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    Old 10-25-2011, 08:34 AM
    Cirius Cirius is offline
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    Default Week 29: Mount and Blade: Warband

    Ok, I got bored of waiting. So it's week 29!

    I got married last week.

    After several months of wooing and a cart-load of dowry gold, the girl’s old man finally consented to permitting me his daughter’s hand in marriage. As a wedding gift, the king granted me leadership of his armies and a considerable wage, asking only that I continue my fight against the treacherous Swadians.

    Within a week, my army was gone. I’d dashed them to pieces against the defences of Shariz, leaving our kingdom without defence. The king had revoked my position as lord of his armies and installed his favourite, a big-moustached ponce I’d duelled in the past and who, as a result, was not particularly on the friendliest of terms with me. All in all, a busy week in Mount and Blade Warband.

    TaleWorld Games first began the Mount and Blade series back in 2008. Graphically basic, it was the innovative melee combat system that drew players to its banner. Unlike the majority of contemporary fantasies, swordplay was not limited to bashing the attack button. Instead, players have full control over the direction of their swing, choosing between overhead strikes, horizontal sweeps and stabs to best their opponent. Similarly, blocking is not automatic, but players must raise their shield to deflect in the direction of incoming swings. Combat in Mount and Blade requires finesse and skill, or at the very least stabbing someone in the back while they’re looking the other way. But most of all, you can do it from the back of a horse.

    No. I have no idea who is winning either.

    Few games capture the real essence of the chaos of a medieval battlefield, but Mound and Blade does exactly that. Swords clash with a tumultuous racket, and the arrows constantly peppering the field mean instant death is a constant threat. Add to that the dozens of men on horseback circling the battlefield, and you’ll have a rough idea of the utter chaos that is Mount and Blade.

    Whilst there are games that have a real excitement in making a perfect headshot, it is all the more thrilling to watch your arrow arc perfectly across the battlefield and strike home in a foe, knowing that it was your skill in calculating the trajectory that made it possible. I have often found myself in tense stand-offs with enemy archers, both of us attempting to out-think one another in predicting just where the other will pop up next.

    Oh, it was us apparently. Hoozah!

    Multiplayer is an interesting environment. New players will often gravitate towards the archer class as it is more familiar to those versed in first-person shooter mechanics, and easier to score cheap kills. As a result, the battlefields are often littered with inexperienced archers. This is however not a detriment to the experience; their mere presence fills the battlefield with life, introducing a tension to siege warfare where you cannot predict whether the archer drawing a bead on you is a mere novice, or a master at his class.

    The more experienced soldiers who have many hours under their belt will soon begin to specialise in their own close combat styles. The sheer number of lightly armoured archers in play mean that a skilled close combat player will be able to slice a trail of devastation through their ranks, presumably laughing maniacally whilst he does it.

    The singleplayer is a radically different experience. On a huge overworld map, politics and intrigue combine in a Machiavellian fight for the throne of Caldaria. Your part in this world is completely down to you. Do you join one side or another in an attempt to swing the balance in favour of one of the competing cultures, do you play bandit and loot the various caravans that trundle across the landscape, or do you forget about it all and fight in the arena for scraps? On the battlefield however, the knowledge that the outcome of the fight may impact the thrust of the war itself brings a tension to proceedings.

    This guy doesn't like me. I think he just wants his arrows back.

    I have joined the helplessly outnumbered defenders against sieges worthy of Helm’s Deep, knowing victory is an impossibility. I have leapt a line of infantry on horseback and driven my sword into their commanders back. I have loosed an arrow into the eye of a heavily armoured cavalryman mere seconds before he charged me down. You can keep your Call Of Duty, I’m having far more fun poking people in the eye with a pointed stick.

    Whilst Mount and Blade, Fire and Sword has recently been released to mixed reception, Warband remains the firm favourite of players and modders alike. The modding community has developed a plethora of exciting variations on the medieval theme. My personal favourite is a Napoleonic mod that drops you into the midst of riflemen and musket bearing infantry. Cowboys and indians, samurai, even fantasy have had similar treatments by a knowledgeable community.

    Inevitably, Mount and Blade dwells in a niche market. It will never achieve millions of fans worldwide, nor will it make the Turkish Taleworld Games the most successful developer on the planet. But what it is, is unique. If every shooter clone on the market was as fresh and as innovative as Mount and Blade, there would be a lot of happy gamers out there.

    (Written for Contains Moderate Peril 25-10-11)

    Thought it was about time we started this Game Club up again, so took the initiative.

    Mount and Blade is awesome, but it's not everyone's cup of tea. £19.99 on Steam is quite a price to drop on a game you might not enjoy, but amazingly, a very generous demo is available that allows you to play the single player to level 7. If you've never tried it, seriously, give it a go. You'll be hooked within an hour or so.
    Currently a contributing writer for Contains Moderate Peril & The Reticule
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    Old 10-25-2011, 08:01 PM
    DuddBudda DuddBudda is offline
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    Default A Story from the TaleWorld, Part One


    [CENTER]I am Hosea, Son of None, Lord of Reyvachig

    I shall not see the next summer

    Not two full years ago I landed at Praven, capital of Swadia, dreaming only of fortune in a land that knew not the stains of my father's name.
    Despite the stigma, I bore the ensign of my father's house still, for it is written we ought 'set forward, every one after their families, according to the house of their fathers'

    I rallied a handful of peasant men beneath this old herald; strong, farm working boys. Boys with no name and no future but poverty beneath our feudal code.
    I promised them feed each night, and if they could cut with their sword I could make them Knights perhaps - a Noble with no name, property or family, such as I was, can proffer such lies in honesty; if he can make Lord again then a peasant can make Knight.

    We had no purpose, but our own keep, no master bu the needs of our bellies. This gave our legs a purpose and a speed, and we caught and vanquished many wily bandits that plagued the plains of Swadia. It was a knack, though necessary, and as peacekeepers we earned notice.
    And so I found employ with one Count Delinard, sworn liege of King Harlaus of Swadia, a man on the up.
    He tasked me to track down and eradicate the nests of these vicious opportunists, and for such weight of coin as he paid me I was sold.

    Returning from our fifth such raid my party, now perhaps two score of crossbow and mounted men - Swadians all - and the handful of companions who had followed me after a drink, found Delinard encamped beneath the walls of Veluca, a beautiful city in the glacial valley to the north of the Rhodok country.
    The Swadians were taking the fight to these mountainous people and their footslogging armies had been unstoppable before the mighty mounted armies from the plains.
    Two Rhodoks castles on the border had already fallen to the aggressors, their armies brushed aside on the open field, and now Veluca's garrison was outnumbered ten to one.

    King Harlaus was there with his great host, Delinard's counsel earned me an audience with this conqueror and further a commission. I was now a salaried general for this King.
    My first responsibility was to lead my men during the assault on Veluca. I myself slew near a dozen men and was among the handful who took the keep. Delinard was awarded Veluca, and I knew then I must stay closer to him

    Jelkala fell barely a fortnight later, and with the Rhodok's shuttered up in their mountain strongholds and cowering in their capital city on the coast the Swadian storm broke: King Harlaus had made peace.

    Harlaus was now the most powerful nation on the continent; twice the land and income of any other king, not to mention the experience of his Knights and soldiers.

    In his opulence and largesse, Harlaus gave me an audience, offering the fiefdom Ehlerdah for my solemn vow to be his servant. Before the greatest King in the land I was humbled, kissing his feet as I thanked him.

    Perhaps it was then, as his blessings were favoured or unfound, that the jealousies began to fester? Perhaps I was so blinded by their accomplishments I could not see the truth of the men that had performed them. Perhaps Swadia had gotten too big for it's hoofs.

    Holy Cow - Warren Spector
    Life is too fucking short to hear or play Freebird - Isaac Brock
    I hope I see you later, where everybody's okay - Randy Brewer

    Last edited by DuddBudda; 10-25-2011 at 08:03 PM.
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    Old 10-28-2011, 12:33 PM
    Freddie Freddie is offline
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    This is a game I'd love to get into one day when I run into a gaming drought.

    I've played the demo's tutorial and skirmish battles; good fun and no other game like it really.
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    Old 11-03-2011, 08:00 PM
    Daniel Daniel is offline
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    Tis another game I really want to play but I have such a backlog of games to play it isn't even funny.
    “There has seldom if ever been a shortage of eager young males prepared to kill and die to preserve the security, comfort and prejudices of their elders, and what you call heroism is just an expression of this simple fact; there is never a scarcity of idiots.” - Ian Banks
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    Old 11-29-2012, 09:39 PM
    TheXand TheXand is offline
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    I would like to see more
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