With Fire & Sword – Captain Smith, Pt. 1

By Quintin Smith on May 13th, 2011 at 2:37 pm.

To boldy shank where no-one has shanked before.
I’ve been meaning to take a stab at free-form medieval RPG series Mount & Blade for years. YEARS. So it thrills me to say that I’m currently having an incredible time with Mount & Blade: With Fire & Sword, the latest game in the series which came out last week.

Join me for the adventures of Captain Smith, the worst mercenary leader to ever roam Eastern Europe.

The Mount & Blade games are all about getting involved in the warfare and violent politics of medieval Europe in a very real way. The end game sees you leading your grubby band forth to siege cities, instigate rebellions, and even work with rightful (or pretend) heirs to out various kings and leaders to slot your boss in their place.

To start with, though, you’re placed at the very bottom of the ladder. You are a dude with a shirt and a sword. And I’m going even lower.

For starters, there’s an option in the menu, on by default, which causes your hero to take half damage in combat. I quickly correct that. Also, in character creation, I shunt all of my points into Intelligence and Charisma rather than Strength and Agility. I want to see just how bad a fighter I can take to the top.

If I listen very closely, I think I can hear the game laughing in my face.

As for looks, I spend some time wondering whether to give Captain Smith a haircut that looks like the world’s most terrifying leech-

- but eventually settle for something more scholarly. This, my friends, is the man who will come to be feared throughout Eastern Europe, where Fire & Sword is set. Men will learn to tremble under his milky gaze.

The game’s tutorial kicks off with your character arriving in a town beset by looters. A decrepid man wearing a dressing gown comes jogging up and starts beating Captain Smith like a carpet.

A dreadful turn of events! This is NO WAY TO TREAT A HERO and will not be tolerated. I begin waving my sword around in semaphore until the elderly criminal accidentally gets in the way of it and concertinas to the ground. A noble kill!

Down the road a band of French “adventurers” are preparing for an assault by even more looters, and ask for my aid.

This is going to be messy. Or is it? Captain Smith has a plan.

Once the melee begins, I boldly step away and circle round to the rear, where I can poke holes in the looters from behind, not unlike a man trying to hit a light switch with a broom, but I emerge from the fight unscathed. I am a man of wit and foresight, it is true.

Modest, too! I am destined for greatness. Is there somewhere I have to register for a castle? Because that should happen.

The Frenchmen hand me a pistol and instruct me to shoot a lock off the stable door, despite the fact we’re meant to be protecting the town from looters. Nevermind. Now, firearms is actually what I put all of my (few) weapon skillpoints into during character creation. They’re a new feature of Fire & Sword. “Watch this!” I think to myself, take aim and… miss.

With my new bloodstained French friends watching, I painstakingly reload the gun (it takes some eight seconds) and fire again. And miss again. For my third shot I walk right up to the padlock and shoot the lock off at point blank range.

This does not bode well.

The Frenchmen and I commandeer ourselves a horse each, ride out and slay the rest of the looters in a battle across a shallow river that probably would have looked really cinematic had I not been off to the side, taking potshots with my pistol. I think I hit somebody at one point but it’s hard to tell because when I’m holding down the aim button and my screenshot button at the sime time I expand the game’s console, unintentionally blinding and paralysing myself.

Oddly, there doesn’t seem to be an option to join up with the Frenchmen after the battle. Pfft! As if I would have asked them, if, you know, it had been an option. Sorry lads, but I’ve got this whole manifest destiny thing to take care of. The Frenchmen do, however, give me some tips, and I listen carefully. Apparently this whole region is rife with conflict between the Moscovites, the Polish, the Crimean somethingorother, the Swedish and somebody else. They also tell me that I might find work in the nearby town of Zamoshye, and the nearby castle of somethingsomething.

I bid them farewell and ride off on my stolen horse, impatient to become a legend.

The queasy-looking village elder of Zamoshye has a couple of things a man of future wealth and taste such as myself might help him with. First, the Mayor of the nearby castle of somethingsomething is taxing his village too much, and someone must persuade him to go easy on the peasants. Second, there are some bandits in the forest that need taking care of. No problem, guy, I tell him. This? This is easy. This is no problem.

My plans are threefold- (1) ride to the castle and have a word with the mayor, (2) hire some mercenaries while I’m there with my small pouch of change, and (3) profit.

(1) goes wrong because it turns out the “mayor” will not be persuaded, thanks to my persuasion skill of 2. I elect to pay off the villagers’ taxes myself, in secret.

(2) goes wrong because I no longer have enough money to hire a large amount of dudes. I only have enough to hire five bearded drunks who call themselves “pikemen”.

(3) goes wrong because when I return to the mayor he gives me 100 thaler as a reward for getting the taxes lowered. I paid the mayor 200 thaler to make it happen.

Still, early days yet! I head into the forest to find the bandits. And I find them!

Oof, six of us versus six bandits. This one could be close… but you don’t go down in history for not taking risks, says Captain Smith. CHAARGE!

This time around I do an excellent job of fighting, almost certainly killing a man. Basically with my pikemen in the fray, I’m free to sit high on my horse and oversee the proceedings like Hell’s own tennis umpire, and instead of calling shots I’m taking shots. BANG! Reloadreloadreloadreload BANG! Miss! Swear. Reloadreloadreloadreload

The final tally when the smoke clears is six dead bandits and three dead pikemen. My first proper battle is a success. Nothing for it but to ride back to Zamoshye and collect my reward in oh wait shit hang on what

WHAT?! NO NO NO

About two hours into the six hour ride back to Zamoshye my party is ambushed by bandits. Specifically, the “Zamoshye Bandits” who I was sent to get rid off. I’m left wondering who in the shit I just ordered my men to kill.

The Zamoshye bandits ask for money. I have none. I say this hoping my men don’t overhear as it’s payday in a week.

Three of us versus seven bandits. This one could be close… but you don’t go down in history for not taking risks, command Captain Smith. CHAARG– OH JESUS MY NECK

I haven’t even loosed my first pistol shot when one of the Zamoshye bandits, who it turns out are marginally better equipped than the paupers I just brutalised, pegs me in the chest with a musket shot. Captain Smith goes tumbling off his horse like a sack of potatoes.

…my… my men… you must fight… for… me.. you don’t go down in history… for… oh, balls.

Oh, this can’t be good.

__________________

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67 Comments »

  1. Dominic White says:

    Personally, I prefer the original Mount & Blade: Warband. What With Fire and Sword gains in terms of historical accuracy and technology, it loses in terms of pure videogamish variety and balance.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      O RLY

      You find Warband has more to see and do?

    • Dominic White says:

      With Fire And Sword limits itself both geographically and historically. It’s historically accurate, sure, but it is somewhat more constrained in terms of player freedom. Warband lets you do stuff as outlandish as playing as a NotViking bandit queen, who sacks the border regions of her own nation, escapes to the NotEgyptian desert, and raises a camel-borne horde to take NotEurope by force.

      I also highly recommend the Floris Expanded Mod Pack for Warband – http://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/board,197.0.html – most of it is just aesthetic improvements, but there’s some fun additions, like more unit types, more weapons, more battle-maps, etc. It’s a honking great ‘best of the community’ combo mod, and pretty well designed overall.

    • T4ffer says:

      I think With Fire & Sword removed Tournaments (good way to make money) and Ruling Your Own Kingdom (I never got that far anyway) and some more features. As I understand, WFS was originally not for the Warband engine but was ported to it later but didn’t add all the features. There was a poll on the Taleworlds forums that also detailed some of the differences, looks like most people preferred Warband.

      Personally I’m thinking of going back to Warband as well, though I must start over as I lost my saves :(

    • Dominic White says:

      Just to clarify, the Floris mod pack is a compilation of enhancements and tweaks to the base vanilla game. Unlike most of the larger mod projects for M&B, it doesn’t try to reinvent the game, change the setting or wildly alter the core gameplay. For that mots part, it’s just vanilla++

    • Maltose says:

      @Taffer:
      1) You are correct, there are no more tournaments, so making money is harder than before.
      2) You can still rule your own kingdom if you play through the story questlines (Tip: The special missions are generally for starting the questlines.).

    • Torgen says:

      I am so going to finally fire up Warband this weekend. Bought in last year’s Steam Summer Sale for the RPS shenanigans which were going on, but never joined.

    • Davee says:

      I heed you; play Warband! It has a ton more features and higher-quality content. A better game overall if you ask me.

    • Dominic White says:

      Warband + Floris is really fantastic. Among the additions are more varied quests, dialogues, diplomatic options and such. It fleshes out the whole campaign a ton.

  2. Crimsoneer says:

    See, this is the problem with Fire and Sword. All it takes is one mistake and …eurgh. Fall of horse, look like pillock, waste 2 weeks travelling around in some bandits rucksack. It encourages more tactical battles, but the AI is still just as retarded as it was in Warband, and now you can’t compensate for it by being superman anymore – especially in sieges, where you have 50 musketmen on the walls taking potshots at you like fish in a large, field-shaped barrel. You need to be tactical, but M&B just wasn’t built around you having a brain with tactics in.

    • Nihilille says:

      The thing with Vanilla and Warband was that you could win every battle by being tactical, you didn’t even have to raise a finger with your own superman char (well, sieges exempt unless you had enough Huscarls). Placing Infantry in front in a tight row, marksmen behind them in a spread out formation, all this in a slope so the enemy had to ascend to get to you, cavalry following you for a flank, you could win anything without major losses. Now in F&S if you park your infantry in front of your marksmen, good fight good night because they get killed by the first volley of the approaching army and your musketeers sure aren’t good in a scrap.

    • Corrupt_Tiki says:

      Losing is FUN! .. erm .. sometimes

    • Snidesworth says:

      @Nihilille

      I haven’t tried Fire & Sword myself so I don’t know if this works, but why not put the marksmen line up front in loose formation and have the infantry behind them? That way they’ll exchange fire with the enemy marksmen, perhaps killing some of their infantry as well, and then you can pull them back and/or charge the infantry through their limes when the time for melee comes.

  3. Nihilille says:

    It’s just too difficult, I’m loathe to admit. And I’ve clocked in 250-300h in Vanilla and Warband campaigns. At first you get raped by anything with a musket, no matter how fucking ace you are at trying to ride in circles taking potshots. And then once you get ahold of some cash and hire an army, those bandits will just run the fuck off leaving you with nothing to level up on except other generals, who inevitably have more muskets and will just grind your army down. I’m disappointed :(

    • Quintin Smith says:

      I might not have experience with the other M&Bs, but I’m finding my character and my army growing at a… well, I don’t want to spoil it.

    • Nihilille says:

      Yeah I understand perfectly what you mean. After I found out how to actually get an army though I went from 5 men to 50 in 2 minutes, because who in their right mind doesn’t want to go for maximum force, and it just fucked my game completely :/ I’m certain there’s an overly present moral somewhere in that story.

      Edit: Addendum – I love gaming journals/Let’s play so the article itself was a great read :)

    • Atomosk says:

      My usual tactic is to have musketeers/a few heavy infantry stand on the highest hill in range then I’ll ride off at full speed and try to distract as much of the enemy army as possible. I’ve kited up to 20 heavy infantry in a circle while my muskets picked them off. Muskets almost always miss me as long as I don’t ride straight at them.

  4. pepper says:

    Remember the legendary words of Douglas Adams: Dont panic.

    So, dont, getting captured can be fun!(lie).

  5. LazerBeast says:

    I’ve found the only way to fight a horde of musket men is with my own horde of musket men.

    Fight fire with fire.

    Sorry.

  6. Darkelp says:

    Good start so far, I really enjoy RPS diaries, I think there should be more of them.

    I look forward to the next update.

    Plus Mount and Blade has always intrigued me, so this may sway me to purchase it.

    • ryth says:

      You should download the demo off steam just make sure to get Warband and not the original. It lets you play the full game up to level 10, which is most likely over 20 hours of gameplay. If at that point you decide you want to buy it you can just copy your save game over to the full game and continue your quest.

      I had delayed playing this game for over a year and the one day bored fired up the demo.. in the month or so since I’ve got over 50 hours of gameplay out of it and I’m still learning new things.

      Once you get a handle on things in vanilla install the Floris mod pack it adds a lot of good features (in particular diplomacy/fief management and troop trees).

  7. x25killa says:

    Yup. Sounds similar to what I did in Fire & Sword… except I purchased a shield.

  8. McDan says:

    Sweet, love the game diaries here at RPS. For glory and profi!

  9. Basilicus says:

    Damn it, I will not spend my weekend going back to Warband. I won’t. I cannot just drop everything and play Warband while ignoring my previous plans. I…I…well, maybe…just a little. I’m sure I’ll be able to stop after an hour or so….

  10. facupay says:

    The best to way to win money in with Fire and Sword is using caravans and trading. I got ridiculously rich by buying velvet in the Crimean Khanate and selling it in Moscow.

  11. Duckee says:

    It is a well known fact that the entire Mount and Blade franchise perseveres because of its excellent modding community. What I mean is that I found both Mount and Blade and the expansion worthless and tedious, but have sunk well over 50 hours into mods.
    My favourite is Prophesy of Pendor, and is one of the more popular mods for Warband.
    Link: http://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/board,119.0.html?PHPSESSID=fbkdguvvtbaeqobg971dbneac3
    That being said, it has to be pointed out that this sequel was originally a community mod too.

    • sinister agent says:

      I was under the impression that it’s successful because no other game has ever done swordy/arrowy combat in a way that’s actually fun.

  12. Betamax says:

    Love this, been wondering what this game is like and this style of humorous narrative always draws me in. Look forward to reading more!

  13. Zefah says:

    Hilarious article that perfectly mirrors my first experience with this game.
    Thanks for the laughs, Quintin.

  14. Shatners Bassoon says:

    The problem I had with F&S is that it was just a rather bad mod I paid £10 for, I paid willingly though because I really want to see Mount & Blade 2 sometime soon. But I quickly went back to Vikingr for multiplayer and Brytenwalda, Floris, 100 Years War, Europe 1200 and countless other superior mods in production for Warband for my singleplayer fix. So as it stands the 104 minutes I played of F&S just don’t compete with what a loving community can craft for free with more features and better support.

  15. Radiant says:

    Good shit Quinns.

    I have the same issues with RPGs.

    I played Dragons Age with the intention of being the most heroic dragon riding lothario in all of Ferelden

    So I created a Rogue who looked like R. Kelly.

    But A) my family was white and B) as a Rogue I was completely shit in a fight; which doesn’t help when the first big battle is your entire party getting chased around a room by a giant fucking ogre smash with no help text.

    They need to be front loading these games with at least some triumph god damnit.

    Just once I want to start a game with 3 dicks, a whore on each, riding in on a dragon who is finger banging 2 other dragons, middle fingers blazing at the law.

    Is that too much to ask?

    • Harlander says:

      *checks clipboard*

      Yes.

      Yes it is.

    • sinister agent says:

      I’ve definitely had that problem in others – most RPGs in fact, I’d argue. However, while I can’t speak for feuer und stahl, but in M&B, you can actually do really well as a charisma/intelligence person from the off. The difference between a fighty character and a clever character very early on is really quite trivial when it comes to a fight, and most of the skill needed then is still in the hands of the player. Intellingence could even give you a slight edge, as it gives you extra skill points, which can be sunk into skills that keep your dudes alive and allow you to recruit more.

      In Quinnseseses’ case, it seems to me that money was the real problem, not his stats, which is a problem all starting characters have. Had he sunk points into weapon skills instead, he’d still only be marginally better in a scrap.

  16. jack4cc says:

    The original warband is better, because you don’t have to spend your time hiding behind hills, trying not to get shot in the head by 50+ musketeers.

  17. Anonymous Coward says:

    The one thing I’m afraid of in wF&S, as I have yet to play it but have enjoyed warband, the real progression of general from gore slogging rage driven achilles to “I think I’ll hang back here where there are less walls of muskets”. How much does it force this? Are muskets quite lethal or very lethal? One of the most hilarious, but anticlimactic aspect of battle was riding around on a horse by some very rowdy norsemen or archers and having a slew of thrown or shot projectiles zip by you, and then the glorious random one to the face that hits you dead on. Javelins, axes, and arrows were all very deadly before, how much more dead can you get?

    • Meneth says:

      Very lethal. On half damage with okayish armor, 2 shots will take you out (the first one getting you down to 1/4 or so health). With full damage, I assume one shot is enough. I have no idea how much of a difference better armor makes, as I didn’t play very far.

    • zal says:

      its not so much its more lethal, but its more lethal from longer range with less warning. you could see axes and javelins coming, and take the occaisional arrow hit even with d/r off. and all of those are pretty clearly visible. your only warning you’re being shot by muskets is the puffs of white smoke from the other side of the map AFTER the shots hit you. I’ve definitely been one shotted in the first 30 seconds of the fight while poking through the orders interface trying to get my gunners in a line.

      which isn’t to say its not fun. Its just brutally horrifically punishing with damage reduction off, realistic mode on, and the ai bells and whistles activated. I hired on a conquistadore-ish companion specifically to take his armor, so that at least pistol shots weren’t always fatal.

      I haven’t played any M&B with damage reduction on, but.. I’m leaning closer to it, as I keep having my fortunes ruined by angry bandits, and guns are incredibly expensive, making it hard to get back in the fight, once yours is stolen.

  18. Jake says:

    First off, let’s remember that this game is built off the Mount and Blade engine which actually allows for better frame rate and better game engine. Warband runs like m-o-l-a-s-s-e-s and has many more graphical glitches, at least for me.

    Let me BE clear, I love the choices that Warband offers but you don’t have any direction to go. While it’s cool to get married, fight in tourneys for big bucks, recruit from any village you come across you have no direction. While F&S doesn’t have a in depth storyline, it gives you special missions for each faction that allow you to get in with any faction you please. It also throws you curve balls during those missions so you can betray or stay loyal.

    Also all the Mount and Blades have been friggin difficult. I don’t know about anyone else but every hero I’ve ever played has been captured many times. Muskets don’t add that much more difficulty to the game in my opinion. Ride in a straight line at a musket and you’ll be dead. Same as if it was throwing axes, arrows, or other ranged weapons in Warband and M&B. Ride around them while they try to fire and lead a cavalry charge into the side of exposed Musketmen. Sweet revenge!!

    I’ve only logged about 10 hours +/- into F&S but I can say without a doubt that it is a much more satisfying experience for me. I love recruiting mercs and I can’t wait until I have my own little town to recruit Winged Hussars in!!

  19. Faldrath says:

    While I understand that M&B veterans have their reservations about WF&S, for people like Quinns, and myself, who had never played M&B before, this game is a lot of fun. And I personally prefer the historical setting instead of a fantasy one – not to mention the storyline quests, which, although a bit bugged at the moment, do add a different sense of purpose to the game for people who like that sort of thing instead of a pure sandbox.

  20. thesundaybest says:

    Quinns, your narratives about your time in games are easily my favourite reads on the site – and that’s saying something. Thanks for doing this again.

    Uh…something about this game being better/not as good as the last game. Yeah.

  21. bluebogle says:

    Having played Warband for years, I can’t even play this new version. It stripped out so much of what makes the series fun. I would strongly recommend Warband to anyone who would listen. I’d return this game if Steam allowed it.

  22. Oculardissonance says:

    I hated the whole wagon fort thing in WFS since some of my armored badass horsemen carbiners would inevitabley get sniped trying to melee the indestructible wooden blockade. Whenever I had the foresight to build my own wagon fort no one would attack me so I just looked liked a douche pottering around the outskirts of epic battle with my sausage cart. I finally learned to dismount charge and keep around some poor Polish Mercs as meat shields. In the age of gunpowder life is very cheap your super troops will die and you will get your face blown off. At least no one is using grenades on me yet. I do like getting ambushed in dark alleys and having to play hide and seek with my pistol instead of the old default stick though. WFS is different than WB, it teaches you to fear bullets, which overall isn’t a bad thing.

    • Faldrath says:

      Yeah, you really should have an option to reorganize your troops if you know the enemy is using a camp. I usually have Winged Hussars at the front in cavalry battles, but they’re a real headache on camp battles since they have no ranged weapons, and I keep having to babysit them otherwise they’ll just charge the camp with their swords and get turned into Swiss cheese.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Yu know you can tear down the wagon fort whenever you like, yeah? So if you’re bigger than an enemy, and they run away from you, tear down the fort and go get them. Why are you using a wagon fort if you are stronger anyway?

  23. iLag says:

    [haven't started wF&S yet, so this whole post is slightly off-topic, sorry] I just have to ask if there is some summary of the best and most populated mods for Warband. Having just started with the expansion and liking the multiplayer as well, I nevertheless started to wonder if there isn’t something to make it a little bit shinier and even more awesome…

  24. Burning Man says:

    This hilarious article reminds me of another one, with a suspiciously similar style *raises eyebrow*

    http://livinginoblivion.wordpress.com/2007/02/28/to-sum-it-up/

    Note: To anyone who hasn’t read it before, start here and proceed all the way through to the latest article. It’s well worth it.

    Anyway, Quintin, if you can pull something as silly as this M&B article off on a regular basis, I’ll be your biggest fan.

    • Seymour says:

      Well, that one link sent me into one of my: “Oh, it’s 4:22am already?” Sort of reading moods, as is so often the case… Well worth it, a very funny read, and an interesting take on a game that I am so fanatical about. (Yes, despite it’s numerous flaws.) It is just nice to see someone else interacting with the characters (Down to inconsequential NPCs) who have become so familiar to me.

      Not only that but I discovered a little internet community all of it’s own, which I can only compare to whatever island the dodo’s were on, living the idyllic life undisturbed by predators… More than a year since it’s last update, there are STILL people on the comments section, chatting away about all sorts of strange stuff, creating memes, talking musical theory and roleplaying… Odd bunch, united by the glint of hope of a new update…

      BUT I digress… Great stuff Quins! I love the poop out of your tales, and I love the Mount n’ Blade series too. Though I am yet to get my grubby mitts on the new installment.

  25. Symitri says:

    I found Fire and Sword to be more unforgiving at the lower end but ultimately more satisfying once you’re geared up in armour with a dual-shot gun and access to grenades. Not quite as epic as Warband though, because nothing makes you feel like more an idiot than suddenly falling off your horse to some nameless stranger you can barely make out. It wouldn’t be so bad if the battle went on without you, as is the case when you take out an enemy leader, but losing everything you have to bad luck makes me sulk.

    Great article though, I can only imagine if you had started with Warband!

  26. Emperor_Jimmu says:

    This is my first Mount & Blade also. I have no idea whether or not I’m doing well. Seem to spend most of my time kicking it with the Poles and pillaging Swedish villages (to the dismay of my Swedish flat mate). My band of 70+ men seem happy enough, when they’re not being run through. I get a kick out of having a Swedish chap in my army alongside a Polish colonel who joined specifically because I told him we could kill some Swedes. The implied buddy-cop movie dynamics amuse me.

    Don’t feel especially happy about the guns. It can be very satisfying to shoot a gentleman at point blank range in face, however those fellows seem to have a much stronger grasp of ballistic physics than I do. It can get a little Charge of the Light Brigade at times.

  27. Myros says:

    I made the mistake of thinking this was a ‘sequel’ … turns out its an older game based off the 1st M&B before Warband was released, and just now translated and released in english. IMO Warband is far better.

    I really dont mind wasting my money on this one though, happy to support devs that do interesting titles like these. And hopefully we will get a true sequel before to long.

  28. GenBanks says:

    Really funny article! Even though I own all three M&B games, all I’ve played is the tutorial of the first one. I should really get into it, but I can’t decide which of the three games to play first.

    • JB says:

      Warband, it’s what the original game should/could have been. I was up until 4:15am playing it yesterday. =\

  29. Frank says:

    “I boldly step away and circle round to the rear, where I can poke holes in the looters from behind,”

    Does anyone not do this?

  30. Drake Sigar says:

    “To start with, though, you’re placed at the very bottom of the ladder. You are a dude with a shirt and a sword. And I’m going even lower.”

    Who else thought he was talking about picking a female character?

  31. markventurelli says:

    I had to login just to state my opinion on this: if you want to experience M&B for the first time, by ALL MEANS go for Warband first.

    Warband is much more representative of the series’ gameplay.

    Also, Fire & Sword is a lot clunkier, less fun, and the firearms suck, but this is just me.

  32. Grygus says:

    My first thought was that it was unfortunate that your first exposure to the series was going to be with easily its weakest official entry, and I came in expecting you to be put off the entire idea. Wasn’t expecting such a delightful story… you made me think more fondly of the (unskippable) tutorial scene, which is no mean feat. Thank you for that.

    Saying that Warband is “better” is a sort of loaded statement, because WFaS isn’t trying to accomplish the same things. It’s not quite apples and oranges, but… well, actually it is, since apples and oranges, for all their differences, are quite similar in the grand scheme of things. Warband is open-ended, while WFaS definitely has a narrative to deliver. Warband throws historical realism to the winds in favor of varied and fun gameplay, while WFaS is limited by its choice of greater historical accuracy. That said, and acknowledging some nice touches such as destructible objects, a deeper economic model, and useful castles, Warband is a better game in almost every way.

  33. ORYLY says:

    I thought this would be about Metro 2033 because, close to the end, ranger leader guy captain Smith says that they plan to retake the world with fire and sword. (It turns out his name was Miller, not Smith and I have no idea if he was a captain or not).

  34. thebigJ_A says:

    If you bump into the Frenchmen a bit later on, they give you a quest hook to join up with the Russians. You get a letter of introduction to the crappiest tsarist noble, who then takes you into the service of Mother Russia.

    Oh, and build wagon forts! If you’re going to be attacked by superior forces, build a wagon fort right before they get to you. It gives you a fighting chance against overwhelming odds. (Just make sure you order your duded to hold their ground. Forts don’t help much if everyone leaves them.)

  35. Owain_Glyndwr says:

    I prefer the recruitment in this one- before WFS recruitment was a painstaking process that required you to hire something like 200 peasants by riding from village to village, begging for young men to enter the medieval equinvalent of the Somme, set them loose on an enemy that was overwhelmingly more powerful than them and let nature take its course. For your troubles you’d wind up with around 4 experianced spearman. Now it’s as simple as riding into camp and picking them off a menu. You can even customise their weapons and armour. I miss tournaments though- it’s almost impossible to be independant in WFS, you have to rely on the protection of one nation that will mean all the other nations hate you.

  36. adammtlx says:

    I played the original M&B a lot, modded and unmodded, as well as Warband. Fire & Sword is… a tough game:

    First thing I did was try to attack those same bandits outside of Zamoshye, thinking maybe I could ride circles around them and take potshots. Saw a few puffs of smoke on the horizon and next thing I was staring at the ground while my horse ran off into the distance, lighter a person.

    Reloading, I figured I’d try hiring some help first from the nearby town. Tried convincing the Mayor to lower taxes while I was there, but he wasn’t having it. Recruited some men to help me, rode back to take on the bandits but they were gone. Never saw them again. So I decided to do the most boring task of the three that were asked of me by the Zamoshye elder, which was buying some salt from nearby towns/castles and giving it to his village. I spent the next 30 minutes riding around trying to find 3 bags of salt. Spent nearly all of my money to get them. Brought them back to Zamoshye, the village elder thanked me and gave me some money for my trouble. Maybe half what I spent. He had no other tasks for me. This was supposed to be fun?

    I spent the next few hours trying to side with the Swedes in their war against.. well kind of everyone, asking Swedish Mayors and Generals for various, boring, courier-like tasks or being told to do things like kill “all” of the nearby looter groups (looter groups which promptly scattered in every direction, forcing me to chase one and lose the others forever). My army grew quickly enough, but at some point the bandits I’d been eating became faster than me and I found I had no other options for combat progression other than generals that had armies at least twice as large and, presumably, far more experienced than my cheap tavern-dwellers. I didn’t dare take any of them on because that meant that nation would declare war on me, and I had no allies (my reputation with the Swedes, despite doing all I could to please them, seemed to be growing at the rate of approximately 0).

    Sorry, that was long. The point: starting to think maybe I’ll just stick with Warband.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      Got to ask for special missions to get sided with them. Also, kill enemies of their country. A few battles and some reknown will net you the brownies to become a vassal.

    • adammtlx says:

      Yeah, I did try that, the asking for a special mission. But the mission I was given was one of those “convince two rival lords to come to a peace agreement” missions. Which, at that early stage, was basically impossible for me to complete. I subsequently tried asking for more special missions from other lords, somewhat sporadically, but every time I asked I was told they had no job for me. Try, try again I guess. Thanks.

  37. TsunamiWombat says:

    Fire and sword IS hard. I cheat like a mofo, exporting and modifying my chars stats to max, and even then one or two lucky musket shots can take you down. And this is with 90hp and fullplate and playing the game on easy (1/2 dmg from enemies)

    Sheilds, happily, deflect bullets.

    The best troops in the game are the swedish mercenaries once you full upgrade them, hands down. Them and the Turkish mercs are def the best- don’t even bother with the cossacks, they’re utter rubbish even with full upgrades.

    But my force of Swedish mercs can oblitterate an enemy force twice their size and bust seiges like nobodies business. I think it’s the armor.

  38. King Toko says:

    You should do more stories like this on different games. I’m looking forward to the next part.

  39. lunarplasma says:

    Fun read!