Mount and Blade - Last Days mod fanboyism

Firstly, thanks to El Guapo for pointing out this mod in the ‘2:45 moment’ thread.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to wade through Morrowind again. I wanted a break from the grind and saw mention of this mod. After trying it out, I can safely say that I’m not playing Morrowind anymore.

Mount and Blade has always been a great game for its ‘Yeehaa! Caaaarge!!’ moments that I’ve had in battle. Unfortunately it lacked a greater point to its strategic gameplay. After a while you realised that you were riding around in an almost empty sandbox. This mod rectifies that to an extent. It’s a Lord of the Rings mod that allows you to play for either Gondor, Rohan, Isengard or Moror. You run around on a large map and basically whack the enemy faction’s mobs. There’s still the trading option or the ability to get quests from Lords and merchants but the main idea is to wear down the enemy. Why? Because you can eliminate all of them (bar Mordor) from the game. Finally, a chance to finish the game!

Other things-

You get faction points each week which allow you to hire companions or access to uber-weapons. I’m still in the early days yet so I can’t talk much about that.

Battles play the same, though I think you may allow more units into battles than the vanilla version allows. I’ve been charging ahead of my mounted column, trying to turn as many Haradrim into kebabs upon my …err shish like lance as I can. I’ve also learnt that the best way to win battles is to play like Flashman and swoop in with much noise at first but then spend the rest of your time waving your sword around the edges, waiting for bad guys to turn their backs to you so that you can safely whack them in the back of the head.
Other battle settings remain the same as in vanilla.The randomly generated terrain around Mordor can be a pain to get around on a horse but at least it forces you to change tactics.

The graphics remain the same- there appears to be a greenish tinge to some of the orc faces, Haradrim wear Persian armour etc and nothing game-breaking or particularly tawdry has been included.

Apparently the arena (now situated at the brigand fort) has been enlarged and improved. I haven’t ried it out but El Guapo thinks it’s good.

The game feels like the vanilla version at the beginning. You see a few small forces (10-16) of enemy scouts and caravans running around the map. You get plenty of XP for taking them out if you receive a quest directing you to do so. A little while on though, you’ll get a message of enemy mobilisation. That’s when you soon start running away from forces of 56 UrukHai and instead start looking for battles to reinforce. It’s pretty different from the original wherein it didn’t take long for you to be the biggest badass on the map. In this game you really do feel like a little band of good guys taking on a huge host.

I’ve been following Oblivion with great interest but I must admit, the combat aspect sounds underwhelming. Why oh why can’t Bethesda take on the Turkish chap who made Mount and Blade and incorporate its combat engine?

I think this is something that all of us M&B’ers have been asking from the moment we discovered the game. Not just for mounted combat, but on-foot as well.

I highly recommend you try out the upgraded Arena. You might never leave…

The engine would be awful with dungeon combat. Even Gothic’s dungeons were pretty wide.

I’m not sure about that. Just playing the training fights inside a single room offers a fair challenge. I don’t understand the ‘wide’ complaint though.
Do you prefer Morrowinds clicky “stab 'em in the eyes!” silliness?

Well, of course the gameplay defines how the space in the game is designed, but I actually think that you would gain A LOT from the dungeons, not lose. Fighting in a more defined space would add some depth, in particular if you add object like columns and suck to block the swings.

The big problem of MW wasn’t just the controls, but the fact that all the mobs got stuck everywhere and kept running against walls and doors.

Then M&B makes me angry. It’s so brilliant that I always think why I didn’t have those ideas before. The combat mechanics are actually rather complex and finely tuned. It’s not just a game quickly put together around a good idea. It’s actually a really good product overall where the combat was polished and calibrated in great detail.

I think the Mount and Blade combat system is the best hand to hand/sword and shield combat mechanics that has ever been in a game I’ve played. The fact that tons of people play it just for random encounters and using personal tactics against enemies speaks volumes. Add a storyline (even better than Last Days), interesting areas to explore, etc. and it’d be a mega hit crack-like experience.

For those of you who haven’t played it, it works like this. The LMB cocks your sword, ready to swing. If you get hit in this position (in fencing we call this a attack in time), either when you are cocked back or coming forward, you lose your swing/stance. Same is true if you get hit while you have a bow drawn. You then have to recock and swing. With your RMB you control your sheild or block with your weapon. If you are blocking with a shield it deflects any incoming frontal attack automatically (if you just hold the RMB down) but not side or back attacks. If you don’t have a shield or are using a two-handed weapon you have to wait and time it so that you click the RMB after your opponent has started their swing. If you mistime it you usually get hit. Also, since each encounter is generated as its own “map” instance (i.e. you move around the big overworld map kind of like a real time version of Rome: Total War, then it generates a random terrain map when there is an encounter), there are some other elements in play. Primarily this is that your shield has “hit points” that go down each time you deflect a blow. Therefore you cannot just block all day because your sheild will be destroyed. Neither does your shield breaking leave you defenseless because you can always block with your sword. If you lose your horse or shield in battle these kind of “regenerate” when you go back to the world map (though your horse can be crippled or lamed). When you attack, you have to time it so that you catch your opponent “off guard”. If you raise your weapon and hold it most one-o- one opponents will usually simply raise their shield so your attacks would be ineffective. Now add to this horse combat with lances, bows, and swinging your sword to both sides of your horse (so you can do things like charge into a bundle of infantry and time swings so that you are hitting people to the left and right as you pass them, just like you’ve seen in movies). Also factored in is momentum, where moving fast (on a horse) adds to the damage you cause. You can also using throwing weapons like javelins, pila, axes and even stones. All thrown/fired missiles also stick when thrown, so your (and your opponent’s) shield can be riddled with arrows, axes, and javelins during an encounter. You can also see things like say, an axe sticking out of the front face of a helmet, the dead enemy lying in the field.

It’s kinetic, requires tactics, and it great fun. If this isn’t enough, you have weapons and riding skills that make it easier to aim, do more damage, make you swing faster, etc. This is where the CRPG-lite aspects come in.

It’s free, too, but you can pay if you want. I heard about this game a while ago but dismissed it as some crappy graphics, crappily implemented shareware game. Yes, it does feel a bit unfinished and simple, but so far it’s great fun and obliterated my expectations. I can only imagine this combat engine in a bigger world (please, please, please, please, Elder Scrolls V).

More on the new Arena in another post.

I was looking for something to get me back to M&B and these Arena and Last Day’s mods look to be just what I was looking for. Never had so much fun charging around the countryside looking for a weak band of River Pirates to kill, or running from the Black Kergit riders when my army has just limped through another battle…

By the way, I think this combat engine would work in small spaces, i.e. a tight dungeon. It’d even be pretty good against larger-than and smaller-than human opponents.

I got the Last Days mod after reading about it in the 2:45 thread, and I have had a hard time just leaving the starting city because I love the enhanced arena fights. I can’t get enough of the 4 teams of 6 fight in the new arena map. Charging into a massed group of enemies, all of whom are fighting each other, well at the risk of angering the Chick, its just Fun.
:)

I like the new graphical additions too, armors, weapons, and skins. I was afraid at first that fighting Uruks would be fighting the standard generic guys again with different names, but they actually have different skins.

I’ve definitely gotten more than my money’s worth out of this one.

The part I like more of the combat is the reactionary parry mode with a weapon that forces you to wait the opponent to swing before you can counter the attack with a parry. That’s what the combat system models better.

I just love 1vs1 duels done that way.

While the worst part of the combat is many vs you. That’s a bit too silly and unfun (backpedaling so that the bad guys line up in front of you).

Yes, agreed. Many enemies versus you solo needs some AI work. When it’s many on many, it’s much more fun beacause you can single out one or two guys and duel with them. I’m not sure how they’d do many versus you though. I guess they’d maybe make some guys try to circle around and flank you. Either way you’re most likely dead once your shield is gone.

You know how in the Last Days Mod they tournament master describes the different “exotic” events? The last thing he mentions is that they are working on making Jousting “because the nobles request it” or something like that. In fact, in the latest version of the Arena mod Jousting is in. It’s really well done, as you have multiple passes and then a melee round. Before you joust, you can even pick your weapon for the melee round. Hopefully this will make it into the next version of Last Days.

I doubt it, I think they took jousting out because it didn’t fit the middle earth period. Same reason they took out great lances, plate armor, etc.

It seems like most duels end up with one party backpedaling. Maybe there should be some kind of knockback after blocking.

One of the problems with many versus you fights is that the engine allows body meshes to merge into each other to an extent. When combined with the fact that the AI all move at the same speed, you can end up with a ridiculous conga line chasing after you whilst you speedily back away.
If the AI had a bit more personal space, different running speeds according to armour loadouts and whether you are going forwards or backwards and if we all had the option to sprint periodically without being able to attack or defend, combat would be a better experience.

Also, does anyone know when a faction is out of the game in the Last Days mod? At one stage I had it so that Denethor told me that the Haradrim had withdrawn. I presumed that this meant they were out of the war but then I found a lesser host of them and took them out. Denethor is now saying that the Haradrim are crushed. Is this the final term or is there another one like ‘eliminated’?

Crushed is the final status, except for mordor, which can´t go beyond spent and wavering. The lesser host was probably a host that wasn´t destroyed yet. Even after factions are crushed, they will spawn some remnants. But those are usually pretty small.

Good- time to grind those Corsairs into dust.

Ugh…

I never suffered of this but I played for a while in the arena circling with an horse and it gave me motion sickness…

Btw, you know what the game really misses? A “shield bash” move that kicks the opponent back a little without dealing damage.

It could be implementing by tapping the “w” key two times quickly. And they could even implement “dodge” moves like this. The shield bash could be balanced with a two harded weapon by adding to it a quick bash with the hilt of the sword for a similar effect.

What? Gothic required lots of strafing during a battle and the dungeons were wide, allowing room so such things. That’s why I don’t think M&B melee wouldn’t work in corridor, because it relies heavily on strafing. Also, the M&B combat engine relies on overhead map travel with random encounters, and giant armies.

The latest patch trashed my save games, so now I’m doing that training stuff again and I hate it. Every fight ends with me poking my enemy to death or my enemy poking me to death with our randomly dealt weapons. Anyone who actually plays this game “on-foot” must either rely heavily on crossbows or allow their army to do the work. When I am knocked off my horse I run or die. Also, I don’t see how the mount and blade system addresses shit like enemies blindinly feeling out the walls, because they seem to be doing that during this training nonsense.

I just don’t think any other action based combat system will fit well into Oblivion. With exception of minor stuff, like the same system from Morrowind but with active blocking. Shit, I’d love to see Oblivion with Bushido Blade (best 1v1 duel system) style combat, I however realize it is insane to expect it in reality.

Mount and Blade … a really good game! However, not divine providence.

I highly recommend you try out the upgraded Arena. You might never leave…

Do you mean the tournament in the beginning city or something else? I’m sure I won’t like it, but I can never find patch notes for this game. This thing in the mod you didn’t link to you mean? Same stuff different teams, I only like the combat with two huge armies out on the plains and even that’s getting old.

This doesn’t really work for groups with good archers (like Mordor Large Orcs), but I’ve found it very effective to order your units to hold ground, and string enemy foot groups out while sniping at them from horseback. Once you’ve spread them out enough, order a charge. It’s when you charge when they’re clumped that you take the big losses, especially with lower-level units against things like Uruk-hai.

Great mod, and I agree that it brings some much-needed focus to the game. I actually enjoy doing missions for the nobility now, and the new arena system is fantastic. The Middle Earth-style equipment is well done, too.