Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
Mount & Blade: Warband has been a game that redefined open-world RPGs since its release back in March 2010. Though admittedly the game might not have the visuals typical of other 2010 games, what it lacks in graphics it makes up for in design and flexibility. To make up for its visual weaknesses, Warband has a relatively large modding community, letting players create new worlds and improve upon TaleWorlds’ masterpiece. If there’s one mod, however, that comes to mind, it’d have to be A Clash of Kings, a Game of Thrones-themed total conversion that breathes new life into game.
The most notable improvement with A Clash of Kings is the overall retexturing of Warband. New high quality model skins and faces, hundreds of new items, and iconic environments from around Westeros and Essos alone update the game’s already-dated graphics and each faction has its own unique equipment, making every kingdom distinguishable from one another. Along with a sort of grunge filter, these improvements makes the world as dark and rugged as it ought to be, what with all the maiming and sacking that occurs in the A Song of Fire and Ice series.
Speaking of which, I find George R.R. Martin’s universe to be quite enthralling; an epic of fantastical medieval exploits, filled with political intrigue and emotional struggles? Count me in. Given the game’s setting and the circumstances of all out war as petty kings vie for control over an empire, the potential for success (and failure) makes this mod highly addictive.
Additionally, there are plenty more gameplay options to choose from. You can offer your services to any given Lord or Ser as a regular soldier, paid in rations, gold, and “all the loot you can carry.” From here, you can ascend the ranks, be given better equipment, and make a name for yourself within a given faction–however, keep in mind that the enemies you fight will also remember you.
If you prefer a ledger over a sword, there are more economic options to choose from, with more dynamic trading options, buying up land, and improving the surrounding countryside whilst you fatten your purse and inflate your prestige as a wealthy noble. After all, money is power.
Whatever you choose, there are more options as you create your character to help shape your destiny. Perhaps you grew up as a squire or as the apprentice of a Septon. No matter your origins, you have the potential to be great. All you need is the right people, the right skills, and the right time to act. With tons of new items, new skills, and new combat and dialogue options, the world is your oyster.
The main menu’s music is amazing. Though a ballad to the Lannisters (admittedly, aside from Tyrion, they’re far from my favorite house.. and no, that doesn’t make me a Stark fanboy by default), I find myself humming it when I’m out grocery shopping. Given how awesome the song is, I was hoping for a little bit more Game of Thrones themed audio throughout, but this isn’t so much a problem as it is me wanting more. What can I say, I like great things.
Some things that ought to be fixed though are minor bugs and rebalancing issues. Some of the starter weapons cannot penetrate most armor, making initial combat very difficult. I know that a rusty sword probably isn’t the best implement to wage war, but it’s aggravating when you do no damage to a measly raider. In fact, it’s quite concerning to think myself capable of becoming great of the local brigands are better outfitted than I am, but perhaps it’s this weakness that provides incentive to focus on more peaceful means of making money or enlisting as a foot soldier to a local lord. Of course, it also doesn’t help that the message feed will disappear randomly (it seems to be connected with the tournament/arena matches). I never knew how much I relied on it to know how much damage I was dealing, how relationships change, and if I’ve gained a level until *POOF* it was gone without warning.
Bugs aside, I have a few ideas for A Clash of King ‘s creator: it’d be awesome to see more intrigue and dialogue options, more factional differentiation (unique uniforms, equipment, etc.), and more quest variance. However, given the steady improvements since the mod’s release in September 2012, it’s safe to say that their development team will continue to add and integrate more features and items as time goes on.
Overall, A Clash of Kings is an awesome mod and if I were to sum it up in one sentence, it’d probably be the Darthmod of Mount & Blade: Warband (if you don’t know what Darthmod is, we got you covered). Feel free to download the mod at ModDB and even if you’re not that big into A Game of Thrones , this conversion isn’t something to easily pass up.