Mount & Blade: Warband
Mount & Blade: Warband is the standalone expansion pack to the strategy action role-playing video game Mount & Blade. 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, through the Steam digital distribution software, as a DRM-free version from GOG.com, or as a DVD with required online activation. The macOS 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 political options, adding the ability for the player to start their own faction, and incorporating multiplayer modes. Reviews of the game were generally favourable, with the addition of multiplayer praised. The game places a focus on horse-mounted combat and giving orders to one’s warband in the field, such as telling archers to hold a position or infantry to use blunt weapons. As of January 31, 2014, Paradox Interactive is no longer the publisher for Warband and has given publishing back to the developer. Warband was released for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in September 2016 for most regions, with an Australian and New Zealand release on December 20, 2016.
As with the first game, Mount & Blade: Warband is a sandbox role-playing game that takes place in the medieval land of Calradia. At the start of the game, the player customizes the character, and is spawned into the world. Traveling around the overworld map is done by pointing and clicking on the desired location. If the player encounters other parties, combat may occur, at which point the game switches to real time. If the player wins the battle, their level of renown increases. With enough renown, the player can work for lords, set up their own fiefs, attack towns, and hire more soldiers. The player can also encounter companions across the map to add abilities to their warband. The game is won by becoming the ruler of all of Calradia.
The main changes to the game were the inclusion of multiplayer capability, the introduction of a sixth faction, the 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 200 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 customized 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. The combat itself various on class. Melee combat consists of four directions of attack that are up, down, left, right, as well as four directions of blocking being that same as attacks. Some melee weapons can only be used in two attack directions which are up and down while some can’t block such as certain knives not obtainable from the equipment menu.