Every now and then, along comes a mod which sounds such an impressive accomplishment that my first thought is: "That can't be real." Such is the case with Bannerlord Online, which turns the singleplayer sandbox warfare RPG Mount & Blade 2 into an MMO with hundreds of players running around raising armies, battling, and working jobs. But apparently it is real! The first version launched on Sunday, so you can try it now.
Bannerlord does have multiplayer, but it's limited to specific modes rather than the full world-roaming experience. And certainly not on this scale. The idea is to have hundreds of players filling the roles usually taken by NPC leaders. The devs say on the Mod DB page that it has a player-controlled economy, with players toiling in the fields and such to produce raw materials that others can turn into the food, weapons, and armour needed by armies. On that front, it currently supports 100x100 battles, with plans to go up to 200x200.
It sounds unlikely but the folks at cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer had a play and said it worked surprisingly well considering they were playing on a Russian server across the Atlantic. They say that 800-player server is the only one available right now, though European and American servers are planned.
You can download Bannerlord Online from Mod DB. Given that the mod is labelled as "early access" and Bannerlord itself is also still in early access, I would expect some wonk. But damn, they really did it.
Alright, now how can I combine this with the mod which lets you fight Crusader Kings 3 battles inside Mount & Blade 2?