Mount & Blade: The Next Steppes

By Kieron Gillen on April 28th, 2008 at 10:47 pm.

And lo! my evening was gone. V09.5 of Mount & Blade has been released. This isn’t the fabled V1.0 yet – which will come out later in the year, with proper real-world distribution by Paradox – but apparently includes the vast majority of the content Taleworlds plan for it, with primarily polishing, bugfixing and balance-balancing ahead of them. Which means it’s a good time to start playing this Pirates-but-with-Medieval-blokes-and-Serious (fairly). I love Mount & Blade – it’s like an alternate dimension of idea of what the RPG would be like if the genre was created by people who’d only had a game of D&D described to them rather than ever playing it. Expect to read much more about it when it finally hits 1.0 – from everyone, and not just us – but it’s not too late to be ahead of the curve.

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30 Comments »

  1. Seth Tipps says:

    Sweet. I was all too happy that this took up as much of my time as it did last time you guys posted about it.

  2. Ted says:

    Is there actually a game here at this point? I tried it out many versions ago and it was basically just a tech demo at that point. You ran around getting into random fights, but there wasn’t really any coherent game.

  3. Kieron Gillen says:

    Ted: In short, yes.

    KG

  4. gromit says:

    Isn’t the combat in this better than in Oblivion?

  5. sinisteragent says:

    Isn’t the combat in this better than in Oblivion?

    Miles better, even a couple of releases back. I am glad that M&B is getting all this exposure (although I’ve no doubt I’ll end up murdering the half a dozen friends who start telling me about this “new game” they’ve bought), as it is excellent.

    An RPG – but fun! It’s a stabby stabby game that isn’t about endlessly clicking on 400 rats to raise a percentage by 1, but about running around playing stabby stabby, with crossbows, vikings, farmers, killing a man’s horse as he charges down on you then twatting him over the head with a lance, fighting all you like in tournaments, wading through a crowd of peasants while swinging a sword and everything that medieval-ish RPGs should have been all along.

    However, I have not yet received my cheque from the developers, despite flirting with their new lackey on two separate occasions. 3/10.

  6. Will Tomas says:

    Thank Horace the Endless Bear for games like this. Any effort to take the RPG away from D&D stat-grinds can only be heartily applauded, slapped on the back, and passed a foaming tankard of ale.

    My only slight regret about it is that it would probably need fancier graphics and unit models to become a properly mainstream hit.

  7. CryingTheAnnualKingo says:

    Ted:
    I assume you mean some kind of campaign or “story mode”.

    The beauty of the game is that you make own story and are not at the mercy of the developers ability to write.

  8. RichPowers says:

    The first thing my friend did upon installing a quad core processor was fire up M&B and populate a battle with an ungodly number of adversaries. For 10 straight minutes, he slaughtered waves and waves of enemies using axes, bows, and swords. No other game has so effectively captured the visceral thrill of medieval combat.

  9. malkav11 says:

    I’m really not self-directed enough to get much out of completely sandboxy games. So unless there’s some sort of coherent structure to be had, I suspect I’ll have to give this version, like the others previous, a miss.

  10. Raskolnikov says:

    By chance I decided to give this a go last week and it was great, a real breath of fresh air, but with a very old school feel. I do prefer the combat in this to Oblivion, galloping around on a horse chopping up passing soldiers is great fun. The new version feels a little less accessible than the previous one due to the neutral town vanishing, and it has introduced a couple of annoying things, but it’s well worth persevering with.

    One thing that struck me about the game was that despite it’s almost complete lack of story, the story that emerges purely through the player’s interaction with the sandbox world is really rather compelling.

  11. Maltose says:

    There’s no coherent storyline. The game basically drops you down in the middle of a town, with a bit of money, equipment, and troops, and lets you do as you please. 95% of the game involves you and/or your army killing things. If you’re not fighting random parties on a plain, then you’re sieging a town or castle. The lack of a storyline is not a major fault though, as the combat is the star if the show. Any sort of sort that they could add would merely be a pretext for more combat. While the vanilla game has not storyline, a storyline can be added through mods. However, none of the major mods really have a storyline. At most, they have a narrative arc (for example, Expanded Gameplay, a hardcore mod, has your character eventually gain immortality and sail West. When you return from the West, gunpowder is introduced to the world.

    For anyone who wishes to buy Mount&Blade, it is best to buy it soon. The price goes up every time a “final” (as in all major bugs have been patched out) version of a beta comes out. Within a few weeks, all the bugs in the 0.95x release will be ironed out and the price will go up.

  12. dartt says:

    Man this thing has been on my computer since it appeared on a PCG demo disc years and years ago. It’s been great coming back to it every few months and checking out the progress that they’ve made.
    The last update I tried really impressed me, they’d completely changed the world map and added huge roaming armies fighting in dynamic wars.

    Each time I boot it back up again it usually absorbs at least a week of my evenings until a crushing defeat sees me lose my army, money and equipment. Damn those black knights!

  13. Kieron Gillen says:

    Re: Sandboxing. I’d say it’s less of a Sandbox than – say – Elite. There’s lots of people to give you actual quests. There’s an actual war on, with all the nations being able to capture each others lands and similar.

    KG

  14. Turin Turambar says:

    I bought it yesterday, 19.5 euros. I tried it around two years ago, and the combat was already miles better than DoMM or Oblivion, but around that version the game didn’t have a real objetive. Now i read it that there is a real war going on with the kingdoms and you can conquest the enemy cities until finally winning, and much more variety in quests, so i jumped in and draw out my credit card.

  15. Lou says:

    I bought it 3 years ago or so, but haven’t touched it in ages. Thanks for the reminder, I loved it to bits at the time.

    Only problem could be that I might have to buy it again as I have no idea if I still have the code. :)

  16. FP says:

    When I first played this game I sunk more hours into it than any other game that year, the combat is incredible, the dynamic world in this new version is just the icing on the cake.

    p.s. I might be the only person who didn’t know about this until today but try hitting backspace during a battle and you get a little orders screen including click-to-order minimap, not sure what version that got added in.

  17. Kieron Gillen says:

    FP: Wow. Had no idea about that. Awesome.

    KG

  18. Marcin says:

    I didn’t either and I’ve been playing this thing since it cost 6 bucks!

    Of course, since I restarted again, it’ll be ages until I need a tactical overview :) This version’s a bit more punishing than .93.

  19. Therlun says:

    I have to disagree with the “its an actual game now” comment.
    It is a great Mounted combat simulator, but the actual game is still pretty nonexistent.

    - Sieges are implemented terribly (you basically have to grind the numerically far superior garrison down in endless attacks, doing most, if not all the killing work yourself),
    - there is no interaction with the Lords besides the basic delivery and kill quests (the new war campaigns are just annoying),
    - the whole world map system with army speed and conversion choices is one dimensional, and very basic, the general interaction with the world is very primitive.

    I love the combat aspects of M&B, but there are many, many annoying things that would need (much) work to make a proper “game”.
    It has a very nice list of features, but those features are implemented only in the most basic way, often actually reducing the fun of the game.

  20. Fat Zombie says:

    Huh. I’ve just installed it, and I’ve been having movement problems. When I press a key or mouse button – say, to move forwards – the keyboard will suddenly stop responding for a while, and the avatar will just move forwards. Annoying. Anyone else got that?

  21. sinister agent says:

    I love the combat aspects of M&B, but there are many, many annoying things that would need (much) work to make a proper “game”.

    Seconded. The overland map and tracking system was a great idea, but the dozens of enormous rampaging armies render it pretty broken now (I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve used the teleport cheat just because it’s literally impossible to escape a superior force without losing absolutely everything), a lot of the missions and interactions are a chore and the arenas seem to get worse with every version. Why they STILL won’t let you choose your weapons and team is beyond me – and now they’ve taken out the pitched battles on demand, and just to take the fun out of their replacement, you get to spawn in right on top of three enemies half the time, too.

    It’s still loads of fun (and totally worth buying for those of you mad enough to have neglected to do so) simply because the fighting is so damned satisfying, but they really need to stop adding new features before they’ve fixed the long-standing problems.

  22. FP says:

    @sinister agent

    I really hope they don’t give you a choice of weapons in the arena, I’m weak, I’d just pick lance every time to guarantee victory. I like that arena forces you to learn weapons you wouldn’t normally use (just had a good tournament where in the final I got bow vs 2h sword, just scraped through with 10% health left).

    I agree about the overland map though, I probably spend half my time as a prisoner. :) Maybe they could give the player a slight speed boost over other forces (with the option to turn it off for the hardcore crowd).

  23. Rook says:

    One would like to think they were releasing V0.95 rather than V09.5 before V1.0.

    I should probably try this game out again, but I’m too much of a graphics whore.

  24. Tornus says:

    All I have to say is never accept a quest that involves herding cattle. Man does it suck!

  25. Noctifer says:

    What caused the married couple who makes this to dedicate so many years of their life to M&B?

    I’ll probably never know, but I’m eternally grateful for their great work! I doubt they even play games themselves, as M&B is so free of the usual rpg influences that only a non-gamer could design this imo. The result is a dash of strategy mixed with fps-like combat where every swordstroke or parry is controlled by you, your actual skill with the interface and your ability to command your troops is by far the most important factors regarding the battle outcome.

    Every faction in M&B specialize in different troops, some have great archers, crossbowmen, pikemen or mounted troops, and learning the strengths and weaknesses of your faction aswell as how to best use them is a must. It also makes the replay value great, playing for another faction makes you learn and master different strategies in the field.

    While the AI is weak by default, making life easier in the early stages of the game, boosting the AI will make your army more useful. Your foes will be harder too ofcourse, but I find that commanding the army is even more fun than slaughtering the foes myself in the long run :)

    If you like M&B, you should buy it. Its a small price to pay compared to all the work that has gone into making this, they truly deserve the support. It might even show the industry that there is better ways to go than staying with the same old tried and true recipe :)

  26. blind_sniper says:

    hey i need help i love this mount and blade trial version butim trying to buy the full version but every time i try to go to the taleworlds website to buy it the website never loads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! where can i buy the key code or where can i find a real crack to be able to play the full version?/ email me!!!! —— crazy_guy343@hotmail.com

  27. lord fatty says:

    i love this game it is great the way you can make your own story and make your way of life but i think they should add that u can get married to one of your companions or a ladie

  28. Tizon says:

    Can someone pount out the differences between the retail version (the version for sale in game stores) and the full version you pay to get off the net, eg v0.95 ? I want to know the improvements but i dont want to play through the game again, because i have started my own faction and conquered the whole world on V0.95 and i dont want to do that again lol.

  29. savage says:

    if your guy starts moving foreward, you probably accidentally pressed the cheat ctrl+F5. Try these cheats out! Ctrl+ f4,,ctrl+ ctrl+f5, f6, f7, f8, f9. may be more. but the most awesome cheat is …………………………………..teleport! hold control and click anywhere on the map.

  30. savage says:

    Also for those who enjoy m and b, go to the Tale Worlds Unofficial mod repository. It lists a lot of new (legal) mods make by taleworlds make the game better and different.
    See ya!

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