Round one of Mount and Blade modding complete, and here are the results.
I started by installing the entire Floris Mod Pack. The install was super easy, and the first time I loaded it up everything worked, so huge plus there. Floris is not a total overhaul of Warband, but it does change so many things that it comes close, and for me, at this point, it was TOO much.
I’m also the type that if something makes 95% of a game better, but 5% of it worse, that 5% bothers me enough not to justify the 95% improvement, and that’s how I feel about the mod pack at this point. The expanded items, some of the UI changes, the graphics stuff, all of those were very nice. But then the small ‘bugs’ (like a lord not wearing his armor to a feast), the imbalances (AI not using spear-based units well), and the little stuff (new water texture looks great, except at the start of a river, where it looks terrible) add up in my mind and, well, I’m back to playing Native mode.
I think I’ll go back to the Floris pack at some point, as I would like to see what it does in the long run, but not yet.
That said I have installed some of the graphic upgrades separately, like the Graphic Boost Pack and Blood enhancement tweak. I also grabbed the Arena Overhaul mod, which is really great. I tried to install the Better Banner mod, but got an error when loading it up, and rather than fiddle with it, I just removed it. If anyone is aware of other good mods, feel free to post them.
Right now I’ve started a new game with the Nord faction, seeing how much better I can do this time around. So far the big challenge has been getting the King to accept me as a vassal (did not start as a noble), and hunting down bandits and such was not working with a 40+ band of peasants. Many of them got cut, horses got bought for my companions, and things are rolling now.