Mount and Blade: Bannerlord – Early Access impressions

The below is based on roughly 12 hours of Bannerlord Early Access, much of it prior to the patch yesterday. In short, Bannerlord is a sequel to Warband; better graphics, newer engine, larger scope, but ultimately the same core game. If you liked Warband, I suspect you will like Bannerlord. If you hated Warband, first wtf is wrong with you? But second you likely still won’t love Bannerlord.

I mentioned the patch yesterday, because prior to that the game was crashing for me a good bit, which was getting very annoying. In a similar vein, Bannerlord is very much an Early Access title. The core stuff like combat, the overworld, and the overall ‘point’ of kingdoms fighting is there, but a lot of smaller stuff is either incomplete or not balanced.

I do love the graphics. The overworld is beautiful, and the character models are good-enough, which is important because this is a game where you can have 500+ characters, so if each one had a million polygons, performance would be terrible. And right now performance is solid; I’m getting 70 FPS or so with the graphics on high, and I’m guessing this will only improve as EA continues.

 One early highlight so far: I joined an existing army (collection of lords) and as part of that army we went around sacking enemy villages. As you aren’t the commander, you follow around the leader, so it was fun sitting back and watching them pick targets and sharing in the spoils, all while beating down the helpless villagers. The whole things was rather profitable, and culminated in my first large (200v200) battle, which looked and played great.

If you are dying for more Mount and Blade, get Bannerlord now, what is there is more than worth the cost of entry. If you can wait and don’t want to deal with a true Early Access title, maybe do that. Bannerlord is planned for a whole year of EA, just to give an idea of where the dev team things they are and where they want to end up.

Posted in Combat Systems, Mount and Blade: Warband, Steam Stuff | Leave a comment

Mount and Blade: Bannerlord is finally here!

Exactly ten years after the release of Warband, the Bannerlord Early Access starts today. Expect some posts about it assuming I can stop playing it long enough to write something.

Posted in Mount and Blade: Warband, Steam Stuff | 4 Comments

Quick little update

While the rest of the world is stuck at home, I’m stuck at home and swamped with work due to Covid-19. It could be worse, of course, but it could be better too.

Anyway on the gaming front, I’m loving the recent Rimworld expansion, Royalty. The key problem with games like Rimworld is once you master them, playing again becomes too routine. The best thing about Royalty is how much it mixed things up via its quests and the needs or royals. It’s a great addition on top of the excellent base game.

On the mobile front I’m still very much into Mighty Party, as I still find the combat system really fun and there are lots of different varieties to it. The guild is doing really well too, with a solid active core that has so far performed well during Turf Wars. We have a couple of open spots, so if you are interested message me in-game under ID IXBZHG.

Posted in iPhone, Random, Site update | 1 Comment

How to enforce everyone staying isolated for a few months in just one easy step

Release Mount and Blade: Bannerlord early you cowards! 12 more days? 12! That’s just not responsible in a time when people need reasons to stay away from others.

PS: Covid-19 is serious and you should stay home and avoid contact with people. Stay safe everyone!

Posted in Mount and Blade: Warband, Rant | 4 Comments

I paid to skip the fun parts of this game and now I’m mad the game isn’t fun!

A few gameplay observations for Mighty Party, and then some commentary on the business model.

For gameplay, our guild is finishing up our first Turf War, which is the guild-based PvP event. Basically how this works is there is a board of squares, and guild members can assign troops to those squares to take them. Rewards are based on the squares you hold, but you only get the rewards at the end of each round. During a round there are multiple phases where you can assign troops and the board will change based on who has the most troops. To prevent a guild from dominating, neutral troops can riot (attack) a square, and if you don’t use enough troops to defend, you lose that square. How many troops each player has is based on the cards you own and their levels.

This setup initially looks simple, just assign some troops and you are done. But to maximize rewards, the guild must coordinate well, and pick its battles. If you expand too quickly in the early rounds (as we did), neutral forces will end up taking your tiles, and the guild simply won’t have enough troops to both defend everything and keep expanding. Other guilds are also a factor; battling over a single square might cost both sides a lot of troops, for ultimately not much gain. On the flip side, being in a position to take a lot of squares late with few troops is incredibly beneficial.

From my initial experience with the system, I’m really liking it. It’s quick in terms of time commitment per member, but feels very open-ended from a leadership/coordination aspect.

Drifting towards the business model side, early on in Mighty Party it’s tough to fully complete events and challenges, in large part because not having access to things like Raids and the Dark Tower means you can’t collect event points around doing those activities. The game ‘helpfully’ lets you pay to gain event progress (usually indirectly), and this can feel both tempting and unfair.

At least until you take a step back and realize that the point of doing well in events and challenges is to get more loot, and you want more loot to progress forward. Progressing forward is the entire point of playing, because 99.999% of players won’t come close to competing to ‘win by being #1 on a leaderboard. You play and try to do well so you can get more stuff, and more stuff helps you do better, which in turn gets you more stuff, and on and on the circle goes.

In games like Mighty Party and other such F2P games, you go around the circle fastest at the beginning. Every reward has a legitimate chance to be an upgrade, and generally things unlock quickly for you and you really feel like you are making progress. The more you play, the longer it takes to go around and around the circle. In Mighty Party, the first chests you earn take 5 minutes to open, while for me right now the fastest chest takes 2 hours. That’s a dramatic increase, and that kind of increase is basically found in all parts of the game. A hero going from level 1 to 2 takes 25 copies, but then you need 50 to go to 3, 75 to 4, etc. Early on you are upgrading frequently, and this slows as you play more.

This is all ‘normal’ in many games. In an MMO it takes far less xp to get to level 2 than it takes to hit level 100. You find item upgrades faster as you level than you do from end-game raiding. What’s different about F2P games, because they need to make money (imagine that!) is they sell you the ability to progress faster. Some games sell less, some sell more, but there is a fine line between selling progress and selling power. Selling power is being able to buy something only money can buy that helps you. Imagine in an MMO if one non-fluff equipment slot could only be filled via the cash shop; that’s power. Selling a powerful item directly to you that also drops in a raid is selling progress; instead of raiding for that item you can just skip the ‘playing’ part and buy the reward.

To return to Mighty Party, spending money gets you heroes, often times the higher tier epic or even legendary ones. That helps you progress faster, maybe even MUCH faster because legendary heroes even at level 1 are much stronger than lower rarity cards. If you face such cards in PvP, it feels extra bad to lose to them because of how strong they seem, vs losing to higher level heroes of the same rarity you are using. The end result is the same (you lost), but seeing that legendary smash you just feels worse. And make no mistake, part of the game’s design is to elicit that emotion so you get mad and ‘fight back’ via your wallet.

What amuses me is people get mad at this AND then get mad at the game’s business model. This anger completely misses the point, which is not that they haven’t spend enough money, or that they are being ‘force to’, but the simple fact that they have not progresses far enough into the game to be at that level. It’s the very reason levels exist in the first place. We don’t complain that a level 1 MMO character can’t defeat a raid boss, but we do just that in F2P ‘pay to progress’ games.

The anger is especially misguided because paying just pushes you into the slower circles of progression. It’s like buying an RPG for the story, and then buying the ‘skip all story elements’ DLC, and then ranting about how the RPG sucks because its all grind and no story. YOU PAID TO SKIP THE GOOD PARTS DUMMY! If you like progression, and that’s what a lot of these games are all about, maybe don’t pay to skip it?

Posted in Combat Systems, Inquisition Clan, Mighty Party, Rant, RMT | 3 Comments

Mighty Party: How to get into our guild

As previously stated, our guild “HC Casuals” is up and running in Mighty Party.

It’s now been upgraded to level two, meaning we have 20 spots. Currently we are full, but there are still a few randoms that can be removed to make room for blog readers. I think the easiest way to get in is to friend me in-game (my ID is IXBZHG), and then I can invite you via the friends list.

Also highly recommended you join the blog Discord, as in-game chat isn’t nearly as easy to follow as Discord: www.discord.gg/rnPykH4

As far as in-game activity, I’ve reach league 20 which opened up the Dark Tower daily event. So far I’ve yet to win more than 5 times before getting knocked out after 3 defeats, but even those results give a decent reward. Between Dark Tower, Journeys, Gold Mine, and regular ladder battles, there are certainly plenty of game modes to earn rewards in. On top of that you have the daily and weekly quests, and whatever event happens to be running. It’s a ‘busy’ game without feeling overwhelming, even just a few days into the game.

One tip: If you intend to spend any money, make sure to join the guild first, as many money spent while in a guild gives all members a small bonus, and earns the guild points towards increasing the guild rank (more member slots).

Posted in Inquisition Clan, Mighty Party | 2 Comments

Might Party: Guild has been formed

Guild in Mighty Party has been formed: HC Casuals

Should be able to just find it via the guild search, but you must be in league 24 or lower to join a guild.

Posted in Inquisition Clan, iPhone, Mighty Party | 2 Comments