically see when playing any game set in this universe (Dungeons and Dragons Online was set in a different setting). I am the “old-fashioned” fan of the 3rd and 3.5 Edition of Dungeons and Dragons, while Neverwinter is set in the 4th Edition. My first reaction when playing a mage in Neverwinter was that they deliberately made the Wizard more action oriented. Turns out, at least so my friends told me, this is what a 4th Edition Mage is meant to be… But before I spill the beans, let’s talk a bit about Neverwinter first.
There are a few games that I did not play when they were popular (at least, when there seemed to be a craze around them). With LoL this was the case as well. I had so many other things to do and the game mode did not appeal to me the same way an ordinary RTS or RPG normally would. Over the past few weeks I have been jumping into the world of Free to Play MMOs and among them was League of Legends. League of Legends is what I would call an RPG/RTS Hybrid. From what I read it was initially a Custom Game Mod for Warcraft 3 that has evolved into two major titles, League of Legends and Dota 2. I opted for the options that I was more familiar with (a lot of my friends were playing League of Legends). So, what was it like?
CR 2.9 is a long awaited release (though not as long as RC 3.0, though we take what we get). Since the last stable version of Project Zomboid numerous things have been changed, added and reworked. One example is that of combat. In the Stable Project Zomboid Build you could take on an entire HORDE of undead with a spiked baseball bat and win. In Project Zomboid RC 2.9 you will die to hordes, a lot, even when armed with the best possible equipment. You have Thirst, Perishable food, Illness, Temperature and of course the Zombie Infection waiting around the corner. This is, by no stretch, the once easy and friendly game that people might had once knew. It is going in the direction of a proper, full-fledged Zombie Apocalypse Simulation, and so far it has kept me hanging on the edge of my seat.
I decided to give Don’t Starve a crack, after a longer pause, to see just how much has changed since my last game (the date of this playthrough would be the 23rd of April, 2013). To do that I decided to start a new game and see how long I can survive, noting down key events that happened to me, throughout. Some things were similar, I found, but it felt like an entirely new experience on different levels. More items, the Winter, drying (and perishable) food… … Walruses, and even a more “Physical” Magic element… including Madness. Compared to what I had about four months ago this felt like Don’t Starve 2.0, and I am glad the game has evolved so much. Although I only made it to day 23 in this playthrough I rather enjoyed it! What, in the end, was my downfall is lack of knowledge of the game (as it currently is) and a complete lack of preparations for the Winter. If you want a lengthy story on me attempting (and failing) to survive, read on! Just so you know, I played on “Default” world Settings, and with Wilson. The substantial lack of images was caused by my software deciding it does not want to cooperate… so I only include the screenies that I had.
I’ve just been recently cycling back through some of the “classic” titles on the PS3 before the new console generation is upon us, and I’m about 44 hours into Dragon Age: Origins, rife with choices and consequences left and right. While this obviously adds an interactive element to both storytelling and player immersion, I must say that I felt slighted on several occasions once caught in crucial moments of the game. Least to say I raged pretty hard, so hard I thought my brain had exploded from the built-up pressure in my skull. Listen to this story, then you’ll see why DA:O and other similar choice-based RPGS really get on my nerves.
If I’m going to waste away two days of my life in front of my TV screen, mashing buttons and the like, there’s a good chance I probably will invest some personal attachment in most of the characters. Allistar—a mildly charming, yet buffoonish Templar who really is at the center of this controversy—wasn’t an exception as my female Warden swooned over him, coddling the man-child all whilst slaughtering the darkspawn. I expected the Landsmeet in Denerium to proceed without a hitch, though I had more than one surprise in store that made me want to slap a few, pixaled faces upside the head.
The generous and understanding members of the Landsmeet decided to screw me over, of course, and vote for the traitorous Loghain instead of your friendly, neighbor Warden. One skirmish later, I finally had the dialogue option to kill the stupid tin-can, a gory fantasy of mine conceived months back at Ostagar. I’m sure you can relate to this now: the game forced me into a duel with him. A duel…are you serious? That wasn’t what I choose. It might be hard to believe, but it gets even better than this. I refused to accept the terms of the duel with a smile of my face, thinking that I circumvented the whole situation and a horrible misunderstanding. Incorrect, so it seems.
Why Allistar felt a need to totally disregard my wishs and battle Loghain is beyond me! The royal bastard who I eventually put on the throne, in lieu of the wretched Anora, went to unbelievable lengths to scar me for life and to completely ruin this game file and possibly my future with the Dragon Age series. After a steaming relationship, through which he expressed his undying love for me, he suddenly realizes that he can’t marry a common Dalish elf like me and leaves me high and dry because of his “duty”. This blood-boiling decision was not well-received and, afterwards, he still whiningly upheld the fact that he would always have affection for me.
Oh, that was the final straw that broke the malificarum’s back! Had there been an option to totally disregard everyone, just outright slay Allistar, and either usurp the throne or leave the good Ferelden people to defend themselves from the Blight, you better believe I would’ve gone down that path.
The whole point of my anger-induced story is to highlight how RPGs constantly and consistently boast about having choices that actually affect various parts of the plot without delivering their promise. Don’t tell me I have hundreds of potentially game-altering decisions and dialogue options when I obviously do not. Only one stupid sentence separated me from the ending that I so sought after. This lingering issue has plagued more than one game, most notably the controversial ending of Mass Effect 3 and, in my opinion, the biased, stealth-favored gameplay of Dishonored. While I wholeheartedly realize a developer and his team can only do so much, I am spending sixty or more dollars and plenty of hours on their game. Let’s hope we see improvement with choice-based games in the future, although my hopes are not high.
Hell, I’d just be happy if Dragon Age 3 has more than four, unrepeated maps.
Health Systems… Many games follow a very simple “HP” system. You lose a few points, you find a Med Kit, you get back the lost Hit Points. Or you just hide in the corner while you genetically modified DNA grows back your limbs after suffering a direct hit from an RPG. Maybe it’s a mix of both, a shield that regenerates and health that does not. These are the most brutal basics. Even RPGs follow a very, very similar rule. There might be status effects, but they are very rarely “permanent”. When you are blind it’s because somebody cast a Blindness spell on you, and not because a Goblin poked your eyes out with a rusty dagger. Even if a Giant pummels you into a bloody pulp, leaving you at one “HP” a health potion will fix you right up! Internal Damage? What is that? Fractures? Disease? Don’t make me laugh! Health is not a complex addition to most games, not because the Developers are lazy, but because most games would become overly complicated because of it. Can you imagine just how short a lot of Zombie games would be over in the first few minutes if there was a realistic disease/damage system? What of Modern Shooters, where you can take countless direct hits without bleeding out on the side walk? If such mechanics were implemented most games would simply be too hard. That is not to say there are no games without such mechanics…
Being “Human” – Video Games where Health is an Issue
I enjoy a good survival game. Especially the sort that grabs me by the hair, screams in my face, and then continues kicking me when I am down. The unforgiving settings, challenging enemies and deadly scenarios. A lot of Survival games do not focus on health that much, but let’s bring up the examples of games that do (at least to an extent).
Project Zomboid is a “light” example of a health system. You have bleeding, disease (zombie and natural), poisoning, blood loss. You have to tend to those limbs that get damaged during your fights, or when you fall off a tall building. You need to take Painkillers to ease the pain, and get yourself back to full health! Which is not as easy as it sounds, especially during a Zombie Apocalypse. Resources tend to be scarce, and if you are forced out of your hiding spot all your medicine is left behind. Keeping yourself alive is one thing. Keeping yourself healthy is something entirely different.
UnReal World is one of the most recent GREAT examples that I stumbled upon (thank you PC Gamer). It is a Survival Game about living in the Wilds during the Iron Age. You can get burned, frozen, stabbed, bashed, kicked, ripped to shreds, mauled, punctured and also dehydrated and malnourished. There are different Scenarios with which you can begin the game (some easier than others) and what you do after that is up to you! That is, if you survive the first winter. In this game everything is against you. The people, nature, the weather, even your own instincts. Surviving in this game is an art, and from the point of view of the health system a lot of things can kill you, in more than one way. Combat here is surprisingly complex. You do not have Health Points, you are very much a living being. You can get stabbed in the leg, but if it did not puncture a major artery you are mildly safe (or safer, depends how bad the wound is overall). You will have an extremely hard time destroying an entire village with just your fists, and forget about wrestling bears. You need different tools to keep yourself healthy, be it after battle, or during the night. You have to build a shelter and fire to keep yourself dry and warm. Hunt, grow, fish or trade for (quality) food. It sounds simple, but once you start playing the game you realise it is not.
Space Station 13 will be a Love-Hate relationship with a lot of people. The graphics and controls are difficult, there are a lot of trolls and really nasty people determined to ruin your day. I did stumble on some servers that shocked me with their innovation, and this time around I am thinking about the Apollo Server (EDIT: TG-Station Servers as well). What made the Apollo Server stand out is its Health system. Your body is divided into sections (hands, arms, head, eyes, mouth, chest, abdomen, legs and feet), and you have three different “damage” types (Brute, Burn and Toxins). This is what is available on any Space Station 13 server. You can beat a man over the head, thus causing him Brute Damage (and making him pass out) . When somebody walks through radiation they will suffer random genetic mutations (99% of them being very bad). You can suffocate, from lack of oxygen, or be incinerated when somebody sets the station alight. Wonderful, no? Apollo went a leap further to make your experience even more dramatic. Limbs can be lost, you can bleed out, your eyes can be poked out, sudden changed in room pressure can suck you out into space, or make you smash into objects. Of course, just like on any Space Station 13 server you could clone somebody who is deceased, but during my playthroughs I had some very dramatic situations. One time just as I entered the server I found myself stuck in Arrivals with another fellow. We decided to open up the Emergency Airlock that was blocking our way deeper into the station. The radios did not work so we really did not know what to expect. He decided to use a Crowbar he found and as he opened the airlock the pressure change was so much that both of his arms were ripped off, at the same time. Incidentally I was a Medical Doctor, but getting a man with heavy blood loss, through a station filled with vacuum, without working Radios would be a bit of a challenge. Another time (once again, playing a Doctor) I was sitting in the Reception, drinking some coffee (RP Server, go figure) when suddenly Security rushes in with a crew member who was a victim of a psychotic attack that resulted in him losing all of his limbs. Since it’s the future we made him some fancy mechanical prosthetics, but that does not change the fact just how dramatic things can be, when you play as a Doctor. This translates into other areas, such as firefights when your face could melt off from lasers, or close combat, where your arm, leg or ribs could be broken, making you suffer extreme pain, and thus unable to act properly. Even your mechanical limbs if exposed to EMP explosions might malfunction and explode. I do not know if the Server still uses such a health system, but it was one of the most intriguing ones available.
Dwarf Fortress is also one of the best Health systems I have found. I mean, your dwarves can die from an infection to their pinkie toe… That might be going a bit far, but there are other cases when the Health System is not as abstract. Your Dwarves may be impaled, chopped to pieces, trampled, kicked, punched… well, just like in the case of Unreal World and Space Station 13 a lot of things can happen to them. One of my somewhat morbid hobbies was to look, post battle, at what wounds my Dwarves sustained and how they were later treated by my Medical Personnel. I would trace down the causes of different wounds, and how the Dwarf continued to fight despite them. One such example was my Commander of the Guard who got impaled by a Minotaur but continued to fight. Another time, during a heated battle against goblins one of my Dwarfs lost his arm, yet he continued to use his shield as a weapon. Or how a Marksdwarf would fire a bolt in such a flawless manner that it would kill a Giant with a single headshot. Of course, there were the post-battle problems. Keeping a Dwarf alive with numerous injuries, or letting him eventually return to service was a huge challenge. The sturdiness of the Dwarves always impressed me. They would often continue fighting even when they would have spinal damage, or suffered heavy blood loss. In turn when you play with other races the situation changes somewhat. Humans are much less tough, as are goblins. I would also keep my fingers crossed for the wounded Dwarves, that they would eventually recover fully. Some of the most heroic Dwarves were those who suffered grievous wounds, time and time again, staring death in the eyes yet returning the next year. And for those who did not make it I would always have an impressive “Hall of the Elders” where they would be buried and their achievements noted down.
I recently wrote a short list of Mods for Mount and Blade: Warband, and now I desire to do the same for Mount and Blade. The difference between the two games is that Warband has Multiplayer while the first Mount and Blade will offer only a core Single-player experience. It will not be a bad one, trust me. I have found a lot of Mods for the first Mount and Blade that I enjoy returning to, because of how detailed and feature rich some of them are. I did not play every single Mod out there, so this is my personal list of favorites. You can search for more Mods on ModDB and on TaleWorlds where all the Mods are still stored and available for use. If you are looking for Mods to Mount and Blade: Warband we have a list for that as well!
Five Mods for Mount and Blade
I like playing as the bad guys. Being a Bad Guy can be either incredibly entertaining/rewarding, or a cliche. In the case of Solid and Shade it is a bit of both, but in an interesting way. Solid and Shade is a Mod for the “Vanilla” Mount and Blade map. It adds a few more locations, more NPCs, more items, but most importantly it adds “Necromancy”. If you choose to begin the game as a Necromancy Apprentice you will be given the Necronomicon. Your quest for power begins by finding a way of learning to read this magical tome… and once you are successful you can unleash hell on earth.
What sets this Mod apart is that you are not restricted to going from Village to Village and collecting Mercenaries. At a very early stage you can create cheap undead puppets that you will use to capture prisoners. These will be then sacrificed for much needed organs for your dark rituals, or you may choose to use their bodies as crafting material for zombies. Your undead progress as any ordinary unit in Mount and Blade does. You will start with a zombie, then Revenant (ranged combat), Horror (Cavalry) and eventually you get the Abomination (Berserker with two meat cleavers). If you get bored of your undead horde you may choose to enhance them in different ways. You could burn away their flesh making them quicker, or embalm them in order to increase their durability. As you travel through the world you will be able to gather resources to create dark artifacts to aid you in your quest for power. You may choose to speak with your Dark God and trade some of your artifacts for more powerful artifacts, to improve your battlefield prowess further. Then there are the NPCs, with different background stories, strengths and weaknesses. Some of them are extremely difficult to find, others are much easier to obtain. You can decide to become a vampire or werewolf, fight other Dark Lords… the game becomes tougher as you yourself expand. There is a problem however. There are no additional “Management” options, once you start forming an empire. I was stuck with a City and a few castles, with no way to keep them all in good shape, especially when all the other nations tried to defeat me. Another problem is that the Undead/Summoned Units are ridiculously powerful. An Abomination will be near impossible to kill by even the most Elite “Human” troops.
All in all though, if you want to play a bit on the darker side, Solid and Shade is your choice.
This Mod makes me think of Brytenwalda. They are both equally complex, although Sword of Damocles is focused around you being a Ruler. You have plenty of ways to control your nation, and as you conquer cities, or gain land from one of the Calradian Kings you may choose to send your most devoted warriors to your Homeland and recover the old Relics of Power. See, the story behind the game is that your old Homeland was conquered and you are one of the few survivors to make it out alive. Now you have to recover what little dignity is still left in this new land, how you achieve that is up to you.
I will not lie, the Mod is wonderful, and since I last played I see that much more was added, so the Mod is still being modified and things are being added to it. As a Ruler you have Diplomacy, you can enact Edicts, change Laws, Tax specific layers of Society, expand your Fiefs, Castles and Cities in ways you could not before. This is a Mod about being King, and if that is not to you liking then you will have to find something different. It is well worth a shot if you want to rule, there is no other Mod like it.
For all the Warhammer fans out there we have Warsword. This Mod allows you to play as a member of any one of the races in the Warhammer universe, including the Lizardmen, Chaos, Skaven, Goblins/Orks and Dwarves. The map is vast, and while certain races have benefits in location (Skaven are all over the place) each one has their own unique style, units, strengths and weaknesses (just like in Warhammer). The Modelling is not perfect, but that is a limitation of Mount and Blade, not the Mod itself. While you have a lot of combat going on Magic is non-existent, which is a real shame. You cannot gather Chaos Sorcerers to summon Demons to your World, or hire a Fire Wizard to help your Empire army.
The Mod did not seem to get any new activity, and I feel many more features could be added, but it is still a Mod where you can have some fun. You should pay careful attention to installing this Mod. Small changes have to be made to the Core Game in order to allow the smaller Races (Dwarves, Skaven, Skinks, Goblins) to work correctly. Otherwise neither your units nor you will be able to hit them at all.
We had Dark Fantasy, a Medieval Setting and Warhammer. What is next? The Wild West. The 1866 Mod takes Calradia and changes everything about it. You have your gun fights, you can hunt Bisons (or other animals), join one of the armies, become a Vigilante… do anything you ever wanted to do, in the Wild West. In that sense you can get to be one of a number of things, and due to the setting you will not feel like a “Ruler”, you are just a Cowboy after all. It is a very interesting experience with a lot of work having been put into new clothing, weapon mechanics, battle areas and the game mechanics in general.
I never got far in this Mod, not because I did not like it, but because I was playing Sword of Damocles at the same time, and between the two I preferred to be a Ruler, rather than a lone rider. Give it a try, you will not regret it.
This is a very intriguing Mod. Imagine a World without cities, without nations, just an empty space. This is your chance to start your own Empire from the bottom up. You start up a small settlement, train your people to act as defenders, form an army and march against the bandits or other nations. As time passes you will be able to improve your settlement, turn it from a small fief into a vast city. You can use Prisoners to act as forced labor (which can revolt, unless you have enough guards) and random heroes will settle down in your area, bringing more prisoners and offering general security from the bandits that might try to invade you. Building not so much your thing? You can raid and attack others, form your own Bandit faction and prey on the poor.
In case you are bored of waiting you can activate cheats to give yourself massive amounts of gold and resources to speed up all the production and allow you to simply enjoy the game. A lot of the settlement spots are “empty” and faulty, but you can edit them yourself, deciding how will the city change as it expands, where will the enemy spawn, etc. It’s a lot of fun, especially if you want to have an experience en par of “Civilization”, but set in Mount and Blade.
Surprisingly enough there are still a lot more Mods for Mount and Blade, a lot of them still active or part-active. You can find a fuller list of these Mods on ModDB as well as on the TaleWorlds Forums. Unlike in the case of Warband a lot of them will work with the newest version of Mount and Blade, so you do not have to be worried about down-grading your game just to run one of these Mods.
Alex “WriterX” Bielski
The roles of females in our culture, specifically in video games, has long been discussed and debated. There’s no denying the fact that Princess Peach sat up in a tower on her lonesome much like Helen of Troy, passing the time until a certain plumber would come to make a daring rescue.
I could count the numerous feminine characters who’ve been portrayed to be helpless, weak, merely a hazy silhouette stewing in the shadows of a shining male protagonist, though this article isn’t a rant about feminism more than it is an exposition, just some ramblings upon a subject others might rather push aside instead of pick apart. Strong women resonate deeply within gaming’s picturesque lineage, that’s not the point – where does this desire to save a victim stem from? Sure, it’s nice to parade around slicing and dicing as the ravishing Lara Croft…. the problem lies in the fact that this doesn’t always compare to the full-bodied thrill of unchaining your companion and exhuming him or her out of a dingy prison cell.
And what about the lovely painted and decorated men who save these women? I think I can vouch for the collective whole of our society when I say how much people adore not only heroic characters, but drool over the idea of a superhero. Good looks, amazing abilities, indisputable vitality and stamina, these are the fictional gods that conduct our universe. What’s curious is how, even if we step back in history, maybe to Ancient Greece or Rome, the notion of heroes and damsels still conjured much affection in the populous, mere mortals in awe of Hercules, Persues, and, but of course, Achilles.
Is there something biological that draws us to this complex, a carnal chromosome woven into our DNA, or do we just enjoy watching a normal human suddenly find themselves shoulders-deep in power and immortality? It’s a very interesting theme, one clearly visible in some of the most popular IPs of the generation.
Bioshock gave us the remarkable opportunity to explore Rapture and the possibilities of either becoming a hero or a villain through various plot-driven choices; Infamous put us in the shoes of Cole MacGrath, a man who valiantly saved Empire City in some playthroughs, while in others, did not; finally, we come to Corvo Attano, a bodyguard turned juggernaut caught between a lethal or stealth-driven journey through Dunwall. Although each of these entries are different in a number of ways, they all meander back to one common thread: morality. Do I take the life of this Little Sister to make myself stronger? Do I forgo the shadows to massacre everyone in my path?
Heroes, damsels, and morality are like scalding tea, tar, and feathers from revolutionary times; even if you have one, it’s just not the same without the other two.
I implore you to post any comments, concerns, thoughts, and questions down below in the comment section. Mostly importantly, have an oh-so-Happy Easter!
There are countless great Mount and Blade: Warband Mods. Some of the best ones are total conversion Mods but some only add specific items or functions to the core game, allowing for a deeper experience, and countless hour of fun, depending on the type of Mode you chose. While this list is based around Mods that I personally tried and enjoyed there are many more out there that can be found on the TaleWorlds forums. Trust me, each of them is worthwhile to try, at least once. Some of the Mods will be associated with different Franchises, others will be focused on a specific time period, and some introduce their own world (or a version of the original). If you are after a list of Mods for the first Mount and Blade we have one now!
One last disclaimer. Most of these Mods are focused on a Single-player experience. I simply prefer Empire building to intense short field battles!
Five Mount and Blade: Warband Mods
This is one of the most popular Mount and Blade: Warband Mods. The reason is very simple, it is so huge and complex it deserves such praise. At the same time it is an EXTREMELY demanding experience, but unlike in any other Mod that I played you can focus on being a Warrior, rather than start off as a group leader. Brytenwalda is set in Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire. The land is filled with countless tribes and kingdoms, each one with a slightly different origin or faith. Your character creation alone allows you to really customize your character, including his size which greatly influences your battle efficiency.
Let me tell you what I usually do, so that you get an idea of what the game is about. I tend to create a character who already has some battle experience and I join a Lord’s army. There I help my Lord win battles, progress through the army’s ranks and gain fame, wealth and on some rare occasions even followers. That is the part that I enjoy so much. You might be a run away slave joining an Army, only to leave it as a Heavy Cavalry Warrior, with enough money to fund your army and smash away your enemies. Some areas where you begin at are extremely unforgiving. Bandit groups are big, meaning that unless you can match them in numbers it will be very difficult to win. After a certain stage however things smoothen out. You just need the patience, devotion and no-risk taking.
Let us mention briefly the combat. Fighting battles is very interesting, since as a warrior you can join the vast formation of warriors or archers, or instead to ride around the enemy, picking off stranglers. You yourself are capable of forming your squads into formations and then sending them against the enemy. Sadly the AI often behaves in strange ways, and while two blocks of infantry might fight each other there will be archers on the sides peppering down at them. In other words, archers have a free for all, as long as their side is not losing. On another note a very interesting yet demanding addition is the wound system. During a battle you may suffer a wound that temporarily lowers one of your stats. On top of that a sufficiently big wound sustained during a battle can lead to bleeding, so unless the battle is quickly concluded you may bleed out during the battle. You may use your shield to bash the enemy, and your size influences how easily you stumble back when moving backward, but you get a strength bonus the higher you are. Of course what you want to do is to attack the enemy from behind, since that gives you the best attack bonus. There is more, especially the Sieges that are very difficult to win, but still add something fresh and new to the game.
Brytenwalda is a demanding mod, in terms of Hardware, more so than Mount and Blade: Warband. Make sure your computer can run it or you might be very angry very quickly.
Set in the “Game of Thrones” universe you are pitted into this strange and intriguing world of “almost Fantasy”. Now, forgive me any Heresy as I do not know the Franchise at all, and I did not read any of the books, so if I get something wrong let me know. What I found fun about this Mod is the vast new world, more interesting armies and very interesting initial character creation. All the cities have been customized and re-worked, creating a great experience whether you decide to wage battles or act as a trader. Because it is still in development bugs are present. On one occasion I swam an entire Ocean to deliver some Ale only to find the Bartender was gone (this was not associated with the time of day).
The bandits are varied, and while you might have your small confident force against smaller groups you might end up stumbling upon HUGE bandit groups, which are, in essence, groups of hostile Tribesmen that harass everybody. Even Lords with proper armies flee from these chaps, so you can imagine just how bad they are for an upstart Lord or Mercenary. The Tournaments have also been reworked, and instead of just an elimination match you gather points in each battle round. These points are collected up to the final fight and the Top 3 get money and other rare prizes. The Tournaments become ridiculously hard however. If you are not a Legendary Warrior when you enter the Tournament then you will most likely get squashed like a bug. Trust me, it’s very, very bad.
Some things, I feel, are still missing. Faith does not play any role (something that is present in Brytenwalda) and some “Starting” options do not work as intended (you always start in scruffy clothing and weapons, except for the “Holy Choices” where you get a high quality suit of armor… but no good boots, helm or weapons). It is a Mod worth taking a look into, especially if you like the Game of Thrones. Remember, it is currently in Open Beta, so if something is missing or buggy it’s to be expected.
This Mod reminds me of Mount and Musket with a Single-player setting. It’s essentially the core game revamped, offering you a chance to use an army of Muskets rather than sword, lances and bows. Other than that one change the game is very similar. Some locations were revamped and because the game is still in development there are a lot of bugs, in my opinion at least. For example, the starting Quest Area and the Tournament Areas lack any structures (maybe I just did not patch it correctly). In Stores I could not find any Modern equipment (although I could obtain it through battles). Lastly, the starting equipment was still from the core Mount and Blade game, but getting a musket, sabre and a uniform was quick and easy. Each nation has slightly differently looking troops, associated with their nation’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s an interesting addition, so if you are into Napoleonic style warfare this might be the Mod for you. Speaking of which.
Edit: As I was wrapping up this article it turned out a new stable version of this Mod was released (v. 1.2), where a lot of the bugs were apparently fixed. You can download it here.
Mount and Musket is a Multiplayer Mod set in the Napoleonic Era. You have different nations, formations, costumes and battle sizes. You might be fighting in dense woodland or in vast open fields. The one thing that sets Mount and Musket apart is the activity of the different Battalions. You can join Clans to take part in much bigger land battles where lines of infantry, Cavalry and Artillery duke it out in the open field. I took part in these and it was an incredible experience, granted you have to listen to orders and learn discipline, as well as all the tricks surrounding close combat. It is very easy to die early on, leaving you in Spectator Mode for the rest of the battle. However, you could just buy Mount and Blade: Napoleonic Wars which was created by the Mount and Musket Team but acts as a “Full Mod” (like With Fire and Sword) with better optimized features. You have Musicians, Officers and Banner Bearers, all of which have a certain influence over reload speeds or accuracy (if memory serves right).
If you are into Napoleonic style Multiplayer battles, whether in clans or not, then Mount and Musket or Napoleonic Wars will be perfect for you.
Set in Europe this Mod has a number of new features, but let me tell you which of the early ones appealed to me the most. As a young lord (it is fun to start as Nobility in this Mod) you do not recruit an army from your villages. Instead you raise Levys. Depending on the wealth of the village you will raise a certain Levy, made up of Poor to Average Troops. You can invest your coin into Retainers who are far better troops but also far more expensive. This one element changed Mount and Blade for me. It was no longer about being a Mercenary and gathering random villagers. You were a Lord and when war came you told your peasants to gather and head with you to war. You have Crusades and more options as you become a more powerful Lord, but that is the gist of it. In Brytenwalda you can choose to be a number of different things. In Blue Blood you are best off being a Lord, for one of the many European nations. It is not a bad life, but a very restricted one.
Hungry for more?
There are a lot of other Mods, and to be honest you should check both ModDB and the TaleWorlds forums for all the discussion surrounding them, but if you want specific ones I can recommend a few more additions. The Diplomacy Mod is often implemented into others Mods, but if you want to play the Core Mount and Blade with a few more features then this will be your thing. The Floris Mod adds a lot of color to your game and I was personally looking forward to trying Romae Bellum, seeing how Total War: Rome 2 is on the horizon. I am compiling a list of my favorite Mods for Mount and Blade (the first one) so expect to see a few more titles in the future, in a separate list. There are some extremely good Mods here so it might even become worthwhile for you to buy the first Mount and Blade to try them out.
Alex “WriterX” Bielski
I got lazy. This observation came from how I played my Strategy games. I got used to quick and easy victories, where a single decisive attack turns the tide of a war and finishes the campaign before Christmas. For a very long time the concept of Logistics evaded me, not because I was not familiar with it, but because it is not that visible, obvious or perhaps not even used in many games. In my case it appeared again during my Shogun 2: Fall of the Samurai campaign game. I was playing as the Tosa, and after many preparations, mainly focused around turning my small economy into a powerhouse, I formed the best army I could and I deployed it on the Japanese mainland, ready to defeat the Shogunate loyalists. Everything was going well. Cities fell with ease, the enemy armies were crushed before me. After some time I reinforced my first army with two more, and my land-based domination was undisputed. Then I got a mildly rough awakening. When my Clan acted as the Emperor’s Vanguard, and the Shogun formed their own, my Armies were engaged into much tougher full-scale warfare. During one such battle one of my more recent armies fought desperately against three other armies. The battle was won, with much stress and worry and then I realized a problem this army faced, it lost one of its Cannon battalions. Normally that would not be a problem. You can recruit cannons anywhere you like, as long as there is an artillery range. That was the problem. My home-area of Tosa was beyond the sea. On the Japanese mainland the provinces that were under my control were behind a thick line of Allied provinces. In some of these areas there wasn’t an operational Railway line or structures allowing me to recruit artillery. In other words, gaining back that one unit would take me an extremely long time.