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Elovia

Mount and Blade: Warband

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I've been playing this again lately.  The new version ... changed stuff ... for good or ill.  Since I don't remember specifics from the earlier version, I'm just playing it as it goes.  It doesn't seem any more difficult ... just different.  New kingdoms, major and minor.  New character starting options.  New customizable units (hired mercenaries).

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Spent the day yesterday playing Perisno 0.8.  Started several new characters just to see the new "non-classic" starts.  Went back to classic "choose your background" start.  Rolled a human male thief type commoner ... decent starting money, started with 5 Looting skill and a mix of other helpful ones.  The classic intro scene where you get attacked and rescued by the merchant of whichever town you chose to begin in has thankfully been removed ... along with the intro quest.  You now start outside said town - "bam, there you go, good luck."

I started outside Forniron, in the realm of the Elintor (Queen Arwen and the elvesss).  Did my usual freelance thing and joined her army to put on a few levels and money up before striking out on my own.  Got one-shot several times ... par for the course.  After the second time of getting drug around behind a horse as a captive, I said, "eff this stupid beyotch" and politely declined to continue in her service.  Don't know if it is by design or a bug, but when you get captured while in service to a noble's army, you are automatically un-enlisted (i.e., your reputations with other factions are reset to zero, and if you want to continue after rejoining your liege, you have to re-enlist).  So I guess freelancers are even more disposable.  Oddly enough (and why I think it's a bug), you still have the quest that you're hired in the liege's service.

A lot of the gear has been tweaked or re-balanced.  The hidden hammer mentioned in previous posts has been significantly nerfed to where it is not worth seeking out unless it is your first beyond the cheap starter weapons ... but then only because it is free.  Seeing that, I preferred to take weapons from others and upgrade the good old bloody way ... leveling up in used gear, with the occasional new purchase if not too expensive.

As I put the elven realm in the rear view mirror, I headed straight for the new Mercenary Guild.  My character's background as a thief didn't pan out, nor did my brief foray into soldiering.  Why not become a merc and wander around indiscriminately killing, and doing quests for money?  Note: new quests and quest givers, along with the older 0.7x version quests.  Also note and as previously mentioned, new minor factions and realms.  To the east of the elves are the old blue elves, except they are now the Geldar who start with a single castle and village (no town).  To the east of them is a new realm, the Aroulo who start with a town and several villages, but no castles (as I recall); they have a nasty surprise combat item and tactic.

Anyway, back to me ... I used my built up funds to hire blank mercenaries from the guild.  In the past, I didn't ever mess around with any of the freelance adventurers where in theory you could change up their outfit and weapons.  That is exactly what you get to do with the blank mercs.  You get access to a branching tree of blank roles (including archer, warrior, and mounted archetypes), and you get to choose how to outfit and arm each slot on that tree.  You can quickly change to suit your situation.  I think this is a really cool feature, because I usually don't care for the stock realm creation decisions made by others.  Your hired mercs start out weak, and with limited available accessories, but as they earn experience and get promoted, the selection variety of armors and weapons increases commensurate to their skill and stat levels.  Note: the better gear you give them, the greater their weekly cost ... so cost is the control that keeps you from rofl-stomping around the continent with the best, most elite newbies.  You don't pay for their gear directly, just indirectly through wages.  Again, this surprisingly gives plenty of flexibility ... so you need pikes against cavalry in one realm, but then need maces and shields in another?  Swap gear ... use the best you can afford.

In my adventures, I found a decent combination of archers and cavalry that works for my combat preferences and style.  I found blunts to be very effective, especially when coupled with prisoner management skill, in order to boost revenue generation.  All taverns have them whatchacallit slave trader guys, so you don't have to keep looking for them when turning in prisoners.  In the old 0.7x version, you could sell prisoners to the bar tenders once per day.  Now it is all day every day.  IMHO, this should get nerfed because it is now very easy to amass wealth on the backs of prisoners.  So much so that I was able to pretty much turn in a couple loads of prisoners and purchase favor in a town to then purchase an industry.  I'm currently rolling around with about 120-ish fighting units as a mix of custom hired mercenaries and stock realm units ... my payroll is something like 23k per week, whereas my income from industry ventures alone (not including property rentals) nets 20k-30k after wages, taxes, and fees are deducted.  So yeah ... I'm rolling in dough with my little roflstomping merry band of misfits.

As a commoner, I was surprised when I got an offer of fiefdom from the Falcons, so I took it.  They like to party it up in their one town ... errr ... the grand marshal likes to throw parties, but I've never seen anyone actually there.  Total let down sausage party.  Half the realm lords are martial, so they go out and pick fights which they inevitably lose, so spend a lot of time healing back up.  The field marshal is especially thick headed in this regard; he'll join combat in which he's outnumbered 4:1 and himself at < 10% health.  His castle is next to my village.  Every time I pass it, I check his status and mutter to myself, "dumbass."  Unbeknownst to me prior to joining them, you cannot recruit the Falcon troops directly from the villages; you have to recruit "nobles" versions of them instead for 500g each at the town (or rescue the non-noble versions from combat).  When I stopped playing last, our field marshal had picked a fight with the dwarves, and there were many back and forth battles in our and their lands.  I'm not really developed high enough yet to put together a warband capable of quickly taking castles and towns, so I wish the grand marshal would call for peace ... at least with the dwarves.  The dwarves are isolated and access to them is through narrow restrictions that end up being slaughter zones (in other words, if you have decent tracking ... lots of big arrows pointed at each other and lots of X's in the middle).

If you play, set aside what you knew from version 0.7x and just enjoy 0.8 as given.  Do install the hotfixes, though.  YMMV

Edited by Elovia
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1 hour ago, Elovia said:

bunch of stuff

I always enjoy reading any in-depth reviews that anyone here provides and am always appreciative of the effort.

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Aww shucks.  I just scratched the surface knowing Jag has experienced previous versions of the described mod.  Warband is fun, or can be for a somewhat dated game engine, but the mods have really taken it and made it that much more enjoyable.  The base game engine is a nice mix of realtime combat and semi-realtime overworld travel.  If you haven't played it or experienced it, I describe it as an action casual game.  On the overworld travel, things happen in the world only when you're on the move or if you're actively waiting.  You can stop at any time, get up and walk away for a few minutes and the game will patiently wait for you to resume.  You don't even have to hit a "pause" button.  Now in combat scenes, things are different.  You will have so much fun with all the action that you won't want to pause ... but you can if needed.  Combat is chaotic, just as I imagine it would be in real life ... and you're not in full control, but as a General and participant (the ratio of which you can choose yourself by your actions), you can help determine the outcome to your warband's favor.

YMMV

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The mercenaries sound awesome.  It has been standard game play for me to edit a generic troop tree, used to be slaves in perisno, commoners in PoP, now I can do that in game with even more flexibility.  Cool.  I watched some of the reformist as he played a giant, also cool.  I will give it a go.

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Last night, the Zann invasion came to town. Although I was able to hold off a thousand-man-plus sized forerunner force from taking the Falcon's only city by having a metric f-ton of high level archers atop the walls, that didn't slow them at all in taking out the rest of the realm.  On a side note, daughters of the Falcon lords who would have none of me before the invasion suddenly found me a lot more interesting after their daddys lost their castles. Far be it from me to fish in the refugee camps.

I politely thanked the grand marshal for the doog timez, and I decided to head for more profitable pastures. Being at war with the Zann, coupled with their swift acquisition of territory elsewhere throughout the world, put a huge crimp in my business assets.  I figure it'll be better to be neutral with all nations (financially) and go back doing the merc thing.

Seriously, roving armies of 2000-3500 don't lead to longevity for my little band of 130-ish. I can whittle them down in individual combats where they outnumber me by only 3 to 1, but in doing so I take losses and just can't sustain over a Zann General's full invasion group (i.e., the General's group of 500+ and the five or six support spearhead groups of 250-350 each). Long story short ... The Zann invasion sucks when it happens to you.

Felt like I'd just dropped the soap in the prison showers when the Zann gang showed up. 

Edited by Elovia

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If you are the marshal, you can summon your realms armies to defend a castle.  That is typically the way I handle them, retreat until they make a mistake.  One of the best changes in that patch, are the unlimited arrows for defenders.  It helps a lot.  I used to have to carry 5 or 6 extra stacks of arrows around just for the big sieges.

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Wasn't going to happen. The Zann hit us and simultaneously took three castles while I defended the city. The fourth castle was just mop up for them.

I'll admit we suffered a series of bad timing. Just prior to the invasion, our realm had just repelled a dwarf raiding force consisting of the dwarf king and five dwarf nobles.  When the Zann showed up, the Falcon nobles were all off licking their wounds and in recovery mode. To be fair, we were easy picking for the Zann ... even if their invasion force would have been overwhelming all by itself.

The game is interesting like that. Plenty of response choices to all situations.

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Sometimes you just got to cut your losses and join a new faction on the other side of the map.  Sounds like they treated yu like crap anyways, you don't owe them anything.

Edited by Jag

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Yeah. Unfortunate mix of realm lord personalities.  My little village was tied to the city not a castle ... hence my vigorous defense. I gave it up anyway afterward, as you say, to cut my losses. I was really only there for the awesome realm units.

I'm just not yet built up enough to start taking over cities and castles defended by 1000+ inhabitants.  Defend them, I can do.  So back to build up mode. I'll probably not join any realms again until I can sustain a 500+ warband having 200+ merc sharpshooters and an equivalent number of heavy cavalry/infantry. My siege strategy boils down to “clear the walls from afar, then climb the ladders and mop up whatever is left.”  I'll have to remember to switch out blunts for better killing weapons.

Edited by Elovia

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Being able to swap out weapons for your troops seems like a winner.  How does the experience work?  Do they get more stat points on level?  Like they are all followers?

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1 hour ago, Jag said:

Being able to swap out weapons for your troops seems like a winner.  How does the experience work?  Do they get more stat points on level?  Like they are all followers?

They get both stat increases (i.e., str, agi, etc.) and skill levels (i.e., power draw, pathfinding, riding, etc.) and abilities (i.e., one-handed, polearms, archery, crossbows, etc.) when they gain a level. They differ from followers in thet you don't get to allocate the point distribution.

I don't have access to the game at the moment, but I'll give a representative example. The merc tree starts at a single “recruit” position which then branches into the warrior line and the archer line. The warrior line then branches at tier 3 into infantry and cavalry lines while the archer line continues on its own. At each tier, the above-described abilities are incrementally increased, except that the archer line favors bows and crossbows, whereas the other lines likewise favor abilities in line with their archetypes.  Nothing prevents you (except cost) from allowing all lines to be mounted, or use ranged weapons. It is just that some lines will be slightly better or more suited to those accessories.

Starting at square one in the recruit position, the only accessories available are low requirement items. For example, armors have strength requirements and the only armors available to recruits will be ones that they can wear according to their low strength. Likewise, if a certain bow requires a specific skill level, it will not be available on the list of possible bows until the merc unit has advanced enough to have the required skill level.

You can decide which armor and weapon type to give to each position in the merc tree. You can even give multiple items to their inventories to introduce variability and prevent clone syndrome.

I gave my heavy cavalry both one-handed blunts with shields and two-handed swords. I can specify blunt use only in combat, or if I plan to be in extended combat I can allow them to use either weapon to ensure killing some of the enemies.  If I really want, I could give them bows instead of the 2h, but they wouldn't be as good at archery as the dedicated archers.  Alternatively, I can give my high end archers horses so they can be efficient ranged cavalry.

Just some examples. Hope that makes sense. It really is as good as it sounds.

The drawback to hired mercs is that they don't provide party bonuses like some of the stock realm units. Just like in vanilla where bounty hunters would improve prisoner management, I've seen some stock realm units improve pathfinding and other party skills.  Hence why I use a mix of mercs and realm units.

 

Edited by Elovia
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I see.  I like my front line troops to have one-handed weapons, beefy shields, and javalins.  A hard combo to find.  I actually like clone syndrome with my higher level troops, all in heraldic gear, holding formation, a massive controlled javalin strike to decimate the front line, then a hold while the crossbows wreak havoc.

Edited by Jag

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Forgot to mention but your last post reminded me ...

You can set the race and gender of your mercs ... but only as a block ... and they will all be clones of each other. :) 

Sadly, the giant race is not an option for hired mercs.

Edited by Elovia

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5 hours ago, Jag said:

I see.  I like my front line troops to have one-handed weapons, beefy shields, and javalins.  A hard combo to find.  I actually like clone syndrome with my higher level troops, all in heraldic gear, holding formation, a massive controlled javalin strike to decimate the front line, then a hold while the crossbows wreak havoc.

Which heraldry do you prefer?  I tend toward a solid background and horse.  Then again, I prefer cavalry.  Dunno why ... mount (?) and blade.  :lol:

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Well, I could make the whole damn army calvary with that system.  Although calvary archers tend to be a bit lackluster.  I am pretty excited to get going.  I do prefer solid backgrounds, usually of a black, blue, or green.  The whatever bright color to offset it.

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I have not yet started my own faction, so can't answer directly.  That said, you may continue hiring mercs from the guild.  Apparently (also) you will have the ability to hire household guards ... configurable elite troops (rumored to be expensive) ... when you have your own faction.

At the Taleworlds forums, see the Perisno sub-board. There is a nice sticky post that discusses the update's new features ... title of something-something in 40 points.  I'm not able to access it at the moment, but I was reading it last night. It may be helpful for you.

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Wow!  So many cool things.  I think I will go with the elves.  Try to use only custom.  I like to do the same thing in PoP by editing the native troop tree.

Edited by Jag

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Something to consider about hired mercs is the guild's replenishment rate.  These guys (gals, if so opted) come in limited supply. It isn't like you can recruit them by the hundreds unless you spend a lot of time (and I do mean a lot) elsewhere in between. The replenishment rate is slow but steady. I don't think it is random.

Last night I started over. Be careful when purchasing non-standard mounts.  I bought a wyvern from the mystic merchant even though I knew I wouldn't be able to use it right away; my riding skill would be too low. I placed it at the bottom of my expanded inventory space (was working on increasing inventory management) along with half-dozen other horses used to offset the weight of food ... Shortly thereafter, I noticed a truncation of inventory space which thus removed all rides.  I also purchased a painted wolf which I couldn't yet ride, but this time kept it near the top of my inventory. Again shortly thereafter, the ride disappeared from inventory.  Pretty bad bug.

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The Q and A seems to imply that you can recruit the hired troops from your own faction, if you set it that way, and there are elite versions once you become a lord.  That is a crappy bug, one remedied by the use of console commands, if you want.  use the troop editor to get the item number.  It is probably easier to just replace the gold with the export import feature.  The Rhinos were my favorite mount in the old one.  The charges were very satisfying.

Edited by Jag

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I have yet to see a rhino in the new version.  That is not to say they're not included ... I just haven't seen them yet.  However if you're so inclined, you could ride a cow into battle.  ALL FEAR TEH MILKMANZ!!1!1one!!

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I got a few hours in last night.  Started off GREAT!  Got my hired troops and some fodder to fill in.  I was rolling around taking prisoners and killing scum.  Feeling pretty good.  Purchased a few enterprises.  Found some Renwald knights, only 10 and I thought "lets do this".  Battle starts, they get joined by 29 deserters of some epic horse archer nature.  Before I knew what was happening they were on us, 10 became this invincible number.  Every one was down, I gave it all I could...

After being dragged around as a bitter prisoner, I made two foolhardy attempts to get my army back.  After a few more days as a prisoner I decided I would do it right.  I gathered another army and arrived back in the Falcon-wood just in time to see a vassal wipe out the renwalds, and free all my hired soldiers so they could join their army.  In a rage I lashed out at the vassal, attempting to take my troops prisoner then encourage them to rejoin the army of Jimmy!  Again to my great sorrow I failed....I hate this game...can't wait to play again tonight.

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