Posts Tagged ‘Mount & Blade’

Glorious Battle

August 4, 2014

I have two other things to post about this week, but I cannot get this out of my mind. It simply has to get written first, even though there are no screenshots and none of you probably really care about this game. I promise to get back to WoW/Hearthstone tomorrow. Honest!

So, I made multiple games in Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword so that I could try out getting in with the other factions. I messed around with them enough to be made a full noble with a fief in Sweden, to have a mercenary contract with the Crimean Khanate, and to start an uprising in the Tsardom which would ultimately lead to me being named Tsar if I kept playing and jumped through all the right hoops. I’ve gotten nowhere with Poland, although King Jan considers me a friend. But no matter which one of those I’m playing, in my heart, I long to fight alongside my Cossack brothers. So after two or three hours spent in each of those, I have pretty much set the others aside and just played with my original character since then.

These Swedes keep trying to loot and burn my village. Fortunately, each time I have been nearby and have been able to thwart their attempts. The first time, I had a quest from one of the other Cossack nobles to bring him a lord of Sweden that he could use in a prisoner exchange, so I captured him and turned him in to, um … dang, one of the Ivans. Fedorenko I think. The next time, I let him go. And then I fought another Swede who I captured, but I let him go also. Now all of a sudden there are Swedes in my friend list. Ones that I have never even met! I guess they appreciate my honor rating.

After one of these battles, I run into Colonel Anton Zhdanovich and ask him what he and his men are up to. He’s heading out to lay siege to Minsk, so I follow, along with Colonel Bogdan Popovich and Army Chief Pavlo Gomon. Just as we are about to arrive, a Swede passes by on his way to Slutsk. I mouse over him and see that he is the one who recently captured our friend Colonel Prokop Shumeiko. I’m like, ‘Guys. Hey, guys! Look, he has Prokop! Let’s go rescue him!’ … And they’re all like, ‘Naw, man, we’re besieging this fortress. Priorities yo!’ Yeah … I left them to it and played cat and mouse with the Swede, trying to lure him close enough to them that one of them would help out. He was too crafty though, and I ended up having to make a decision … either take him on myself, or let him make it to Slutsk, where he would imprison my ally and the only way to rescue him THEN would be to capture the entire fortress. So I challenged him. I get in the battle and of course it’s nighttime (I hate night battles) and my horse seems really slow. I check and sure enough … I forgot that my beloved spirited courser had been injured in that last battle, and was now lame. I have a heavy thoroughbred also, but I can’t swap mid-battle. At least, not to my own horse. What I CAN do though, is get on someone else’s horse after the rider has been killed. Naturally it comes down to me by myself vs. a half dozen of his men. No way am I going to be able to ride them down on Skipper. I ride him over to a loose troop horse and switch. He’s kinda slow, but faster than my lame boy, so I make progress. But he was at half health when I picked him up and soon he is one hit away from going down. I ride away from the enemies in search of another mount, and find a thoroughbred standing clear at the edge of the map. He’s a nice one and we quickly dispatch the last of the enemies. Shumeiko is free and eternally grateful. I change horses in my inventory so that I don’t have to go through that mount-swapping mess again (lame horses recover if you leave them in your inventory for awhile and don’t ride them) and return to my comrades’ siege at Minsk.

Before the siege is successful, however, a large group of Polish nobles comes to defend it. They out number us, even if you add all four of our armies together. One of them engages Zhdanovich and the rest quickly pile on. I wait and watch to see what Poppy and Gomon are going to do. They stand by. I’m wringing my hands wishing there was something I could do, but it would be suicide to beat myself up on that mess. So I stand by with them, praying that Anton can escape. He does, and we scatter. Popovich and Gomon lead some of them away in one direction, while Anton and I head the other way, forcing them to choose whether to all follow one group or to split up themselves. One or two follow them, but most follow us. One small group is faster than the rest and catches up, but we dispatch him quickly. Just outside of Chernigov, the other three that followed get in another battle with Anton. I assess the situation and even though they outnumber the two of us by slightly more than 100 soldiers, I cannot stand idly by again. I rush to his defense. At least this time it is daylight and I am mounted on a healthy steed. The key section of this battle comes down to me alone against a half dozen men on foot and a half dozen riders. I’m not usually one to boast, but I’m not gonna lie, either … my skill with a lance is unmatched. Patience is the key. My horse is faster and more maneuverable than their mounts. I string them along behind me while picking off the men on the ground one by one. Then I go about taking care of the horsemen, one at a time. Some I only manage to get the horse and have to circle back around and get them once they are on foot. Others I manage to take right out of the saddle. At the end, all three armies are defeated. Sure, Anton and I only had like a dozen men left between us that weren’t injured or unconscious, but we routed THREE Polish armies. He was quick to proclaim me his BFF.

Sadly, once Skipper recovered, he was only a regular courser instead of a spirited one, so his speed dropped. He’s still faster than any horse on the field other than another courser, but I am sad. Next on the to-do list is to check the markets and see if I can find another spirited one. I guess the two points isn’t really necessary … I mean, his speed now is 50 and Teddy’s is 48, and I run down everything on Teddy just as well, too, so …we’ll see.

Ok, back to regularly scheduled Blizzard games posting after this!

Oh, one more thing … I found the book that the game was based on, With Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz (written in 1884!), on Google Play, so I’m reading it in my browser between phone calls at work. It’s surprisingly good!

Charge!

July 22, 2014

Who knew being a Cossack would be so much fun?

A couple of weekends ago, I was on Steam deciding which game to play, when I noticed that something called Mount & Blade: Warband was free to play for the weekend. I vaguely recalled seeing the title somewhere else and thinking it might be interesting, so I downloaded it. I had so much fun with it that I bought the complete set of Mount & Blade titles before the free time was even up.

Warband is fun but it takes place in a made-up land. The newest title in the series, though, Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword, takes place in Eastern Europe in the 17th century. The Cossack Hetmanate, led by Hetman Bogdan Hmelnitski (Bohdan Khmelnytsky if you look him up on Wikipedia) and situated in the area of modern Ukraine, had risen up against their rulers in the Polish Commonwealth. At the end of that uprising they signed the Treaty of Pereyaslav (Pereiaslav … spellings differ because all of it is translated from Cyrillic Script which is a completely different alphabet than what we are used to in the Western hemisphere) which allied them with Muscovy, although in reality they ended up being their subjects rather than allies and did not obtain actual independence until the fall of the USSR. The game starts in 1655, right after the signing of this treaty. This is a chance for the player to either join up with one of the large powers and bring the Cossacks under their control, or to change history and give them the autonomy they so desperately wanted.

Ok, that was all probably WAY more history than any of you care about, but I spent many hours playing Koei’s historical simulations, have a degree in history, and spent most of jr. high and high school on the back of a horse, so yeah … this game is SO right up my alley.

The game drops you off near Smolensk in Polish territory, and you are instructed to go around and do little jobs like take out bandits and protect trade caravans while you get to know some of the lords and decide who you would like to support… if anyone. You can totally play as a neutral mercenary if you so desire. Eventually, my dude was given a quest that took him to see Company Commander Les’ Gritsenko of the Cossack Hetmanate and as soon as I met him I knew I was going to dedicate my service to the Cossacks.

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Why him? I dunno, I just like him. All of the NPCs use the same lines, so it’s not like his personality is any different or anything. He’s just my favorite guy. So of course, I made a second game with myself as a female character. This does change the game somewhat, but not like I was hoping … it’s not the Sims.

As a dude, all I had to do is get on favorable terms with Hetman Hmelnitski and I could pledge my sword to his service … and be named a noble and awarded my own village. As a chick, I have made friends with damn near every single noble in the Hetmanate (to the point where my relationship with Les’ is 100/100 and with Hmelnitski is 97/100) and won enough battles to get my renown well over 100, and still I am stuck being a neutral mercenary. Maybe if I can get my relationship with the nation itself up higher … we’ll see. I know I could just look it up but that ruins it for me. The discovery is part of the fun.

As a noble, you get to do things like develop your village and train your peasants to defend themselves …

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participate in votes to determine who will be the Marshall and lead the next military campaign …

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as well as be asked by that person to come and join their campaign …

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After riding around for a bit they decided to lay siege to one of the Swedish castles. (Sweden and the Crimean Khanate make up the rest of the factions for a total of five.) They’ve been determined to take one of these castles far from our home territory and I don’t know why, because in the meantime, the Swedes and Muscovites have taken two of our fortresses, right next to Kiev! Personally, I would be taking back my home territory first but whatevs.

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You can see some Swedes to the right there coming to check out our siege. Obviously a battle is forthcoming! They gather more forces and we hit the battlefield. Now, there are many options for weapons and weapon skills. They give you a firearm and a saber to start out with with. I dislike the firearms because hey, it’s 1655, we’re talking muskets with a 6-10 second reload time after each shot. Booooooring. But using just a one hand sword seems, well … it’s ok but some guys have pikes, and bows, and throw javelins or something, so getting your horse in melee to actually hit anything with it is dangerous to say the least. You can win loot off of your enemies after battles, or buy new things at the market in any fortress. So I experimented with many options before finding THE weapon for me…the lance.

Your character holds it up when not moving or after a charge.

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When charging, it is couched, like so …

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At first I was trying to thrust with it, but once I understood that the best way to use it is to couch it and basically ram things with it, like a knight at a joust, I became a deadly force on the battlefield. I was nothing more than a field decoration with any other weapon. With this … I basically one-shot anything that I do couched lance damage to. Oftentimes I just get the other guy’s horse, but once he’s on foot he’s a sitting duck for my troops … or for another charge by me. There were multiple battles where it came down to me vs. half a dozen opponents, both mounted and not, and I patiently picked them off one by one and prevailed. So now every time I suffer defeat and get taken prisoner (hey it happens, especially when I am accompanying Les’ and he rides right through the Poles’ siege of Minsk so it’s 500 to 200 in favour of them! Watch where you are riding, buddy!) as soon as I am released I head straight for a large fortress and buy a new lance. I’m downright useless without one. I also bought myself a very fine Courser … faster and more maneuverable than almost anyone else’s steed.

Ok, this is long enough. But now you know one of the main reasons I haven’t logged into WoW much lately. 😛