Customisable Beards: War Of The Vikings

I don’t know if I’d be more disappointed reading ‘customisable beards’ as ‘customisable bears’ or vice versa. Either way, elaborately braided face furniture is the stand-out feature of the newly announced War of the Vikings. Or perhaps it’s the brutal melee hacking that should give this newly announced game in the War Of The [blank] series an identity of it own. Thrown weapons, including the axe that stars in the teaser trailer below, and a greater emphasis on rapid, vicious bludgeoning and chopping, as shields splinter under the force of beard-powered blows. As with War of the Roses, Vikings follows the ‘pay to prettify’ rather than ‘pay to win’ formula, with longboat-loads of customisation options.

When I first saw the trailer, presented by executive producer Gordon Van Dyke, he was adamant that the new game is not a simple reskin of War of the Roses. We’ll know for sure when we get our hands on it but, for now, here are the facts as presented to us by a press release.

History Comes to Life (and then you kill it) – Historically inspired content from the Viking Age, including levels and environments, weapons, helmets, shields, and heraldry

Close Combat and Ranged Ravaging – Skill-driven fighting blends swinging, blocking, and dodging with intense ranged combat, including arrows, spears, and throwing axes

Mod Your Squad – Enhanced squad features allow players to define a role for their warriors in battle using custom squad perks to buff your hirdmen

A Viking to Your Liking – Design your own Viking or Saxon warrior, choosing everything from weapons and armor to battle perks, customized taunts to unhinge your foes, and a variety of beard options

Pick Your Battles – Game modes include up to 64-player epic battles, new hardcore “Pitched Arena” mode with 32 players and no respawns, and a Training Ground to test out new character builds

The lack of “a variety of beard options” is the great flaw at the heart of many games. From what I’ve seen, the environments are far more impressive than those in War of the Roses, although I am admittedly an admirer of soon-to-be-ruined monasteries and foggy dales.


Top comments

  1. Captain Joyless says:

    I read article title as "combustible beards" and then was confused when the lead-in sentence was about "customisable" bears.

    What this game needs is combustible bears.
  1. Keyrock says:

    Customisable bear beards

  2. BreadBitten says:

    It’s just not a beard unless it’s customizable.

  3. bstard says:

    Not sure the bears can carry this title. Looking at WotR which was one pile of crap: newbies getting owned all over the place, OP weapons, imbalanced armouring.

  4. Captain Joyless says:

    I read article title as “combustible beards” and then was confused when the lead-in sentence was about “customisable” bears.

    What this game needs is combustible bears.

  5. Leb says:

    I sure hope it’s not a WOTR clone

    • Gorillion says:

      They’ve more or less confirmed that, it looks almost identical. I actually didn’t dislike WotR but the lack of game modes made sure I stuck with Chivalry instead. Doesn’t sound like they have anything interesting planned except a (IMO) cooler setting. Not even sure I want to bother with a beta application.

      • Triplanetary says:

        Yeah, I was excited about this until I realized where the “War of the” in the title came from. Love Vikings. Don’t so much love WotR. I mean, it’s not terrible, it’s just not nearly as good as Chivalry.

  6. Aethelwulf says:

    Judging from the screenshots it’s looking just like a reskin of WoTR at the moment, which doesn’t bode well. I shall continue to get my beardy kicks playing Vikingr for Warband with my fellow stinking turds.

  7. Niko says:

    Was it a weak-sighted viking who mistook a tree for an enemy in the trailer? Also, if it has the same combat mechanics as in WoTR, I’d rather play Vikingry: Vikingieval Vikingfare.

    • Gorillion says:

      This. As much as I love Mountain Blade, the heavy armors in WotR turned it into a frantic chip-fest by comparison, not to mention the lack of a single player campaign. Chiv had better combat and an interesting game mode. I’d throw some cash at Courage: Norse Warfare in a heartbeat.

  8. the_fanciest_of_pants says:

    Still play WOTR, can’t wait for this. There can’t be enough Viking based games.

  9. DrScuttles says:

    Upon my face there are two very small patches where my beard ties together in a deeply unsatisfying manner. Long has this issue been a depressing blight upon my entire being, but no more! For with customisable beards comes the ability to live vicariously through a lush, thick, polygonal coating of facial hair in the manner of Jonathan Frakes.

  10. Tei says:

    So this will add to Mount & Blade, War of the Roses,Chivalry …. what has different than this games?

  11. Anthile says:

    If this is going to be anything but a simple reskin of War of the Roses then I’ll eat my beard.

  12. CutieKnucklePie says:

    Of course Mr. Van Dyke would be interested in customizable beards, of course.

  13. razgon says:

    Again no single player and modding I take it? I guess they *really* dont learn from history. Their current War of the Roses is at best, mediocre and had no large success.

    They tried to capitalize on Mount & Blade, without many of the features that made M&B so popular, as Modding and singleplayer.

  14. Sic says:

    This would have been excellent news if it had been coming from the makers of Chivalry, and not WOTR.

    • Reefpirate says:

      Chivalry already feels like a great Viking simulator, as far as the popular conceptions of Vikings go anyway: giant two-handed axes, lots of yelling and screaming and savagery. The only thing missing is the horned helmets and beards.

      • B0 says:

        Can’t see the video from work, but the header image makes me hope they leave out the horned helmets. That’s a myth.

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          Adam Smith says:

          Yep. Van Dyke said as much when he spoke to us. He spent some time talking to archaeologists familiar with the period and, even though the game is ‘historically inspired’ rather than ‘historically accurate’, they’re aiming for clothing, style and weapons that look the part.

          • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

            So, no Mecha-Vikings?

          • Reapy says:

            Maybe they should instead spend time making the engine work properly so blocking actually blocks things, then fix the game modes, then fix the gear climb, remove squad spawning, and multitudes of other problems.

            I find it sad they basically discarded WOTR and will now reskin the same crappy game and cash in on more $$. Fatshark is looking increasingly sleazy in their game development practices to be honest.

      • Tei says:

        ** lots of screaming **

    • Pathetic Phallacy says:

      There is only Mount and Blade 2. All games that are not Mount and Blade 2 are rubbish.

  15. Nein Nein Nein says:

    Yeah, nice setting… but the same goes with War of the Roses and there the developers weren’t able to provide more than a dull and monotonous wanna-be multiplayer game. Greatest disappointment were the boring maps and that in fact nothing happened after the Beta. I don’t need trillionziollions of weapons and armor if the game is lacking of basic gameplay elements. Riding was a joke (especially with these tiny maps), no siege weapons, bad balancing and overall more of a “button mashing”-fighting style. It’s not as bad as Chivalry, but it was a huge disappointment and overall both games are wasted money.

  16. Crosmando says:

    Is Varg Vikernes a playable class?

  17. derbefrier says:

    I didn’t like WoTR all that much. none of the weapons felt like they had any wight to them. It was really spammy combat and the respawn system was horrible and made for boring matches after a few games. I dont think I’ll be buying this since it looks a lot like WoTR. Oh well at least I still have Chivalry to scratch that medieval combat itch. It may not be as complex in its fighting as WoTR but at least its fun and the combat is satisfying.

    • Reapy says:

      Try m&b warband, it does a much better job than wotr and has a few more things going for it. It is a bit dated looking and the player base is pretty good at the moment, but still nothing catches it. Chiv is fun for its own thing but there is not too much room to grow compared to warband.

  18. Piecewise says:

    [Trigger warning: Lack of gameplay video.]

  19. Canisa says:

    All this talk of customisable beards has me wondering if there are going to be female characters in this? You can’t even claim ‘historical accuracy’ to get out of this one, since there’s archaeological evidence of viking women being involved in combat.

    • Triplanetary says:

      Xena’s more realistic than people give it credit for! In that one, narrow, incredibly limited way. But yes, there have most certainly been woman warriors at various times and places in history. Look at Boudica!

  20. dmastri says:

    Further splintering what is already a small player base is just bad business. They should admit defeat and acquire the Chivalry guys; WOTR combat sucks.

    Exhibit A: link to

    • Mattressi says:

      I think this graph better explains the situation: link to

      Notice a 3 year old game is easily beating two 0.5 year old games. Chivalry is fun in a kind of arcadey way, Warband is fun and requires (or allows for the use of) an immense amount of skill. And WotR just takes the Warband system and makes it boring, terrible, clunky and much less skilful.

  21. MurderFish says:

    I really, really hope this turns out better than War of the Roses. The concept was great: accuracy-based damage, different armor values for different body parts, a finely-tuned momentum system, all of this could have added up to a legitimate contender for Chivalry’s bloodlust-inducing combat and maybe even vied for Mount and Blade’s spot on the medieval combat multiplayer ladder. The problem, however, was that it was nigh-impossible to run the game efficiently enough on mid- to low-tier PCs to be competitive. Sure, you could get 30 fps and the game could be pretty enough to look at, but unless you were getting less than 100 ping at all times and had smooth-like-butter framerate, there was no way you were winning a fight against that guy running at you with the halberd. And another thing, why was it so hard to aim with that reticule in melee? For a combat system based heavily on accuracy, I had close to no idea where my weapon was going to land when I swung it. It’s not like the size of the reticule changed when I had a longer weapon, and there was never an indicator on the circle itself that would give you an approximate landing zone of the head of the weapon besides this vague little rectangle that was wrong 90% of the time.

    I don’t know how to end rants.

  22. Zogtee says:

    Why isn’t this being added to WotR instead of being released as a separate thing? WotR could certainly use the extra depth and I don’t think WotV is strong enough to stand on it’s own. Does this mean they’re abandoning WotR? Like someone else already said, this would have been brilliant news if it came from the Chivalry-team.

  23. Swoo says:

    After how badly they mangled every attempt at balance or new items in War of the Roses, I’ll pass on this and just play Vikingr for Mount & Blade instead.