Mount & Blade Warband is not a beautiful game. Its graphicsability is low. It is, to borrow from the teachings of Daphne & Celeste, without an alibi. On the plus side, it can run on pretty much any recent system without dropping to a single-digit FPS, or refusing to load faces. So, you know, there's that.
Despite its looks, it's an absolutely brilliant RPG-cum-strategy—filled with a multitude of freeform, sandbox options. And now it's getting a Viking expansion, courtesy of the creators of the popular Brytenwalda mod.
Here, then, is a new trailer for that expansion, which is due out "soon". Check that sweet boat tech!
Oct 16, 2014
Nope, don't worry, you haven't slipped back through a time portal to four years ago. Or, at least, if you have, it isn't because of this news. The 2010 strategy RPG Mount & Blade: Warband is getting another DLC expansion. Viking Conquest is set around Britain, Norway and Denmark, and features a single-player storyline, the traditional sandbox mode and new multiplayer game types.
If you're worried that this will further extend the agonising wait until the release of Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlords, rest easy. The DLC is being tackled by the makers of M&B: Warband's superb Brytenwalda mod—leaving TaleWorlds to continue working away at the sequel.
The expansion will be releasing into early access "soon". There's little in the way of additional details, but you can see some seafaring screenshots below.
Mount and Blade 2 was announced way back in 2012, and since then developers TaleWorlds have been quieter than a medieval village hoping to escape the attention of a meddling local lord. We've had a few screenshots and devblogs since then, but here's some lovely video of the RPG/strategy/medieval battling game, showing the environments and powerful editing tools, and abusing the instrument known as the pan pipe.
Now that is one impressive editor, letting players adjust the terrain, weather, textures and scripting when creating their own environments for mods. I can see why Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlords is taking TaleWorlds so long: technically, they seem to have come on leaps and bounds since With Fire and Sword, their last Mount and Blade game.
A previous devblog explored Bannerlords' factions, revealing that they're "now divided into clans, who have their own priorities and rivalries. Lords' personalities have more variety. One new feature that we hope will add a lot of color is minor factions: outlaws and mercenaries based on historical or legendary bands like the Jomsvikings or the Fianna of Ireland. But the outer kingdoms the ones whom imperial citizens would call 'barbarians' should still retain that sandbox feel".
Back in May, TaleWorlds detailed their new facial animation system, which you can read about here.
Jul 30, 2014
Jul 11, 2014
Hold position troops! Before you go charging towards Mount and Blade: Warband's Steam page, at least finish this paragraph. The mostly excellent, somewhat rough-around-the-edges RPG is now free to try until Sunday, 1pm PDT. And for those intent on conquering its brand of questing, troop-management and tactical battling, the game is 75% off until Monday.
In addition, the game now offers Steam Workshop support hopefully meaning its wealth of great mods will soon be available for easier install. It's still early days, though, so for now we'll have to settle for ponies.
Warband is arguably the best of the Mount & Blade series so far. It's much improved over the original game, and also purer and less problematic than the With Fire and Sword semi-sequel. If you've not tried the series before, this really is the best place to jump on board.
Okay, all done. Now go pillage, brave warriors.
Jun 20, 2014
After a good start yesterday, day two of Steam s dozen-day Summer Sale isn t necessarily obliterating our minds with savings, but there s still some great values available today or through shorter-term flash sales. Within, find our picks for the best current deals on Steam. Don t forget that GOG is having a summer sale of its own, too.
Reminder: if a game isn't a daily deal or a flash sale, it could pop up later in the sale for an even lower price. If you want to be safe, wait until June 30 to pick up a sale-long deal.
5 - Ikaruga
50% off: $4.99 / 3.49 Steam store page | Note: May be reduced further in a Flash sale
50% may not be a huge discount, but one of the best SHMUPS of all time is worth every penny. Unlike most bullet hell shooters, Ikaruga's polarity-switching gameplay gives you the power to absorb some bullets while dodging others. At first, switching from white to black and back to stay alive just seems cool. Once you discover how the polarity system plays into scoring, you realize how deep and intimidating and brilliant it really is. Ikaruga's developer Treasure has been mostly dormant for the past few years, and this is their first-ever port to the PC. Back in January, the developer said it was mulling a new game for Steam. The more successful Ikaruga is on PC, the more likely that is to happen.
4 - Amnesia Collection
80% off: $6.99 / 4.79 - Steam store page
The Dark Descent and A Machine for Pigs, conveniently bundled into one cheap night terror. We loved both of them. Unlike horror games which arm you with evil-defeating ghost bullets, Amnesia is about being hunted: running, hiding, being disgustingly terrified by a sound effect. What Amnesia gets more than other survival horror games is that the things you can imagine are far more horrifying than anything it can show you on the screen. Even so, it ll show you some damn nasty stuff.
2 - The Walking Dead: Season 2
50% off: $12.49 / 9.49 - Steam store page
Putting players into Clementine's tiny shoes in season two of The Walking Dead was a gamble. In the first season, Lee was a grown-up, with the strength to fight walkers and the authority to make big decisions. How would that translate to playing a young girl? While episode one was a step down in quality, episode two was one of the best episodes Telltale has ever created. It proved that players can still make tough decisions as Clementine, and the season has mostly made her a believable protagonist. She can seem a little too grown up now and then, but the season is both gripping and heartbreaking so far. $2.50 per episode is a fantastic price.
2 - Prison Architect
66% off: $10.19 / 6.79 - Steam store page
Introversion s security sim is an interesting confluence of capitalism, architecture, management, and morality. The theme puts multiple, often contradicting goals before you: prisoner safety, spatial efficiency, prisoner well-being, making a profit, and making sure your prison is totally secure. Building a space that supports these goals is a fascinating exercise.
1 - Mount & Blade Collection
80% off: $6.99 / 4.99 - Steam store page | Flash sale: Buy it before 8 p.m. EST
It won t make your GPU sweat, but Taleworlds medieval sandbox action-RPG is one of our favorite open-ended experiences on PC. M&B s go anywhere, pillage anything approach to the genre is unlike anything else: a dynamic world populated by dozens of lords and dukes serving multiple factions, each roaming the same massive medieval landscape as you. Steal from farmers. Get married. Siege a castle. The combat is clumsy at times, but we love loosing arrows packs of bandits. Warband is what you should play, but this collection is a ticket to the ridiculous Star Wars Conquest mod for the original Mount & Blade.
Other great deals today
Remember that games not categorized as Daily Deals or Flash Sales may be reduced further.
Retro/Grade (90% off) $0.99 / 0.69
Deponia (90% off) $1.99 / 1.59
L.A. Noire: The Complete Edition (75% off) $7.49 / 6.24
Cloudbuilt (75% off) $4.99 / 3.74
Euro Truck Simulator 2 Collector's Bundle (75% off) $9.99 / 7.49
Defense Grid: The Awakening (75% off) $2.49 / 1.74
Devil May Cry 4 (75% off) $4.99 / 3.49
Unity of Command Trilogy Bundle (70% off) $8.99 / 6.89
Bit.Trip.Runner Franchise Pack (65% off) $5.94 / 4.54
Don't Starve + Reign of Giants DLC (60% off) $7.59 / 5.59
Years in the making, Warsword Conquest is finally playable in beta: a full conversion mod for Mount and Blade: Warband that transforms the game into a world based on Warhammer fantasy. There are thirteen different factions to join, including the rat-like Skaven, the scaly Lizardmen, Chaos, pirates, and of course, dwarves, elves, and orcs. But screw all of those, because you can play as a skeleton. Don't you want to play as a skeleton? I'm gonna play as a skeleton.
Yep, you can even customize your skullface (a bit).
With so many factions and races from Warhammer Fantasy in the mod, I'd rather not pledge my allegiance to a single one and miss out on seeing most of the others. I decide to play as a freelance skeleton, lending my services here and there but not getting too attached to anyone in particular. I begin by joining up with the goblins of The Badlands. They're so short that when I speak to them their heads are barely visible in the conversation window. However, they're happy to hire an inexperienced skeleton (named Murray, of course) into their ranks. It's awesome to run into battle alongside trolls and spider-riding goblins, and we make a mess out of several groups of dwarves we run into.
Spiders, trolls, and dwarves oh my (lord it's a huge bloody mess)
I eventually decide to retire from the goblin army (my commander is very understanding) and visit my homeland, the Tomb Kings Empire. High King Settra is happy to employ me, and while I'm not at all xenophobic, it is rather nice to be surrounded by my fellow undead, and particularly nice to be given armor and weapons suitable for my flesh-free body (the goblin gear didn't work for my bony bod). Also cool: when we go to battle, our cavalry rides skeletal horses and giant undead snakes.
The creaking of bones is like music to my ears. Well, ear-holes.
As much as I love going to war alongside my skeletal brethren, I eventually decide to move on (once I can afford my own necroserpent to ride), so I recruit a small force of skeletons from the local taverns (why do skeletons hang out in taverns?) and we move through the Pirate Kingdom and head into elf country. Along the way I stop in various towns and taverns, and soon I've got a motley crew of followers, including a couple of swabbies, a half-dozen men from the Alcatani Fellowship, and even a few Skaven slaves.
My posse is gettin' weird, and that's just how I like it.
Of course, no matter how much progress you make in a Mount & Blade game, it can all be suddenly and horribly lost, such as when my weirdly fearsome crew runs into something just plain fearsome: some Norse raiders. It's not that a bunch of bearded jerks are so imposing, it's just that this crew has some hired ogres on their side, and the massive, hammer-wielding merc-monsters wade through my ranks, clubbing us all into bonemeal. I didn't even know you could hire ogres. I'm definitely going to need to hire some ogres.
Oh, elves. You're just all so... grand.
I need cash to hire a new crew, so I throw in with an Elven army for a bit. Normally, I find elves a bit snooty, but I have to admit, charging into battle alongside them, with their gleaming armor and white horses and colorful banners... okay, I get why elves are so revered. Also, props to them for letting a skeleton join them, no questions asked. Not a lot of elves would do that.
Eventually, I make enough cash to head out on my own again. I meet a skeleton lord (in a pub, of course), I hire a small collection of Lizardmen, and while I can't find any ogres to fight for me, I do find some Gorols, who are so tall that when I speak to one, only his crotch appears in the dialogue pane. They're not ogres, but hopefully they'll pack a wallop, and I'm happy to once again be in charge of a crew of violent misfit monsters.
Gorillas and lizards! Hopefully the opposing army will be too confused to fight back.
By now I've worked my way through the Skaven Kingdom and I'm as far north as I can go, in Dark Elf country. I've added a Waywatcher to my crew, along with some merc leadbelchers (ogres at last!) and a few Dark Elf recruits. We win battles, capture prisoners, and sell enough of them to buy a boat. We even chase down some undead pirates, but considering Murray was an undead pirate in another life, I feel like I should let them go.
Eventually, we make our way to the Realm of Chaos, which is actually pretty organized, what with the castles and towns and hierarchies and people unwilling let some skeleton marry their daughter without knowing him better. At least they dress interestingly!
I'm a skeleton so I show a lot of crack, too. But that's a lot of crack.
It's been a long journey and Murray is ready for some steady work, and the Chaos Realm is as good a place as any. I join the Chaos army, though they force me to wear their armor, which sort of takes away my skeleton-ness. Still, a job is a job.
I appreciate the flesh and muscle, but I've been doing okay with just the bones.
When I last left Murray, he was gaining influence in the Realm of Chaos, he'd bought and opened a mill, and was hoping to woo and marry Chaos Lady Timethi. Hey, every swinging bachelor skeleton has got to settle down someday.
Installation: Warsword Conquest is still in beta, so look for future updates. It can be downloaded here along with a hotfix, and all you need to do is locate your Warband folder, and extract the files into the Modules folder. Extract the hotfix on top of those files, and then activate the module when you begin playing Warband. It's also on moddb.
This is the final part of our canon-destroying playthrough of Star Wars Conquest, a mod for sandbox RPG Mount & Blade.
Last week s series of successful battles against the Empire was met by the realization that Star Wars Conquest seemingly has no end. In 20-some hours of play, I ve learned that almost no amount of slaughtered Stormtroopers will significantly impact the universe. Named characters can t die, captured planets rarely stay captured, prisoners always eventually escape, and climbing the political ranks of the Rebel Alliance mainly involves playing tax collector for Mon Mothma and Obi-Wan.
Frustrated that I ve not yet been named Space King, I set out to simply cause as much chaos as possible. I chase down a huge swarm of Hutt forces. Jumbled in the pack of misshapen ships are the ships of Boba Fett (not Slave I, sadly) and Jabba himself. As I meet them on Tattooine in open combat, I gain new, instant appreciation for the face- and torso-covering properties of Stormtrooper armor.
For the first time in awhile, I ve bitten off more than I can chew. The blob of Hutt forces adds up to about a thousand, almost nine times my army. I regret my armor s trade-off in durability for sex appeal; jesus, there are a lot of dudes.
Neither tasteful nor protective.
I get captured and lose a bunch of items. But again, we ve already covered Conquest s impermanence I escape after being carted around the Hutt Cartel for a few days, presumably after serving as Jabba s personal froyo machine.
Back in my ship, I buy a new army at a cantina, and I m off and running again. I catch Boba Fett s ship isolated from any escorts, and take the opportunity to engage him without the aid of his hundreds of Hutt comrades.
Well, that felt nice. Let s see what other irresponsibly outmatched battles I can get into.
Yes, this ll do.
Yawn. I ask Luke Skywalker for a mission, hoping that some sort of unique questline is coded into his character that distinguishes him from the mod s other figures.
Nope; he wants me to do more money collection. Man, for an underground, anti-government organization, the rebellion sure are a bunch of capitalists.
I do a bad thing, and take out my ennui on some mostly-defenseless Jawas.
Still bored, I remember that there s a feature of Conquest I haven t tried before: arena combat. Maybe this ll prove more interesting or challenging than the game s mundane, open-area warfare. I chat up the Arena Master on Endor and arrange a fight against other lightsaber wielders.
The first few minutes of arena combat are, I ll admit, mildly entertaining. Lightsaber attacks do a fair amount of damage, and new combatants are constantly respawning, fighting each other, then ganging up on me when I get close. I have to be wary of new enemies silently approaching me from behind.
Unfortunately, the incentive for fighting here is tiny: my health takes awhile to replete, and the money reward for clearing out the arena is just a few hundred credits. I take my boredom out on Vader.
I dig through Conquest s menus for any signs that I might ve missed. Then, in the Take actions menu I find a glimmering rectangle of hope: an option to retire from adventuring. Could this be a way out of this interminable, Star Wars-colored, DirectX 7 hell? I click.
The decision is made, and you resolve to give up your adventurer s life and settle down. You sell off your weapons and armor, gather up all your credits, and depart into the sunset
A score screen appears.
Good lord. Not only is retirement the only way to end a game, but apparently I've come nowhere close to winning. A weird difficulty penalty (for what, I m not sure I had every in-game setting cranked up) drains my accumulated points, which earns me a sad, depressing prologue: It doesn t take long to fritter away what little you bothered to save, and you end up a penniless drifter, going from cantina to cantina blagging drinks form indulgent patrons by regaling them with war stories that no one ever believes.
Remember me not as the Droid Hobo I am, but as the brave, unscrupulous Droid Jedi I was.
Read the rest of our Diary of a Droid Jedi series.
Apr 29, 2014
This is a chronicle of our absurd, canon-destroying playthrough of Star Wars Conquest, a mod for sandbox RPG Mount & Blade. Our campaign to ruin Star Wars appears each Tuesday.
Twenty hours into my Star Wars Conquest campaign, I realize that I have no idea what the game s win state is. Is there one? Am I meant to crawl the galaxy until the end of time, endlessly gutting Stormtroopers, endlessly pillaging space farms, endlessly watching planets trade hands like used Toyotas between the immortal commanders of the Star Wars universe? By now, I m positive that it s impossible to actually kill off any of the game s main figures defeating a commander in combat results in either them escaping or being captured and eventually escaping. Hmmph.
But then again, of the main figures in the Empire, I ve only crossed laser swords with Emperor Palpatine and Grand Moff Tarkin, and I defeated neither. Maybe hunting them down will result in some sort of meaningful change in the state of the war.
I continue to roll with the main Rebel fleet, led by Mon Mothma and Han Solo s ships, with the hope that our hilarious swarm of 500-some troops will be able to bulldoze through anything that gets in our way.
Our first fight is on Endor, where I notice a familiar hairstyle fighting bravely alongside me.
Jesus, Leia is vicious. She wades in with a knife, gutting any Stormtrooper in reach. Go Leia! Stab! We re right behind you! Your reckless, unprofessional violence inspires us all.
Well, damn. Leia takes one too many blaster shots (about seven, for the record) to the gown and crumples into the ferns of Endor. She's fine just wounded and rejoins the war effort after our victory. This battle sparks a full-on rampage of defeating and capturing mid-level Imperial commanders. I get my hands dirty.
I stop to chat up Mon Mothma in between all the victory and killing and glory, hoping she has a high-level assignment for me.
Likewise, Commandress. Oh, what a battle that was! I remember it well. I liked the part where I cut 78 Scout Troopers in half and your army mostly stood around and got shot. So, do you have any dangerous, tide-turning special operations for me to go on? Kidnappings? Assassinations? Any suicide missions for which I'll be celebrated for bravely completing?
Let me make sure I ve got this: you want me, the badass Jedi robot who captured the Death Star last week to shake down your own citizens for money. Does the Rebel Alliance not have TurboTax? Have you heard of direct deposit? It s very convenient.
I run the mundane credit-collection mission for Mon Mothma, then return to the crowd of ships to resume our work of sieging battlestations and minor planets. Everything is going smoothly until a certain, shadowy Sith Lord interrupts our conquest.
Oh my god! You probably get this a lot, but biggest. fan. ever. I mean, my mom named me after you, even despite us being loyal servants of the Rebellion. I m so flattered, Vader.
Well alright then. Let me get my Rancors, we ll be right with you.
I charge Vader s army with my weird menagerie of Baby Rancors and mercenaries. Ever the tactical mastermind, he sits on a ledge in the corner of the map the high ground.
I cut my way through his mob of bodyguards, expecting a tough fight at the edge of the map.
But I slash at his legs twice, and Vader falls easily and clumsily to the ground. Mon Mothma sends her regards, Darth.
Everyone is pleased, particularly the Rancors.
Good work, everyone. Vader escapes captivity, of course, but I chug along anyway, looking for more high-level Imperials to shine my weaponized flashlight at. More of that next week. In the meantime, remember my name (and my fearsome Ewok skin hat).
Apr 22, 2014
This is a chronicle of our absurd, canon-destroying playthrough of Star Wars Conquest, a mod for sandbox RPG Mount & Blade. Our campaign to ruin Star Wars appears each Tuesday.
It s always embarrassing to be defeated by the elderly. Last week Emperor Palpatine gave me a lightsaber-whipping on the wooded arena of Endor, gutting my army with his formidable gang of gutless thugs and fascists: Stormtroopers, Imperial Navy Troopers, and Imperial Pilots.
But I d learned an important lesson: to gain renown in this war-torn universe, to survive, to bring glory and liberty to the Rebel forces, I was going to need my own formidable gang of gutless thugs and villains: Mandalorians, assassin droids, Wookiee warriors, and baby Rancors.
With recruitment as my goal, I get to work looting smaller civilian planets, which aren t typically defended in Star Wars Conquest. After a few hours of stealing melons and precious metal from helpless villagers (a menu action--I don t even have to get my hands dirty with in-game combat), I amass enough of a war chest to hire some A-grade space marauders.
Now 120-strong, I notice for the first time that Imperial ships in the galaxy are fleeing from me rather than chasing me down at every opportunity. I want to use this force to put a dent in the Empire. I want to start knocking over planets and outposts.
I ve never sieged before, so it s probably smart to start somewhere modest, and undefended. Somewhere remote, a vulnerable weak point in the otherwise broad, durable armor of the Empire, guarded by fewer and less experienced Imperial forces.
That ll do.
I elect to siege the Death Star. What can possibly go wrong? It s guarded by 278 troops.
Oh god does it get bloody.
ENDLESS TROOPER CARNAGE. For the first time, reinforcements (presumably from my ship) join the battle mid-way to counter the enemy s own waves of reinforcements. My army and I kill an unprecedented 124 enemies, leaving only the commander alive--some doofus named High General Cassio Tagge, who I take captive.
I lose just seven of my warriors in the first fight--a Defiler, two Mandalorian Crusaders, three Power Droids, and a brave Baby Rancor.
Yes! And whoa, I might get to own the Death Star? Holy shit. I'd love to say something encouraging to my troops along the lines of "Great shot, that was one in a million," but the reality is that my untiring, undiscriminating lightsaber swinging was what turned the tide. My success in battle is directly proportionate to my ability to spam the left mouse button.
The battle won, I allow myself a moment of celebration. I walk the bridge of the Death Star, now sentried by friendly Rebel guards.
My power is endless. I upgrade my troops, give them a bit of time to heal, then move on to neighboring planet Endor, which is actually even more heavily defended than the Death Star. Luckily, I find some help on the surface.
I take Endor in a similar rout. It isn't easy, but finally having competent, durable troops makes a massive difference. Endor flips to Rebel colors, and a bit later I get a message from Mon Mothma.
Hmmph. I get a similar message about the Death Star, which is gifted to Biggs. Well fine, then. I see how this organization works. At least I know the value of capturing the Empire s spherical mega-weapon you've all been plotting tirelessly to destroy.
Feeling under-appreciated, I stroll away from that corner of the system, and stumble into the biggest formation of ships I ve ever seen in Star Wars Conquest. Nine Rebel ships roll in formation from an outpost, including Mon Mothma s flagship. They seem to be crawling the galaxy, knocking over planets. I join the mob, wondering where this massive war party will take me.