Mount & Blade: Warband
|Mount & Blade: Warband|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows
|Genre(s)||Action RPG, Strategy, Simulation|
|Distribution||Digital distribution, DVD|
Mount & Blade: Warband is the first sequel to the action role-playing video game Mount & Blade. First announced in January 2009, the game was developed by the Turkish company TaleWorlds Entertainment and was published by Paradox Interactive on March 30, 2010. The game is available as a direct download from the TaleWorlds website or through the Steam digital distribution software, or as a DVD with required online activation. Mac OSX and Linux versions were released on July 10, 2014 through Steam.
Warband expands on the original game by introducing a sixth faction, The Sarranid Sultanate, increasing the political options, allowing players to start their own faction, and incorporating multiplayer modes. Reviews of the game were generally favourable, with the addition of multiplayer the most highly praised element. This anticipated game won many awards, such as a nomination for the "Best Multiplayer Indie Game of the Year". The game places a focus on being mounted on a horse (as the player) and giving orders to one's warband in the field, such as telling archers to hold a position or infantry to use blunt weapons.
The main changes to the game were the inclusion of multiplayer capability, the introduction of a sixth faction, Sarranid Sultanate, and the reorganisation of the overworld map. The introduction of political options allows players to influence lords and marry ladies, and it is possible for an unaligned player to capture a town or castle and start their own faction. The game contains slightly improved graphics, along with new or altered animations in combat.
The new multiplayer mode removes all of the RPG and map elements from the single-player mode, instead focusing on direct combat. Multiplayer matches cater for up to 250 players, split into two teams based on the factions selected. All players are provided with a balanced 'template' character (which can be altered for each server) based on three general types of pre-modern age military: Archery, Cavalry, and Infantry. Characters are customised by purchasing the equipment available to their selected faction, with better equipment purchased after earning denars (the game's currency) in the multiplayer matches. There is no link between a player's multiplayer and single-player characters, and no way to level up the multiplayer character or alter its characteristics from the templates (other than through the purchase of equipment). Eight multiplayer modes were included in the original release of Warband. Most were similar to modes found in first-person shooter games (such as team battles and capture the flag), although other modes, like the castle sieges from the main game, are also included. Some Modifications provide extra game modes.
Napoleonic Wars is a multiplayer-only DLC (expansion pack) developed by Flying Squirrel Entertainment for Mount & Blade: Warband, set during the last years of the Napoleonic Wars. It features historical battles from the Napoleonic era of up to 200 players with over 220 unique historical units,controllable artillery pieces, destructible environments and five selectable nations: France, Britain, Prussia, Austria, and Russia. It was released on April 19, 2012.
The multiplayer revolves around game modes such as team deathmatch, deathmatch, siege, capture the flag, duel, battle, and commander battle. There are also community events called line battles that pit the player organisations called regiments against one another in First-generation warfare. A major aspect of the DLC are the player created regiments that are based on regiments from the actual Napoleonic Wars. The popular regiments work together to create organized events, such as line-battles and sieges. Some of the regiments are: the 63ème Régiment d'Infanterie de Ligne, 33rd Regiment of Foot, as well as many others. 
Flying Squirrel Entertainment are the creators of the previous multiplayer mod "Mount and Musket", also set during the Napoleonic Wars. Since the release of the game it has been patched several times, adding more content to the game, such as sailors and marines as well as usable schooners and longboats.
Viking Conquest is a DLC for both singleplayer and multiplayer. It is developed by TaleWorlds Entertainment and Brytenwalda team which is famous for their eponymous mod. Viking Conquest takes the player back to Dark Age Britain, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. It features a story mode where the game is based on history and the player's choice will affect the outcome, and a sandbox mode which is similar to Mount and Blade's original game that the player will roam around. First gameplay footages from TaleWorlds showed new sea combat where the player will fight on boats. It released to the public on December 11, 2014.
Warband received an aggregate score of 79.73% from 15 reviews for GameRankings, and 78/100 from 23 reviews for Metacritic. Like its predecessor, Warband was praised as a low-cost game with greater replayability and longevity than most contemporary studio-published games. However, several felt that describing Warband as a sequel was overreaching, and that the game is better described as a "stand-alone expansion" or an improved version of the original Mount & Blade.
The feature most praised was the inclusion of multiplayer, with ComputerGames.ro describing it as "exactly what its predecessor was missing", while Nick Kolan of IGN stating that the feature is "arguably the main reason for the expansion's existence." ModDB awarded it the "Editor's Choice: Best Multiplayer Indie Game of 2010" award. Reviewers noted the small number of multiplayer maps and modes, and the imbalance present in several of these, although the ComputerGames.ro review suggested that the producers' acceptive stance towards modding would see these problems rectified. Kolan emphasised the friendlier community attitude compared to other multiplayer games, although Alex Yue of Gamer Limit and Christopher Rick of Gamers Daily News found that there would only be a small number of servers running at any time, and these would not always be fully populated with the possible 64 players. Yue also believed that people who owned the original Mount & Blade and were uninterested in the multiplayer feature would be better not purchasing Warband, as it was the only new addition of worth.
Several reviews found that the graphics, while an improvement over the original, did not compare well with other games. The IGN review claims "it looks like [Warband] was released a decade ago". GameSpot's Brett Todd commented that there were some "picturesque" scenes amongst all the generally "dated visuals", while Rick dismissed the need for high-quality graphics, as he felt the quality of gameplay was more important.
Todd commented negatively on the lack of development for the single-player mode, claiming that although the new faction and political quests were added to the original, the game lacks the depth and background of other role-playing video games, and the open world and steep learning curve may intimidate some players.
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