Mount & Blade can undoubtedly be called a classic, because before it we have not seen much of a title about the Middle Ages, and even on such a scale that this game showed us in 2008. Once upon a time it was she who was synonymous with real nonlinearity, although, is it really possible to say so when the game throws you into the open world and says: "Do what you want!". Let's arrange a small retrospective of Mount and Blade and remember why we love her so much.
Blighted Adventure Road
The creator of the game is Armagan Yavuz. In 2004, together with his wife Ipek, they founded the studio TaleWorlds, whose first project was Mount and Blade. In the early stages of development, the game was still a kind of fantasy adventure that, for example, included zombies. The game took a long time to be released, and was, let's say, in early access. You could always download the game, and then leave a review.
By 2008, it was released and the gaming press praised it. True, from the technical point of view, few people liked it. Thus, GameSpot called the game "more underdeveloped than bad." After that, the game began to be supplemented with patches and the same full-fledged Mount & Blade, which we remember and love, appeared only in 2009.
Dirt, sweat and blood
In its final version, the game completely got rid of any sign of fantasy and went headlong into realism. Although it was rather vague realism, given that the entire world was fictional and resembled a huge map from several different regions. What else amazed gamers of the late 2000s was the lack of history as such. If in TES or Dragon Age you were taken by the pen and pointed tenderly with your finger: “Look, dear, here is the main plot, here are the quests for the factions. Oh, what do we have here? You walked five meters to the right and found a side quest on the road! Come on, pick it up quickly! "
Then the unspoken dialogue between the developer and the player looked something like this: “Karoch, here's the world, bye! [sound of a kick in the ass and then falling] ”. It's funny enough that in the USA edition the game was called Mount & Blade. The story of a hero ”. But as such, the written story of the hero was not here. We created a character for ourselves with a backstory that determines the level of development of our skills. After that, we were thrown onto the map, where the world lived its own life and we had to do something.
For the person who first launched the game, it is rather difficult to understand the beauty of the lack of narrative tropes. A villain will not appear on the map, wanting to awaken some Dark Lord, you will not be called as the chosen one, etc.
You have a set of skills, a small supply of food and a task to start a new life on a large continent. As in reality, if you don’t start to "spin", you can remain in the mud, so you have not achieved anything.
When I grow up, I will become ...
This is where real roleplay begins. You can start small - come to the village, stock up on supplies and wander from one village to another until you get to a big city, where his lord, if he is there, can give you the task of delivering a letter to another lord.
You can save up money, buy yourself a horse, which will significantly increase your speed of movement on the map and start trading. Coming to the main shopping area, you can overhear gossip and tales about what products are in use and where: “We've heard that now there are high milk prices in Mimingham!” And so, you go to a village nearby, where cows are bred, buy this "white gold" for cheap and go to the capital to resell it at a high price.
You can start making friends with many local lords, and carry out small errands for them, become a messenger or a bounty hunter.
But the fun part is the battles. When you first get into the battle at Mount & Blade, you can lose your bearings even when three bandits armed with clubs and stones are running at you. But getting into a battle in the future, you hone your skills more and more and you want to enter into really big conflicts. The battles in this game are very reckless and you yourself will not notice how you turn into a killing machine, one you ride to the enemy army on horseback and kill them all.
Over time, you could recruit people from the nearest village and start training them, building up your own army. It should be said that commanding an army is a separate pleasure. For example, you, your guard and the allied army attack the enemy, command your people "Follow me!" of thrones. ”All these screams, bloody clothes, mountains of corpses - cause genuine admiration.
Well, or you can just wander through knightly tournaments and earn your living like that. Don't forget - you can do what your soul desires.
The tipping point comes when you take sides. The more your hero turns in elite circles, the more he becomes known. One day some king may offer you to become his vassal.
On the one hand, you will become a lord, get your own village, which you will develop, and you will be paid taxes, on the other hand, prepare for constant exploitation in war. And if the king said - go to another country and recapture the castle for me - there is no choice. In addition, political intrigues provide discomfort, and I can send you under cover of night to kill nobles, and then they will set you up and imprisoned.
So you will be thrown from one war to another, from one intrigue to the third, and from that ally to another. At one point, tired of the war, worries about the settlement, you will remember how you sold milk and was happy.
Perhaps, to finish the reflection, I'll tell my own story that I went through in this game.
Being a hard-working son of a merchant, I spent all my childhood in a shop helping my father. Over time, he sent me to study with one wealthy citizen who taught me to communicate beautifully, find a common language, and the basics of fencing. And so I matured and went to conquer the lands of the kingdom of Calradia.
Arriving on the territory of the mountainous country Vegir, I ended up in a small town, where I made my way to the local lord. He instructed me to deliver a letter to his friend in another city. I became friends with him and several other lords of the valley, saved up for a horse and decided that I would trade.
Once I heard that in the cities on the seashore there are good prices for goods from the north and for the first time crossed the border of my native country, getting to Nord. Alas, I never got to the nearest town, since I was captured by pirates. For two weeks I was in slavery, until I ran away from them, and found myself all alone, hungry, naked. There was only an old sword that was lucky enough to steal. I was not lucky further - I met robbers. They were armed with knives and stones, but I dealt with them, though not without wounds. So, I killed people for the first time. Wounded, he reached the nearest village where they were leaving me.
After learning my story, the head of the village said that they were constantly attacked by a gang of robbers, and asked me to teach people how to fight. For five days, having been in only one battle, I taught the peasants to fight with pitchforks and sticks ... And when the robbers came, they were on horseback. I remember how all the men capable of fighting were killed in a minute. I stole my horse and ran away with my tail between my legs while the robbers burned down the village.
I was angry and devoted my further life to hunting criminals. After six months of clashes with these monsters, I could rush on horseback at a dozen bandits or deserters, and kill everyone without a single wound. I actively began to help one wilted village in Swadia, which the local lord had brought to a terrible state, for I was sincerely sorry for these people. And then everything happened again. I had to teach people again how to defend themselves from bandits. This time, we smashed them on their heads, I recruited a small detachment of avengers from the village and we went together to protect the offended. A year later, we were the most powerful army of 25 knights.
By that time, one of the local lords of Vegir suggested that I accept the sovereign's vassalage. However, the king wished to start a war with the Rodok Kingdom and I was ordered to destroy the villages. I did not do this, and out of anger one of the lords cruelly set me up before the king, after which I was declared a criminal. I went to Svadia, where I met with many of my friends and went over to their side, once giving my homeland, which actually betrayed me.
And again the war. The King of the Wedding Garlaus was obliged to me, because it was me and my people who went to the break with shouts and a desire to destroy the enemy, and won the war for him. While his army was dragging behind us, we were already cutting dozens of enemies like cabbage. Garlaus repaid by giving the village I took care of in charge.
However, the further I got involved in politics, the more difficult it became. The wedding has declared war on Vegir and the Rodok Kingdom. Fighting on two fronts, especially with former allies, was terrible, but the rage of the war completely consumed me.
I and my people began to live in order to kill enemies without mercy. I followed orders, ravaged villages and became what I once fought with. But I was driven by a desire for revenge on the person who set me up. Retaking his castle would be a key turn in the war. Then almost all my army died, and I, wounded, stood on the bones of a traitor. What has the king ordered? He gave the castle to another and continued to exploit me in battles.
Over time, I realized that life is leading the wrong way. When I wanted to leave, Garlaus said that then I would become his enemy. His country was decaying and impoverished, surrounded by enemies who united in a coalition. This was the last point. I gathered people, trained, and soon attacked the king's army. There were 300 of them, there are only 60 of us. I was chopping all over in a frenzy, and I was red with blood. My people were dying with pride, and I was enjoying it when I stabbed Garlaus to death. My horse was hit, I fell, but began to fight on the ground. Alas, I was surrounded and my hero fell.
I hope this story will be a good motivation for you to play Mount & Blade.
The Topic of Article: Why do we remember and love Mount & Blade?.