Mount and Blade: Warband – Five Mods You Should Try
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