The Many Hilarious Deaths Of Tyrion Lancaster

By Nathan Grayson on October 3rd, 2012 at 11:00 am.

I’ve been playing a bit of War of the Roses lately, and it’s… interesting. I’ve told friends, family, and one very confused flower shop owner that it’s “deeply flawed and disappointingly barebones,” so it seems only proper that I reiterate that sentiment here. There is, however, tremendous fun to be had in the heat of battle – even if it’s fairly short-lived and clunky at this point. One thing that really sticks out, though, is War of the Roses’ death mechanic. In short, getting killed doesn’t actually, well, kill you. Instead, you’re often left bleeding out on the battlefield, waiting for either an enemy to finish the job or some kind soul on your team to use whatever lost-to-time medieval medicine allowed knights to recover from having their spines severed in three seconds. Not only do the mechanic’s nuances create some tremendously silly moments, they also run parallel to many of the game’s ups-and-downs. So let’s explore that via the eyes of a living, breathing, constantly dying pun: my own Tyrion Lancaster.

Tyrion Lancaster is a simple sort. Unlike his namesake, he is good at precisely one thing: stabbing. He stabs and stabs and stabs with his hulking two-handed cleaver until someone stabs him harder, and then he dies and tries again. Sometimes he runs at his opponents – blade aloft in a manner he imagines to be like a shark fin, but it’s really about as threatening as a single stampeding emu – and that doesn’t usually end well. He is, however, admirably consistent in his goals and dreams, and – in that respect – I think he’s a role model we can all look up to. So anyway, let’s derive a series of cheap laughs from his suffering.

Double-killed with one shield - Executions tend to take a few seconds, so they can be interrupted… pretty much no matter where they are in the process of unfolding. Tyrion learned this the hard way when a well-meaning ally saved him from certain death (certain, because he’d already had a shield quite forcefully inserted into his trachea) shortly after the nick of time. Unfortunately, Tyrion’s friend proved less immune to completely unblocked steel-cleaving broadsword strokes than he’d probably hoped, so he went down too. Then, seconds later, our mutual foe went through the entire, exceedingly gruesome execution process again – trachea-smashing included. Tyrion died twice that day, but – like the Phoenix and/or Batman of legend – he rose again. He also adamantly refused to learn anything from the experience.

A lance to the everything - Horsemen are a bit overpowered in War of the Roses right now, and you can’t gain access to mounts until you’ve played for a solid three-or-four hours, at least. Admittedly, many XP-based perks are simply sidegrades, but a few constitute full-on upgrades – which is a big problem. Tyrion discovered this in his trademark fashion roughly seven billion times, with horsemen circling chaotic brawls like armored, lance-flailing vultures who were shaped like people and weren’t actually vultures at all. He’d be minding his own business – stabbing away and having quite a satisfying time of it – when a horselord from the Great Wastes outside Tyrion’s stabbing range would break a lance on his back/head/torso/funny bone. Admittedly, it was wonderful fun when Tyrion gained a steed of his own, but for a time, cavalry was Tyrion’s greatest nemesis.

Trying to joust… without a horse - Eventually, he decided he wasn’t going to stand for it anymore. Well, OK, standing is actually exactly what he was going to do, because he didn’t own a horse yet. But Tyrion’s not so good with words, so you’ll have to bear with him on that part. At any rate, a rider charged him. He charged back, sword aloft in his trademark emu-shark stance. Mercifully, the rider actually missed on the first go-round – probably because he was too busy laughing in disbelief to the point of near-suffocation. The second time, though, Tyrion wasn’t nearly so lucky. But, just as the lance found its home and Tyrion flopped into a quivering heap, the game of team deathmatch ended. “You win!”

An arrow to the wrist - I don’t even understand how this happened. Admittedly, arrows can pretty reliably get one-shot kills when aimed well, but Tyrion was fresh out of wherever instantly reincarnating medieval warriors briefly go, and he practically had a spring in his step. Then an arrow sailed throw his wrist, and his suddenly frail physiology evidently decided it’d had enough.

Spawning off a building - War of the Roses is kind of glitchy. Meanwhile, spawning occurs mainly through a squad system, wherein you essentially fall right on top of allies. Sometimes those allies are, themselves, atop buildings. You can probably see where this is going.

A highly disorganized bloodlust mob - This is the other side effect of War of the Roses’ squad spawn system. Instead of clearing out slowly but surely, battles just keep repopulating. The end result? Gigantic hordes with no semblance of organization. Combat itself is still laden with a surprising amount of split-second strategy, but it’s like an orchestra of supremely talented musicians sans a conductor. Everyone just kind of does their own thing. Tyrion’s thing is stabbing. When faced with more than two foes, though, he doesn’t last particularly long.

Existentialism – Dying in War of the Roses is weird. You lay there – centimeters away from Death’s door – just sort of watching total madness unfold around you. You were part of it once, but it seems like such a long time ago. Granted, after a few seconds, you can surrender, which will send you straight into respawn mode without an execution or revival preceding it. That’s the practical thing to do. I mean, thanks to the squad system, odds are that you’ll spawn very close to where you died. But a lot of the time, Tyrion refused to grovel. Maybe it was stubborn pride. Maybe it was a desire to see his fellow man risk life and limb to help him out of the blood-thick mud. Maybe he was secretly fascinated by the brief post-execution window during which he could still see his executioner loitering near his corpse, mundanely brushing himself off and applying bandages as though graceless, bone-crunching death was the most mundane thing in the world. Whatever it was, though, it probably involved stabbing.

Pretty much all of those at once - This whole process was just amazing. Tyrion lived by the sword until, predictably, he died by a very large number of swords in about 30 seconds – at which point an ally helpfully revived him. Then he almost instantly took an arrow straight to the face, which put him down for the count again. At this point, no less than two horses proceeded to run him over while he rolled on the ground holding his gaping head wound. He held out hope, however, that someone would revive him again. Eventually, someone came along and executed him instead. It was really inspiring up until that point, though.

While winning - This moment pretty much epitomized War of the Roses at its finest. Sure, combat’s a bit clunky, but when you wrap your head around the fact that it’s about men trapped in giant tin cans trying to bash right through said mobile steel prisons, it makes a lot more sense. And though camera jankiness ensures that even masters occasionally succumb to frustratingly out-of-control deaths, trading blows with an evenly matched opponent feels magical. Telegraphed attacks lead to last-second blocks and dodges, and thick armor provides just enough of a safety cushion to encourage stupidly risky counters, parries, and the occasional tackle. So Tyrion and one particularly middling foe locked blades and battled back-and-forth – up and down a hill, through masses of other foot soldiers – for what felt like ages. And then, in an instant, it was over. Both swung, and both fell. At the same time. Then they both got run over by a horse.

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50 Comments »

  1. hewhosayszonk says:

    I’m curious about how the combat works / ‘feels’ compared to mount and blade.

    • Boozebeard says:

      Bad.

      I pre ordered it, played a few games of beta and then asked for a refund. Could just be I didn’t give it a fair chance though.

      • CptPlanet says:

        I disagree.

      • FloorBelow says:

        I agree.

      • BooleanBob says:

        I’m ambivalent.

      • Makariel says:

        I’m confused.

      • Derppy says:

        Why do you think it’s bad?

        I’m a huge fan of Mount & Blade: Warband and from the few hours I spent playing War of the Roses last night, I’d say the combat is pretty similar.

        If you are good at blocking and swinging a sword in M&B, you are good at in in WotR. The hit detection for ranged weapons is absolutely spot-on, the 1h melee weapons feel about the same as in M&B. The 2H weapons felt like they didn’t register all the hits, but I might have been just too close to target.

        The unlock/currency system brings a good sense of progression, but doesn’t ruin the balance. The 4 premade classes you get within the first 2 games are well equipped and it will take some time to get the same level of gear and perks to your custom class.

        The two gamemodes aren’t enough and will probably get dull after a few days, but they are working on a siege mode, which should give some nice variety.

        From what I’ve played of Chivalry beta and WotR, I’d say WotR combat feels more skill-based and fun, while Chivalry has vastly superior objective-based gamemodes. Both are great for any Mount & Blade multiplayer fan who would like an alternative after so many years.

        • razgon says:

          Great news that M&B 2 will be coming out then if people want more of that. This certainly isn’t it :-)

      • S Jay says:

        With me was the same thing. I played the beta for 3-4 hours and then I just uninstalled it. The game is ok, but I believe it is too repetitive. I got tired of it quite easily.

        Not to mention that I was a worse sword fighter/archer/knight than a drunk dwarf.

      • Grey Ganado says:

        I’ve not played it yet.

      • EightZero306 says:

        I’m Batman.

    • Disrespecting says:

      I can’t say i liked the combat at all, It feels very floaty and like it has no weight to the weapon you’re using, mount & blade felt much better to me, have yet to try chivalry though.

    • Unaco says:

      It’s very similar to M&B (thrust/lateral swings/overhead strike), with attacks primed by mouse movement when pressing LMB, shields and RMB will block in every direction, but a two handed weapon needs the direction to block – same controls/mechanics as M&B.

      It is a lot more refined, and a lot tighter though… there’s more mouse control, with attacks following the angle of your mouse a bit more, timing has to be much better, and you have to keep a close eye on your opponent, to grab an opening, if you want to do any significant damage (tickling them with the tip of your sword, or smashing them with the handle of your axe isn’t go to do much)… especially with some of the weapons like the hammers and the polearms… if you can get the range/timing with them, you can, literally, start smashing some heads in. Hit detection is very tight as well, very little lag frustration was felt. And there’s even some localised damage at times.

      Unfortunately, no matter how good the combat is though , that’s pretty much all there is to the game. It looks great, and the combat is good fun (once you pick up some of the finer points) – you won’t always have good fights, what with getting a lance to the back or being mobbed by 4 enemies, but when you get one, it can be great fun, even if you lose.

      • derbefrier says:

        I agree with pretty much everything you said. I have been enjoying it quite a bit.

        Calvary is easy to take down if your equipped for it. I find a good long sword and some heavy armor will slice through a horse pretty well and keep you protected.(keep your visor down noob!) what the game desperately needs is more content. I actually like the combat as is and I believe it only needs minor tweaking here and there.

        I want a siege mode.
        I want a tournament mode with duels, jousting events…and so on.

        I recommend staying away from 64 player servers when your learning or all together. and spend some time whacking at some bots to get used to the finer points of the combat system. I was pretty lost until i did this and the bots are stupid enough to pretty much let you try what ever you want. One of the hardest things to get used to is judging distances. this is vital for slaughtering but once you get it down a big ass hammer will own all those heavy armor guys.

        I think its a good game for the price (i got it for 20 bucks off GMG with the preorder discount and the summer code) I hope Fat shark continues to support and add more content.

        Also it might be important to note I have never played Mount and Blade. I see a lot of those guys saying the combat is too slow for them but for me it seems just about right.

      • Silvermarch says:

        I just want to point out that getting mobbed doesn’t necessarily mean death. In the beta I defeated four archers (actually it was a tie with the last archer) after flanking them with just a 1H sword (no shield) with the effective use of my environment. Very blood pumping by the way.

    • MurderFish says:

      It has the basic premise of M&Bs combat, but the hit detection is so damned PRECISE that it will take you a long time to figure out where exactly to aim, what part of the reticule to use, how far away you have to be, etc., before you can be competitive. Personally, I still suck, but I’m having luck either using a spear with armor-piercing grinds and stabbing away or aiming for the neck in pretty much any context.

      Also, am I the only one who finds it annoying how god damned HARD it is to do damage to guys in full plate armor? I know this game went for realism, but I can’t do a damn thing against them if all my sword can do is forlornly ping off their armor with a vague, polychromatic shield icon announcing god-knows-what other than damage.

      All in all, I find the game quickly frustrating often, but it can be immensely satisfying if you can figure out the system.

  2. Lancezh says:

    Unfortunately not so good, Hit Detection is superb there’s even a dev video about but otherwise… i’m not getting warm with this.

    Chivalry: Medieval Warfare feels much more precise and controlled although it has a completely different fighting system than Warband.

    My suggestion… go for Chivalry you won’t be disappointed or just wait for M&B 2. Warband isnt what i hoped it to be from a combat point of view. (Not commenting on anything else since you asked about Combat)

  3. Premium User Badge Stijn says:

    something something Lannister

  4. wu wei says:

    as threatening as a single stampeding emu

    Clearly written by someone who has never had the pleasure of one attacking them…

    They’re actually pretty menacing :|

    • frightlever says:

      Too true.

      Read the description for the Billy Connolly line, which is a classic.

  5. sonofsanta says:

    So your time as Tyrion Lancaster fell short of expectations then? Seems like the anticipation will dwarf the experience, sadly.

  6. Apolloin says:

    Meh. No singleplayer, not interested. Fortunately Mount and Blade 2 is coming, which I am VERY interested in.

  7. razgon says:

    Its such a shame, because if the games original vision could have been retained, the game would have been a lot more than it is today. Unfortuantely, the lack of modding and no singleplayer campaign which M&B did so exceedingly well, has put it squarely beneath M&B and whats left isn’t enough.

    Its a shame, because the game looks great, and has some great ideas – They just ran out of time / money

  8. Nexozable says:

    I’m just gonna wait for a price drop.

    £24.99 seems far to steep.

  9. harvb says:

    Maybe a daft question, but can you play in third-person at all or is it totally first-person? Just finding it harder and harder to play FPSs these days due to my motion sickness.

    • FloorBelow says:

      It’s only third person, unless you’re using ranged weapons or couching with lance.

    • Snakejuice says:

      Try changing your FOV around if you have problems with motion sickness in FPSs. It usually occurs when the FOV is too low so try turning it up a bit.

  10. wodin says:

    Chivalry I think is the one to buy into.

    • hunsnotdead says:

      This. Both are dumb slashers, but while WotR only has plain deathmatch, and plain deathmatch with some flag capping, Chivalry devs _at least_ tried to make it a bit more teamplay centric and interesting with different objectives to accomplish even changing while the battle goes forward.

  11. Servizio says:

    I was in the beta and I didn’t care for it–it actually got me to try out Warband’s multiplayer, which I enjoyed a lot more. I think you might need a much lower ping than I’ll ever have to really enjoy War of the Roses. Over 130ish and and the combat is just a lot of random swinging and wondering why your blocks never seem to be timed right. The XP was bugged too, so even though I played for a few days I never got any where near getting a horse, so it felt a lot more grindy than intended too.

  12. The Random One says:

    I used to be a Lancaster like you, then I got run over by a horse.

    I almost pre-ordered this, but then I remembered I loathe the very concept of pre-ordering and there is probably no worst time to have a change of heart over that than over a Paradox game, God bless their hearts. Still looks good enough that I’ll give it a try. I’ll wait for a patch and for a price drop at the same time. Efficiency!

  13. bangalores says:

    “Tyrion Lancaster is a simple sort. Unlike his namesake, he is good at precisely one thing: stabbing. He stabs and stabs and stabs with his hulking two-handed cleaver until someone stabs him harder, and then he dies and tries again. Sometimes he runs at his opponents – blade aloft in a manner he imagines to be like a shark fin, but it’s really about as threatening as a single stampeding emu – and that doesn’t usually end well. He is, however, admirably consistent in his goals and dreams, and – in that respect – I think he’s a role model we can all look up to.”

    And that right there is why this site has quickly become my favorite gaming-related news site: Well-written, intelligent, and completely f’ing hilarious. You brits certainly have a way with words.

    • Premium User Badge JB says:

      As a brit, I say thanks.

      However, I should point out that Nathan is across the pond in Unitedstatesland though, unlike the rest of the RPS crew.

  14. Brise Bonbons says:

    Dammit, I wanted to like this game, but the more I read/hear about it, the less I can rationalize supporting it at full price. Unfortunately Fat Shark is not building much of a reputation for following through on their good ideas, these days.

    It’s a shame, Lead & Gold was a really promising start, even if it did launch a bit buggy. That got fixed pretty quick, though, and it would have been fine if it didn’t come at the beginning of the whole “only F2P games are allowed to have a player base” phenomenon.

    Boo. Well, I guess they can make War of the Roses F2P in a month and maybe I can try it then. :(

  15. Ateius says:

    “Horsemen are a bit overpowered in War of the Roses”

    Missed opportunity for an “and in the game” joke, there! Or is it only Alec that does that.

  16. ShatteredAwe says:

    The beta felt way too much like Mount and Blade for me to invest any money in this game.

  17. The13thRonin says:

    RPS why you trolling me?

    Prior articles regarding War of the Roses:

    “I then wrap the interview and return to playing an impressively stable demo of War of the Roses.”
    “It’s shaping up to be pretty special.”
    “I think it’s got a pretty good shot at delivering.”

    I pre-purchase the game… I play the buggy mess that it is (although admittedly after I get past the crashing every 2 minutes issue not totally devoid of fun) and I come back to:

    “It’s “deeply flawed and disappointingly barebones.”

    … Umm… What? That’s a 180 degrees flip right there that would make professional skateboarders proud.

    • Groove says:

      I don’t think many professional skateboarders would be that impressed by a 180.

      • The13thRonin says:

        Professionals know it’s not the complexity of the move it’s the quality of the move.

  18. default_name says:

    I think I played with you today, and maybe even killed you once or twice. Under ‘Grape of Wrath’.

  19. MrUnimport says:

    Does “Lannister> Lancaster” qualify as a pun? It’s like those Pokemon episodes where they substitute the name of a Pokemon for an English word as a pun except that the Pokemon is named after the English word in the first place.

  20. onetrueping says:

    YOU! Now I can put a name to one of my various nemeses! The Red Hand does not forget!

  21. Elevory says:

    I’m surprised no one else got the Game of Thrones reference.

    • Velko says:

      I thought everyone got it, but because it was too obvious most of them didn’t bother commenting on it?