Melee: Battlegrounds Is Now Called Of Kings And Men, And It’s Coming To Early Access This Month

Why did the knight stop using the internet? Because he was sick of chainmail. Wee medieval joke to get you warmed up there. Melee: Battlegrounds is a 13th Century multiplayer warfare romp being developed by the folks that brought you the cRPG mod for Mount & Blade: Warband. Or at least, it was . Following a failed Kickstarter, the game fled into the forests of the Unknown. But now it has rallied under the funding of Northern Ireland Screen and has returned to the field of battle with a new name – Of Kings And Men [official site]. There are also some fresh details, including plans to create a persistent online world in which you can explore the countryside and be battered to death with a mace. Oh, and it’s coming to Early Access this month.

That was a sample of the kind of murder and mayhem you’ll be throw into. There are two sides to this steely conflict, say developers Donkey Crew. The first is the ‘Battlegrounds’ side of the game. This is a bunch of game modes played on servers with up to 200 players. Team deathmatch is a small scale murder picture, Instant Battle is a much larger fight based on rounds and Conquest sees squads of soldiers fighting to control random regions of the map. It’s what these hardened modders know best, having worked so long on Mount & Blade. Anyway, it’s these modes which are expected to make it into the Early Access release on August 25.

The open world (called The Epic) is more of an ongoing war, and won’t be added until later. Multiple factions will be able to build outposts and “production facilities”, strengthening their control over parts of a huge map. Resources will appear in some places, leading to fights over who gets the good stuff. Over time, the battles and skirmishes that rage will earn combatants silver with which to fund the crafting of better equipment. Your character will also gain new skills, and weapons like polearms, bows, crossbows and all the other sharp things will be available to you. Then, after a few months, the Epic will reset, bringing everyone back to the dark ages. But “honor and achievements earned will carry over as part of the history of the world,” we are told.

There’s lots more details to read on the website. While the open world portion sounds a lot like Rust or Life Is Feudal, Donkey Crew insists it is “not a survival game.” To me it sounds like their original plans for a ‘Stronghold’ mode have adapted to bring in those interested in that genre, however. The Stronghold mode was supposed to be a fight in which each team constructed a fortress and then had to assault their enemy’s castle, according to an earlier Kickstarter video. It’s unclear how death will work in this muddy kingdom, though. Here’s hoping it is not quite as punishing as losing all your best rocks.

With Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord still not revealing its release date, some of us are starved for a sword fight. Maybe this will fill the hole. It’s been a while since I was knocked off a good battlement.


  1. Alevice says:

    omg that joke

  2. KDR_11k says:

    Are you really supposed to hold a sword with thumb and index finger against the blade?

    • Uberwolfe says:

      That’s actually quite hilarious…

    • gwathdring says:

      Definitely not. :P

      Though holding the sword blade with one hand is an important part of anti-armor techniques. But obviously not with just your fingers–you need to get your whole hand in on the action otherwise you can’t grip the blade.

    • Radthor Dax says:

      Yes, you can. It’s a technique called half-swording.

  3. Sabbatai says:

    In some cases, yes.

    Google it, you may be surprised.

  4. Noodlemonk says:

    Spoiler alert:

    The Kings are actually Orcs in disguise…

  5. jacko says:

    One of the devs here; Most stuff, if not everything from the Kickstarter have changed. Why we went with the name change, M:BG just didn’t fit anymore and we needed, for ourselves and the game, a bit of a restart. I’d take any of that old stuff with a huge pinch of salt.

    Lots more info over at our forums, and we are more or less always online in our Discord (yeah.. apparently people don’t use IRC anymore) if you want to ask anything more specific.

  6. MacX85 says:

    Why are you using images from pre-failed kickstarter? The game has changed dramatically.

  7. Menthalion says:

    I wonder if melee controls will be based on M&B, or on something new ? Always found M&B and WotR controls be pretty clunky prepared to Chivalry, so I am more looking out for

    • Menthalion says:

      Mordhau (

    • MacX85 says:


      It’s based on M&B but easier and more fluid. When you hold down LMB you’re in a stance. Moving the mouse around will freely swipe through the stances. As long as you’re in a stance, let’s say left stance you can attack from the left side and block any incoming attacks from the direction.
      It’s more intuitive that way, I think.

      • Menthalion says:

        Cool,probably going to pick it up then. Thanks for the reply.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      There seem to be plenty of multiplayer games with melee focus, but I don’t know why there are so few games with singleplayer portions. The most recent I can remember is Risen 1 (have Risen 2 on Steam uninstalled). I don’t like multiplayer, so this and several others you mention are use to me. I guess I’ll go back to Dark Messiah, my gold standard, if I really feel an urge for melee gameplay.