So I wasn’t really feeling up to playing anything all that current and decided to try a game I’ve been putting off playing that I heard of on several top tens lists and even a lot of positive chatter in the forums Mount and Blade. Now I love all sorts of rts/managerial sims but this game based on how you choose to play is so much more then that. With the sandbox style world map that allows you to travel, spotting lords and bandits among other things between cities, villages, castles, and lairs all of which can be interacted with based on an even further in depth political an reputation system.
With that, definitely came a significant learning curve. Your character unlike in many fantasy or rpg esq games is not an overly powerful entity able to slaughter armies or even groups at a time, and the first battle in which I was struck down realizing fuck I have to use a different key to unsheathe my sword and it starts me with a crossbow equipped in a fight in an alley... Quickly I realized even the game knows that was a dink move and playfully mocks me like a minor league parent saying at least you tried by allowing me to survive with no serious early ramifications. Hell, the merchant who picked my sorry ass up, off those from cobblestones even offered me a job. Probably feeling sorry for the desperate looking son of a Merchant who spent his childhood on the steppes but somehow managed to get into a university, which according to the games adjustable background selection process should give me some skill in trade, persuasion, archery, riding and some bonus skill points.
The merchant seems to have a handle on the inner turmoil of the realm and sends me off with a simple request, “Take this 100 coin and recruit 5 men or more to your group, then I can tell you where the kidnapping rogues took my brother.”
At first this request seems almost urgent with some general worry seeming to cross the merchants face, until of course he shows his true colours and states simply, “take your time.” Starting with the intention of treating this game like Sea Dogs, Pirates or any other other open world games with a supply and demand based economy, I quickly follow the brief instructions to the nearest village where 6 volunteers seem smitten enough to join my cause. Strange enough I haven't quite decided my cause yet, maybe they know about the kidnappers. Noticing for the first time that I'm able to recruit approximately 25-30 men, (Yay Leadership and Charisma does help) I can't help but get that over zealous feeling that leads me to the next three villages in a mad rush to max my party size. Wait a minute what do you mean I don't have enough to hire more men...and I have to pay them $69 now in the next 3 days! (Weekly) Damn better head to that merchant, he only wanted 5 men, I'll bring 18!
Charging across the coastline back towards my starting location It starts to seem like the 5 – 10 looters I've been coming across regularly have multiplied with groups as big as 22 now roaming the land near Sargoth. Figuring I'll pick up some experience and considering my numbers I charge a band of mere 12 men...wait a sec these aren't simple looters their Sea Raiders and the gear their wearing and wielding smashes me clean from my horse. (And here I was thinking I'd charge ahead of my men into the fray and whittle their numbers down)
Being defeated this game decides to mock me further asking me to sit back my left over recruits fight, but at this point its trivial, only 7 survived my ridiculous charge against a greater foe, the Sea Raiders. Now I'm prisoner to some jerk off petty rogue, and after approximately a minute of me watching the bastards cart my ass to and fro I finally drag my sorry self from my captors. Where in this realm have they dragged me anyway..
This was my first of about three characters in an attempt to navigate the overwhelming depth of Mount and Blade and thankfully now I'm working with several nobles throughout the game as well as running two villages (that pay me taxes), three breweries and a mill (pay me on supply and demand), one city (adds taxes, can control garrison and manage construction projects). All while playing a solid army management sim in a world the developers leave open to your interpretation.
You can be a merchant, band of thieves, knight on campaigns, mayor, duke, adventurer and even King, though so far only a few are willing to swear fealty to me that's my end game and I'll definitely screen shot that shit!