Mordheim: City Of The Damned Preparing For Launch

Oh, Mordheim [official site], (semi)turn-based Games Workshop adaptation of my dreams. It was love at first sight when we met last year and I’ve endured the somewhat dissatisfying Early Access period of our courtship in the hope that something special would blossom.

With its full release set for an as-yet unannounced date this month, Mordheim is finally looking like the game I remember falling for. The latest trailer explains how the four faction-based campaigns work.

Developers Rogue Factor have been chasing down bugs, and tweaking individual skills, spells and units throughout the Early Access period. The latest patches came less than 24 hours apart, and the work will continue right up until release. It’s good to see detailed update notes and all of that stuff is very very important, but it’s the persistent warbands that I was waiting to see. And they’ve been in the game for a while now.

Along with the procedural tactical quests, the most important part of the game, from my perspective, is the management of my very own crew of bastards. I love that there are injuries carrying over from one quest to the next, and I desperately want to form a bond with a Skaven assassin who has lost an eye or a limb. Nothing like a wound sustained in my service to help me feel a sense of responsibility for my charges.

I’ve reinstalled but will probably wait for the final release update before jumping back in. There’s a fairly concise video description of the game’s (almost) current state in this post.

17 Comments

  1. razgon says:

    Love it – So much to like in the game already, and it just gets better. Basically, its a mercenary simulator of the finest art – something I’ve always wanted. I really cannot endorse this enough -get it!

  2. NetharSpinos says:

    I’d be very interested in getting Mordheim as in many ways it’s rather similar to Malifaux, which I’ve recently been playing a lot of. Having said that however, I’m semi-disappointed to see only 4 available faction crews; the fact that there’s no Undead faction crew to be seen amongst them sorta closes the door on this one for me.

    • Chris Cunningham says:

      Releasing multiple-faction games with glaring omissions of known factions is, like, a Thing these days. Just pray that said faction will show up as DLC later rather than going through the Cyanide approach to re-releasing the entire game with a couple of extra teams and some bug fixes for full price every six months.

    • Pkloop says:

      There will be DLC I’m sure for more warbands and I’ll purchase it. This DEV has been a damn near model example of listening to the community throughout early access and they’ve earned my $upport. They’ve been every bit as good as the crew that did Xenonauts…another example of a well run early access.

  3. king0zymandias says:

    Is there a top down view yet? If not then is are there plans to implement something like that in the future?

    • Pkloop says:

      Not a total top down but they did adjust the camera to zoom out further. I’d really really like it to go a few more ticks out but its better then it was months ago.

    • Wowbagger says:

      There is a strategy view map, which shows you where all the units are and so you can place beacons for easier navigation.

  4. csbear says:

    Thanks Adam for the update! I am definitely more interested in this now. Hopefully more factions are available down the line though!

  5. Pkloop says:

    This is a really great game and I’ve had a blast with it so far. No more playtime for me from here on out though. Gonna try to stay away until launch!

    PS DEVS: Moar warbands please! Oh and pretty please let that camera zoom out a bit more!

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      They’ve stated outright that there will (almost certainly) be additional warbands added as DLC once the game hits 1.0. They won’t be adding any more before release, though.

      • Artist says:

        Sorry dude, but thats rubbish! They stated multiple times that its not their decision to decide possible DLCs but their publishers. And that the publisher has not said anything about future DLCs, races or else, yet!

  6. rabbit says:

    so – this is really good now? or? i was so excited for it but i remember seeing the combat in early demos and it just looked …. awful

  7. Hyena Grin says:

    A skaven campaign? Sign me up.

    The combat does look a little clunky (see: MMO-like) for this day and age of single player games, but fancy-pants combat fidelity isn’t required for it to be a good game. I will be keeping an eye on this for reviews and let’s plays before I jump in, but yeah. Looks like it could be fun.

    No coop though, it looks like? Shame. That’d bump it up the list a few good notches.

  8. jomon jim says:

    It dragged me past the 2 hour steam window of regret, I’ll give it that. Two things popped up as warning signs even before that window closed. I hope someone can read this and make a more informed decision than I did about this here Mordheim.

    1.) Inventory management. You can’t drop stuff, trade stuff, or place anything anywhere that isn’t an official container. And just hope it isn’t full. This means I killed a dude once just to put an item in his bag so that my other character could pick it up and use it. WHa?! And I had to wait several turns to get my other goons off the area because you can’t pick things up if other friendlies (or enemies) are standing too close. WHAA??!
    2.) End Mission Grief. You won! Great, now what? Loot everything that you couldn’t before? Grab those trinkets to collect some bounties?? Grab that big cache of wyrdstone around the corner (the point of the game – at least lorewise)???
    NO. Run. With cold fear in your veins, RUN AWAY! Everyone retreat!!!
    [Ok, so you grab a small fraction of the loot, but you don’t grab all of it and you always miss the MacGuffins necessary for fulfilling the bonus objectives – which are frequently at your feet.]

    It might not ruin your overall experience, and your warband might be able to recover from the pittance of loot brought back, but it sure is annoying, immersion-breaking nonsense.

    I mean, wasn’t the point of combat to secure the location for looting? Yesss, so why order the sudden retreat after each and every victory?

    I should name my next leader Pyrrhus.

    There’s a risk/reward mechanic going on here (split up to loot or stay together to survive) but it’s so contrived. It should pass the common sense test. It’s as though your warband has something better to do at the end of every mission.

    The inventory awkwardness makes the mission ending shenanigans that much uglier. More often than not you can’t pick up that MacGuffin because your henchman is standing a little too close to it. Meanwhile the enemy will probably route very soon.

    Suddenly a very polite drama ensues!

    You see, you wouldn’t want to enter your buddies personal space, break his mercenary bubble. No, that would be rude. Let him wait for his turn to casually step aside. Then you can wait for yours. After all, his pack is so full he couldn’t possibly manage to fit another trinket …uhh, is that a finger? Oh, dear. And the poor dead guy had a full pack too – so let’s get someone else over here to pick up that… blood soaked finger. Oh, what, they routed? We won, already?
    Well, we’d better just go home then, I guess. Leave that mess and all that treasure behind. They don’t pay us enough to pack all that out as it stand. Lousy benefits package too!

    To quote John Walker from his Impressions: Dragon Fin Soup, which had a very similarly confounding mechanic, “There’s not a single person on Earth who wants a game to play like that.”

    • Silvermarch says:

      I think the explanation behind why your warband quickly retreats with only a fraction of the loot is because they fear that the battle might attract nearby warbands or other dangers, so they can’t stay in an area for long.

  9. PhilBowles says:

    My preliminary impressions aren’t positive, but I suspect that may largely come from this being such a substantial departure from the tabletop game – and a key part of that experience was that, as a nod to ‘realism’ and in keeping with other WFB titles, combat is brutal and typically lethal.

    There was a lot more value placed on keeping out of harm’s way until you could be certain of victory, and a higher premium placed on ranged weapons, when your characters would go down to a lucky hit rather than slug it out face-to-face with one another, each having roughly infinite hitpoints, and a flesh wound drastically impaired combat performance.

    Even accepting that this game seems to want to be squad-based World of Warcraft instead of something closer to fantasy XCOM, probably the closest equivalent to the tabletop game experience, the cosmetic decisions make for an awkward interface. Third-person rather than an isometric view make interpreting the action awkward, and isn’t really rewarded by the quality of graphics or any particularly interesting range of actions or combat animations. The 2D strategic layer seems to have little value beyond setting waypoints, since the strangely poor scaling (someone the next street across may be a third of the way across the map) and very rough outline of the battlefield, not to mention the fact that the battlefield has multiple levels that aren’t well-represented in strategic view, makes it impossible to use as an overview of the actual game situation.