PC Gamer
War of the Vikings

If you ve had a rough week, or it s just been ages since you last slammed an axe into someone, I ve got some good news for you. War of the Vikings, the follow-up to this year s War of the Roses, is hosting a free-to-play weekend for all Steam users. The free weekend, starting today, shows off the Atgeirr update, which adds improved sound and game mechanics, the Conquest game mode and two new maps.

I can already tell that one of the new maps, Cliff, was designed specifically to send me plummeting to my death. This sea-side village features a lot of tall places to get kicked off of, Sparta-style, as the Vikings and Saxons fight for control. The update also brings the clever Battle Chatter feature, which will add character comments on the battle. A nearby archer might cheer loudly due to a headshot and you hear yourself congratulate him, or you see a charging enemy and roar fiercely as you face him head on, a press release from developer Fat Shark reads. To improve immersion even further are making it so enemies always speak their original language, that being Old Norse or Old English, whilst friends speak english so you can easily understand them.

War of the Vikings is still in development, but you can pre-order the game through Steam Early Access and play while the team completes its work. If you re not sold yet, you ve got until December 8 to play for free and make up your mind.
PC Gamer
war of the vikings early access

The Norsey follow-up to Fatshark's War of the Roses sails to Steam Early Access today, following a closed alpha test back in August. Should you decide to take the plunge, you'll be given access to two modes - Arena and Team Deathmatch - along with two "small" maps entitled Gauntlet and Docks.

There are bunch of concessions for owners of War of the Roses: Kingmaker (a free go on War of the Vikings for the next four days, plus 10% off the Early Access price for the next month), that latter boon applying to people who own Mount & Blade: Warband as well. The finished game is expected sometime next year.

For more details, be sure to loot and plunder our coverage of the announcement back in August.
PC Gamer
Vikings thumb

Closed alpha news is a bit of a double-edged axe - one that's often found buried in the skull of a person who really wants to participate in the limited access test. For War of the Vikings, though, Paradox are guaranteeing access to the alpha for anyone who owns Fatshark's previous historical first-person slasher, War of the Roses: Kingmaker. That alpha is due to start in a couple of days time, on August 22nd.

"Anybody who either signed up five friends via the Alpha Signup page, or who owns a copy of War of the Roses: Kingmaker (F2P Demo doesn't count), is eligible to play during this test period," explains War of the Vikings producer Gordon van Dyke. "If you fit in this group, you will receive your Alpha key via email or directly to your steam library at 9:00 CEST August 22nd!"

The test is limited to 4,000 players at any one time, but if you can't log on immediately, you'll have until September 1st, when the alpha invasion draws to a close.

"During the test, we’ll be trying out Pitched Arena mode on the Monastery and Gauntlet maps," van Dyke continues. "You’ll have your choice of three character classes: The Warrior (an all-around medium class with a sword/shield and throwing axes), The Huscarl (a heavy melee fighter with a big giant axe), and The Hirdman (a light ranged class with a longbow and axe)."

For more on War of the Vikings, pop over to our announcement reveal.

PC Gamer
WotV thumb

Paradox have announced War of the Vikings, an angrier, beardier standalone spin-off to Fatshark's War of the Roses. Vikings will also be a multiplayer battler, and will cast players as warring Norse and Saxon fighters. Set in the 9th and 10th Century, you'll fight to conquer or defend England through a variety of game modes, many of which will likely involve chopping up an unkempt man through the face and limbs.

Fatshark promise that weapons and environments will be historically accurate. Good thing, too. There's nothing worse than splitting an enemy's head with an anachronistic axe. As well as the main 64-player battles, the game will feature a "Pitched Arena" mode, with 32 fighters and no respawning, and training ground to let players test out the new builds. Players will also be able to customise the role within a squad, using custom perks. And, most importantly, "a variety of beard options" have been confirmed.

Alpha sign-ups are being taken through the War of the Vikings website. If you invite your own mini-horde of five friends, you'll be guaranteed access come the beginning of the trials.

War of the Vikings is due out early next year. As yet, Brian Blessed has not been confirmed.

Here are some screenshots:

PC Gamer

You might not have known it, but Fatshark's rendition of the 15th century English battle, War of the Roses, has been a free-to-play game for quite some time now. The base game became a free trial earlier this year, being free-to-play in all but name. Now, it has the name.

The game’s publisher, Paradox Interactive, launched a premium version of the game called War of the Roses: Kingmaker, which added new weapons and modes in which to slaughter your countrymen. It’s what the paid version of the game became, and those who had already bought the original game received Kingmaker for free. A version of the game with only the base classes and weapons then became a free trial for people to check out before buying the paid version.

To be fair, “free game” sounds much more appealing than “free demo” does, though there's no difference between the two other than one being listed in the free-to-play aisle of the Steam store. The game’s free-to-play version offers the four base profiles to use while you battle for crown and country in the conquest or team deathmatch modes, while the Kingmaker version adds more modes and player profiles.

War of the Roses had a few problems when we first reviewed it, but that was before the glut of free updates the game has received. Plus, we get a warm, fuzzy feeling whenever we slam our shields down upon an opponent’s neck. In the game, of course.
PC Gamer

You know you're in trouble when the other guy brings a handgonne to a swordfight. The latest update to Fatshark's War of the Roses: Kingmaker lets you do just that, with the addition of guns, more armor options, and a new map called Ravenspurn.

Update 1.7.0, appropriately titled the Guns of Burgundy, went live yesterday and has made available the new handgonne weapon class. A short-range weapon, each of the four firearms in the category offers a different mix of damage output and encumbrance when equipped. Their advantages, according to information from the developer, seem clear: they offer some devastating new options when brawling and can damage enemy shields. Since success in the War of the Roses often comes down to outfitting your knight or footman with the most effective—and mobile—balance of armor and weapons, bringing guns to the fight should offer up some intriguing new battlefield scenarios and squad tactics.

The patch, which "due to a technical issue" needs a complete download of the more than 6 GB client, does not add any "major" balance tweaks to the game, according to the developers. This seems to signal that the development team wants to see how the handgonnes affect the medieval setting of War of the Roses before any balancing takes place. And with publisher Paradox Interactive actively seeking new players for the third-person title, offering an alternative to blades and bows might be just what War of the Roses needs to bring more knights to the party.

War of the Roses: Kingmaker is currently available at 50 percent off as part of Steam's Paradox Interactive weekend sale and also offers a demo version to download.

PC Gamer
War of the Roses: Kingmaker

Paradox Interactive sent out gift copies of its special edition, War of the Roses: Kingmaker, asking players to recruit their friends to the bloody battlefields of feudal England. In an email to players, the “Coin Master of House Paradox” beseeches all enlisted knights to “recruit the bravest of souls to help you fight the War of the Roses.”
“There’s a brutal war being fought between the houses of Lancaster and York and liege lords on both sides are set to reward their vassals for the dedicated service they’ve demonstrated thus far. In an exclusive offer only being given to enlisted knights, a giftable copy of War of the Roses: Kingmaker shall be bestowed upon thee,” the email continues.

Before War of the Roses and rival game Chivalry: Medieval Warfare were released, the multiplayer medieval first-person-slasher genre basically didn’t exist; now there are two behemoths in the field having an all-out war. Chivalry recently made headlines for hosting numerous free weekends and releasing free DLC to bring in new players. War of the Roses hit back with legendary British actor Brian Blessed’s involvement and the release of Kingmaker and, this morning, a free gift copy to every registered player.

This competition, of course, can only yield good things for gamers like discounts and new content. It seems likely that the feud will continue unabated for the life of both games. If only there were some sort of large metal weapon that could help settle this for good...
PC Gamer
war of the roses kingmaker

"What makes up a king?" asks the Earl of Warwick in this War of the Roses: Kingmaker trailer, before quickly answering it with "IT'S ME, BRIAN BLESSED, I DO." The booming British actor plays the part of the Kingmaker himself in this imminent special edition of Paradox Interactive's historical multiplayer battler - imminent as in tomorrow, March 21st. As previously revealed, his thunderous voice will shake the battlefield by announcing in-game events and warnings, and if this video is any indication, we're all going to have tinnitus by the end of the round 1.

As well as including content from previous updates, this special edition of War of the Roses features a new game mode: Assault. This has you attempting to either breach a stronghold, or defend it from oncoming invaders. The game was recently updated to support controllers and Steam's Big Picture mode, both of which have obviously made it into this new version.

If you already own War of the Roses, you'll get all that lovely new stuff for free. Otherwise, the Kingmaker edition will set you back $19.99, from "digital distributors everywhere". Additionally, Paradox are hosting a Twitch.tv livestream at 7pm GMT/12pm PDT tomorrow, where they'll be showing off the game's new content - that is, if you can hear them over Brian Blessed's DULCET TONES.

You might want to have a pair of earplugs handy for the following video.

PC Gamer
War of the Roses - Brian Blessed DLC

IT'S HERE! After much anticipation, War of the Roses' Brian Blessed DLC pack has been released. The pack casts the cacophonous thesp into the role of narrator, announcing victories and defeats with his own unique aural assault. I've done you a disservice by not typing the entirety of this opening paragraph in all caps. TO THE VIDEO!

At £3.99, it's a little pricey for what is a essentially just a voice-over swap. Is it worth it to hear Blessed's boisterous bellow belting into your face? That's a discussion best left to you and your likely terrified ears.

Value aside, I approve of the idea. There can't be many games that wouldn't benefit from the inclusion of Blessed. Perhaps we could persuade him to re-do the narration for Dear Esther?
PC Gamer
War of the Roses

While we're still waiting on details about War of the Roses' much anticipated (by me) Brian Blessed DLC, Fatshark continue to update their medieval melee FPS in new and interesting ways. The latest content drop, titled Outside the Law, puts a Robin Hood-style twist on the ongoing battle between Lancastrians and Yorkists - adding in flaming arrows and a lush new forest map.

Greenwood is the appropriately titled verdant landscape, taking the fight across hills and valleys, through fallen trees abandoned camps. Not that there's time to stop and stare at the saturated scenery - the Elm Self Bow and Yew Self Bow will cause fire to reign from the skies. Knights also get to try their hand at the new Woodsman’s Axe, Headsman’s Axe, Shillelagh Mace and Quarterstaff weapons.

To celebrate the update, War of the Roses will be free to try this weekend. While the game's demo currently lets players sample all the maps, along with base classes and weapons, the weekend trial will presumably be the full deal - allowing levelling and unlocks as well.

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