Steam has Mount and Blade: Warband on sale for $10.20 this weekend so I picked it up, having missed out on the game up until this point. I just finished the tutorial and, while I can tell this is going to be a game I enjoy playing, I am having a heck of time hitting anything from horseback – both with the sword and the polearm.
So, from “how do I hit things from horseback?” to “are there better/worse starting regions, skills, etc” I’m looking for some basic Mount and Blade newbie advice from the Qt3ers who have poured countless hours into the game.
For how to hit things with a sword from horseback, the only tip I can think of is to swing a bit earlier than you think you should. The follow-through animation takes a bit longer than you might expect.
I’m still pretty new myself but using a lance on horseback is pretty simple from what I remember. You don’t need to press anything at all, just hold it in place and aim for impact. With a one-handed weapon, it’s easier for me to hit footsoldiers while mounted by riding by and using the right to left slash.
Hopefully someone has a good starting guide because I’ve love to read that too!
There are settings for the lance, essentially difficulty setting, that you can set in the option menu. The easiest will have you couch the lance automatically as you gain enough speed and then it’s just a matter of charging in the general direction of your target. The intermediate setting requires you to set up the couch by pressing a button first but still auto-aims, and the hardest setting doesn’t auto-aim at all.
For skills, note how some skills are party skills, some are leader skills and some are individual skills. Leader skills are skills only you can use, party skills use the highest skill of any member in your party, and individual skills only apply to the individual.
You can get party members to follow you around and skill points aren’t in infinite supply so it’s a good idea to let other people specialise on stuff that get in the way of you leading the party and killing things. You want a dedicated tracker (tracking, scouting, and travel speed) and healer at minimum. An engineer is handy for mid-late game sieges.
Early on you might want to take a few healing skills yourself since you never know when you’ll find party members in a tavern. Skip the one that helps troops avoid death in combat, if you don’t have a dedicated healer you most likely don’t have expensive troops either. A point or two of the skill that increases party speed is also good to have on your main character.
As for other skills, don’t bother with the extra hitpoint skill. 2 hitpoints for 1 skillpoint is a horrible trade. You’ll probably want at least two points of extra inventory size to keep all the loot you get after battles so you can sell it off later. Tactics is very useful as it decreases the number of enemies that are allowed on the battlefield, and increases the number of friendly troops allowed on the battlefield. Traning is good to have on several characters as the xp generated is cumulative. I usually put this on my more combat-orientated party members as training only works on troops whose level is lower than the training character and the combat party members go up in level faster.
To learn how to hit things on horseback… practice. That’s all there is to it. Get the timing down and you can chop heads at full gallop. Having weapons with longer reach helps. Hell, try a bladed polearm and go to town, just be careful about archers if you do.
Good info Kalle. I’ve been playing M&B since it was $5 to get into the beta and I still didn’t know some of that. :P
I played so much M&B I’m still trying to get used to the combat in Warbands, but in general I think one trick is to try to keep your screen centered on your target when you make an attack. That and just being close enough to hit them (as Kalle said, reach is very important in warbands).
For a mainly-for-practice-rather-than-career-advancement game, go for an all-cavalry force (i.e. recruit only people on horseback and get a horse for all your companions). Don’t carry more stuff than you need: Sell off war booty ASAP, keep a modest amount of varied food to boost morale, don’t keep any spare weapons/armour unless you really intend to use them, and keep a horse or two in the inventory. This will make your unit fast, allowing you to chase or escape enemies at will.
Forget about becoming a lord and conquering castles. Instead, ride around the map and chase down bandits of various sorts. Looters are the weakest so you should start with them. Then simply use them to hone your combat skills.
You should find some good weapons and them stick with them in the beginning: Weapon speed varies between weapons and it’s easier to learn the right timing of your slash/stab when the weapon is always the same.
A long one-handed sword is a good starting weapon, especially against lightly armoured enemies. A blunt (club) or pointed (morning star) weapon gets bonus damage against armour so they’re good against tougher opponents. In the beginning at least, avoid two-handed weapons: They are slow and timing your strike is tricky. They also get a penalty when used from horseback (because you’re using them one-handed).
Which polearm to choose depends on your style: If you use couched attacks, you want the longest, hardest hitting lance you can find: It is the most powerful weapon of the game, smashing through shields and armour and insta-killing practically everyone.
However, an often overlooked skill is the thrusting polearm attack: Rather than couching your lance, you actively stab them with your polearm. This requires as much skill in timing your strike as does the sword. It is less powerful than the couched attack, but is better suited to rough terrain where getting your horse up to speed for a couched attack can be difficult. It is very useful when fighting enemy cavalry, especially the likes of Khergits who do a lot of twistin’ and turnin’ in battle (i.e. chase them and stab at them when you get the chance). Also, with enough practice you can hit people as you pass besides them, rather than the head-on couched attack. It works best with medium length polearms (the bigger lances are too slow).
The choice of horse depends, in part, on your fighting style: Couched attacks works best with horses with high charge values: They are less likely to get stuck in a bunch of infantry but will rather plow right through them. For sideways thrust attacks, you might want to sacrifice some charging power for agility. Personally, I’ve found a compromise horse (like the Hunter) to be the best choice. Hitpoints are always good in a horse, but avoid the slowest horses at all costs.
I do have to second the Hunters as excellent “happy middle” horses. They are fast and tough enough to be useful both in situations where you need speed (chasing down Khergits, like the pesky gnats they are) and in situations where you need to be able charge through infantry (fighting Nords and Rhodoks).
To get “good” I played a game in which I cheated out the wazoo to get the expensive armor and weapons. This kept me from getting killed all the time and afforded me opportunities to practice hitting people with weapons from horseback without getting beaten all the time. This approach may not be for you (the OP) though. :)
Raz - head to any village, chose the ‘recruit’ option from the menu when you get there, and recruit whoever you can. These guys are much better than Mercenaries in the long run, although they will take some babysitting at first. Best to recruit a HORDE of them and let natural selection sort them out for a few weeks ;)
Also thinks the game has not time limit, or any concrete “I win” condition.
Is a pure sandbox, so is Ok to ignore all of the advices, even these comming from the internet, and do whatever fit you better.
Hell… theres something like a training camp, and some “joust” in the capitals. You make a living just doing these battles, like if you where… in the movie A Knight’s Tale
M&B has always looked interesting to me, so I’ve been wondering: would Golden Horde tactics work in this? Are there seasons in the game? Can I drive villagers back to their capital and then lay siege to an overpopulated, hungry city, maybe hurl some plague into the masses?
M&B is a strict medieval fantasy, so theres not magic, if thats what are you into.
I don’t know what is a “Golde Horde”, but your leader skill limit how much people you can have. After weeks playing you will have something like 200 soldiers (huge), but you will hide from some 300 / 400 soldier enemy armies, and storm castles with 340 soldiers… and lose.
Theres not endgame in M&B, you can always make bigger armies, and fight even more legendary battles.