Smelling Sweeter: War Of The Roses’ New Mode

The true origin of the SameFace Brigade's name remains shrouded in mystery, but many top historians speculate it's because most of its members had the same face.

I played War of the Roses, and I liked it pretty well. I also died a lot. But before long, I found my ornate steel shoes sloshing through syrupy pools of repetition. There’s only so much frantic deathmatching and all-over-the-place point-capturing you can do before you start to see cracks in War of the Roses’ armor, and that threshold is woefully low compared to other multiplayer fight-o-fests. Fortunately, Fatshark’s throwing its oh-so-characteristically sharky girth into setting things right, and we’re finally about to see the results. Come Wednesday, you’ll be able to take the exceedingly high-stakes Pitched Battle mode for a spin.

The main goal of Pitched Battle? Don’t die. Granted, that’s also the main goal of pretty much every game ever, but here it’s, um, main-er. Death, after all, is a one-and-done deal. If you get knocked down, you don’t get up again until the next match.

“In Pitched Battle, each knight has only one life to risk on the battlefield per round; when a combatant perishes, he cannot return to the fight until the next match. Bandaging one’s wounds and reviving teammates will be crucial to victory, and executing opponents to keep them out of the fight will decide which is the last team standing.”

On top of that, you’ll also find your warchest stocked with a new sword – the Kingmaker – a new suit of heavy armor, a new helmet, four new visors, and seven new weapons.

Obviously, though, the new mode’s the main event here, and it sounds… hm. I mean, it certainly stands to create a different style of combat. Typically, War of the Roses matches devolve into wild tangles of bodies and blades, but Pitched Battle ought to cut down significantly on reckless devil-may-care behavior. Unless it doesn’t, in which case matches will just be over really, really fast. On the other side of the coin, though, it could also cause a bunch of hyper-cautious turtling, but those are both worst-case scenarios. I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see. Regardless, the main problem is that it doesn’t sound tremendously different from what’s already on offer, and War of the Roses desperately needs something to spice up its samey hack ‘n’ slash stew.

If nothing else, this is the first of War of the Roses’ ongoing monthly updates, so even if this one’s a dud, there’ll be plenty more where it came from. And it’s all free – though you can pay to unlock items faster if you’d like. There’s some seriously fun combat in there, too, so I wish Fatshark the best. But the game’s been out for a little while now, so I think it’s time to kick things into high gear.


  1. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    Sounds like some Mount & Blade Warband modes. I like it.

  2. SubparFiddle says:

    It took them this long to come up with team deathmatch with a life limit? I don’t know if I would consider that an entirely new game mode… Surely there’s more they can do!

    • Berzee says:

      It’s Counterstrike with rezzing!

      In actuallyity, it’s a good idea. =P I don’t play arena mode very much in TF2 but it’s the only thing my brother will ever play, given a choice. GOOD TO HAVE. And the rezzing might give it a bit of a different spin than similar modes in other games. Unless those games have rezzing.

  3. f1x says:

    Which do you guys prefer so far, War of the Roses or Chivalry? or both? or none?

    • Melliflue says:

      I’m also interested to know what people prefer? Is there an RPS community for either of these games? There doesn’t seem to be a thread about them in the forums.

      • Berzee says:

        There’s a couple of pages of posts comparing them here — well, about a page’s worth once you slice out the rampant bickering.

        link to

      • f1x says:

        Sounds like I’ll start with Chivalry then, because I’m mostly interested in chopping heads and having fun also general mayhem

      • Derppy says:

        If you want a very deep, accurate and skill-based combat system, WoTR. You determine the direction, power and momentum of your strikes, that collide accurately with environment, armor and weapons. Blocking attacks takes practice and you’ll have to hit the enemy in the right place, with the right part of your weapon. You can customize your weapons down to shaft materials, steel, edge grind etc, all of which make a small difference and you’ll have plenty of perks to support your playstyle.

        It’s basically Mount & Blade combat system on steroids, it takes some time to learn and you’ll get absolutely destroyed by skilled players, but it’s also rewarding to see how you get better and at some point get to laugh at the guys who blindly swing at you without even attempting to block.

        However, that’s pretty much all there is. The 2 current game modes are dull and repetitive, I find myself going for dueling servers, that run TDM where players just follow an etiquette of bowing at the enemy to initiate a fight.

        Chivalry, on the other hand, has a glorified Skyrim combat system. There’s a few preset attacks without much control, preset classes that allow you to pick weapon, armor is basically an HP boost instead of physical protection, the collision detection isn’t quite up there and you can take off heads with the shaft of your weapon. The stamina system is a bonus, but the system is still so shallow the outcome of fights seems to be rather random.

        Yet still, I’m currently enjoying Chivalry more, simply because it has more (good) gamemodes and the simplified combat works better in chaotic environment with lots of players. In one gamemode every map has an unique set of objectives, anywhere from protecting/slaughtering civilians and taking down a gate with battering ram to defending a king, which is one of the players. The (rather random) dismemberment is also pretty fun.

        If Farshark ever releases the promised siege mode, similar to M&B: Warband, and gets the pitched battle and dueling modes open for all servers, then I’d say it’s a superior game. Currently it’s a superior base for a melee combat game, but not as enjoyable game as Chivalry.

        • darkChozo says:

          I think you’re selling Chivalry’s combat system a bit short. There’s a heavy timing element in the combat system, and while it’s less complex than WOTR it’s still rather skill-based. It’s most definitely not random, a pair of reasonably skilled players can dual and the result is going to be based on who starts slipping up, not sheer randomness (lag notwithstanding). Saying it’s a glorified Skyrim system is a bit silly, that’s like saying Street Fighter is a glorified beat ’em up.

          That being said, most of the time in Chivalry you’re not in a position to duel, as fights usually turn into 2v1s very quickly for someone or other. Can’t really speak to a comparison with WOTR, having not actually played the latter game, though I’ve read about it and have played M&B.

        • Reapy says:

          I’ll give wotr another look in a few more patches but i’d hardly call it warband on steroids, it never even came close to the depth and feel of m&b. Sure it’s got nice hit detection, but it all goes to crap with poor handling of lag and cruddy weapon balance. I was hugely disappointed with wotr on release, I had alpha , beta tested and provided a lot of feedback on where I thought the combat system could use some help, but the game just never came together.

          Chiv does have some depth beyond what is immediately obvious, but something about it over time didn’t sit right with me either, was looking for one of these guys to take what warband multiplayer had and add to it, but they didn’t really accomplish that imho.

          Still both are being activly developed, so worth keeping an eye on. Of the two I would recommend chivalry well before wotr.

    • derbefrier says:

      I have bought and played both. Personally I prefer Chivalry. I like the first person perspective better, weapons feel like they have more impact then WoTR. Chivalry has a stamina system which helps keeps spamming to a minimum, ducking actually has a use. It has a siege mode where you can kill villagers and burn their crops and houses, Its very bloody and fun.

      WotR has some good points. I love its armor system and the hit boxes are superb. Jousting is always fun but I just didn’t like the melee combat that much. It controlled like shit. I always found my self doing shit I didnt want too or having a hard time getting the swing I want to work. I think it was a horrible idea to bind attacks to the movement of the mouse. while your trying to move around an enemy one way but trying to swing your sword another you have to move your mouse in the opposite direction you want to move and it all just becomes confusing and not very intuitive. All i want to do is circle to the right and swing to the left but nooooo I cant fucking do that because of these goddamn mouse controls. WoTR has some cool features but it fails at the most important thing in a game like this. the actual fighting part.

      I am sure many will call me a noob and tell me to L2P. well I did learn and I still hated it. I put in a good 30 hours before I gave up on the game. I could take on 3 or 4 people and take out a couple before I got stabbed in the back by people spawning on the squad leader instantly but winning didn’t make the controls any less shitty and not fun, so I went to chivalry where I had a blast even though I tend to die a lot more than i did on WoTR.

      • Rawrian says:

        Is there friendly, erm, fire in WoTR? The accidental beheading of your teammates in Chivalry is hilarious and brutal.

      • Nyogtha says:

        Agreed. The melee controls are terrible, a bit better if you change them to use keyboard instead of mouse. Chivalry melee combat is far better. Then of course there is ranged combat. This is the one where WotR come up trumps. That said ranged isn’t terrible in Chivalry. I initially bought WotR but have since bought Chivalry, mainly because of the dull game modes in WotR.

        • olemars says:

          The ballista in Chivalry is hilarious though.

          • Rawrian says:

            And the catapult! I kept shooting it until somebody from my team asked me to stop because apparently they were getting under the fire as well.

          • Nyogtha says:

            Especially when you see someone else using it. Looks like Octodad. :O)

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        Boring question: how’s the performance with Chivalry? I meet the minimum spec, and I can generally run U3 games ok – theres no weird framerate stuff going on is there? Oh, for a demo/free weekend.

        • Nyogtha says:

          You could always get an ‘unofficial’ demo from somewhere. That’s what helped me make the final decision to buy it.

        • Davie says:

          It starts to lag when there are around 12 or more players on the screen, but it’s not unplayable, merely annoying. However, lowering settings doesn’t seem to change anything, so I assume it has more to do with the connection to the server than the graphical quality (saying this as someone who knows very little about the technical aspects of multiplayer).

          It’s insanely good fun though; if you have a reasonable computer it’s well worth the purchase.

          • Lolmasaurus says:

            I have a pretty good rig, but from my experiences Chivalry performs admirably for a UE3 game. I’ve never had framerate issues except when trying to record with fraps.

    • aldrenean says:

      I love WotR myself, all the complaints about melee combat can be applied to the Mount & Blade games, so if you enjoy them you should enjoy WotR. The ranged combat is fantastic, using a lance on horseback is quite fun, and the extremely accurate locational damage is really rewarding to master.

      I do wish they would add a first-person melee option, it seems just stubborn to not include it. And it does need a more strongly objective-driven mode, too many people just ignore the capture points and fight off in the corners of the map, which is what Deathmatch is for, but they still get rewarded for it, so they just stay in Conquest servers. Some sort of Assault mode with multiple stages, say raiding a castle, would be amazing.

  4. Merlkir says:

    Oh wow, I bet it took them a while to come up with this one! It’s not like they could swipe it from Warband, like everything else.


  5. Rawrian says:

    Still, melee mechanics are quite silly and clumsy. Having great fun while running, screaming and chopping heads off with a zweihander in Chivalry though.

  6. captain lust says:

    This article is comparable to congratulating a paedophile on giving up smoking.

    There’s much more wrong with this game than the lack of a battle mode.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Your comment is comparable to a serial killer eating your family. Oh wait, no it’s not, that would be ridiculous.

      • Lanfranc says:

        This thread is comparable to Hitler. [/Hitler]

        • cpt_freakout says:

          This whole blog-site is comparable to Hitler’s secret fourth granddaughter founding the Eighth Reich in the middle of Manhattan twenty years ago IN THE FUTURE. I mean what the hell, RPS?!?

  7. SominiTheCommenter says:


    Where are all the mememakers?

  8. The Random One says:

    So the game was a bit drab because it pretty much only had Deathmatch, and so they added Deathmatch (No Respawn)? Not very creative I say.

  9. tres says:

    Uh, so you mean that before there WASN’T a mode like this in this Warband-ripoff? Haha.

    No wonder that this game failed so hard, it actually has 5 times lower average number of players than 2-years old Mount&Blade. I guess it doesn’t payoff that much to exploit small, indie developer’s idea, make a way more primitive clone out of it, add shiny graphics, ruin combat system and call it “our game”.

    • Mattressi says:

      It’s actually less than that now. For the past week, WotR hasn’t broken into the 1000’s for the number of concurrent players (in fact, the highest was around 600), while M&B still hits 5000 every week.

      This mode goes a decent way towards making the game what it should have been on release (given that this was the most popular game mode in Warband and that almost everyone who’s played WotR passionately hates its terrible squad spawn system), but there are still huge issues. Hit detection is still clientside, meaning that if you (with 50 ping) go up against someone with 300 ping, you will try to block their swings, but on their screen you don’t yet appear to be blocking, so they will hit you – often from behind when it looks like they’re in front or from what looks, to you, like they’re 10 metres away.
      To “fix” this, Fatshark put ping limiters on their servers. Unfortunately, they’d already struck an exclusivity deal with the devil (Multiplay) who only have servers in a select few locations – meaning a large number of people couldn’t even join the ping-limited servers for days. Now they’ve made some servers without ping limiters, but still haven’t let people make/rent a local server to play on with their friends.

      This isn’t to mention the balance issues within the game and the generally stupid mechanics: 1 second revives, 2 to 3 second full heals, insanely good squad buffs encouraging the already obviously preferable ganking squads (5 people vs 1) pub stomping everyone.

      It has a long way to go.

      • Reapy says:

        Yeah so nothing changed by the time I left. I am in extreme pessimistic mode because while you can get into lots of easy reasons why the combat sucks, they didn’t even manage to provide a game mode with good flow to it given the existing system.

        I still think a good conquest mode would be way better than battle if executed correctly, not as every map being a tug of war and their squad spawn system. Its just like they didn’t take one second to think about controlling points and map flow, or if they did, they just missed the mark.

        I’m lacing into them a lot because I had put a lot of hope in them for their choice to adopt a m&b style control system, but they really screwed the pooch big time.