Mount&Blade - Warband Preview @ GameBanshee
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March 8th, 2010, 22:23
Regarding Brother None's preview: thank you, it was excellent.
I actually agree with most everything about how Taleworlds implemented MP (aside from the fact that I've been vehemently anti-MP - wanting them to instead focus on improving SP play). They definitely abandoned RPG in favor of action for MP, but I think it was the right choice. The problem is the learning curve is steep. I played the MP beta for a couple days and it has to be one of the most frustrating experiences in all my years of gaming.
I like that you die easily (realistic) and I like that you are somewhat limited in how much more powerful you can be over another player. In fact, even the amount of character improvement you can make via equipment across the round makes a huge impact since the most skilled players end up with the best equipment and become really difficult to kill (because of their already formidable skill added to being able to take 2-3x as much damage - my estimation since it would take usually 2-3 solid 2h weapon hits to kill them instead of 1).
Additionally, the players are, in general, really nice. My very first time playing, someone spectated me and explained to me that I needed to learn to manual block, and he was right. Other times, people spent a significant amount of time helping me even though they couldn't play while they were talking and indeed would get killed while doing so. So the community is superb.
And none of that changed how much frustration this usually patient gamer was experiencing. I don't mind dying a lot. I don't mind paying my dues. But when you are dying most often on first contact or being lanced in the back or arched through the head, I wasn't actually able to improve.
Part of the problem was likely of my own causing. I was choosing a more difficult path on principle. I didn't want to be cavalry or archer because they are generally regarded as annoying (I couldn't agree more) and somewhat low-skill positions. And for whatever masochistic reasons I stuck with 2h weapons almost entirely. So perhaps I've been unfair to the game and to myself.
Ping also seems to have an even more profound effect in M&B than in other MP action games. That said, I found the netcode to be pretty good for an indie game.
Perhaps on release they will have more newbie servers so people of the same skill level can actually learn and not just die. My skills did improve over time, but it required me to stick with it through a ton of frustration. I can't say I was ever actually having much fun. 1v1 duels were a blast and that's about it. And 80% of the time someone will come up and stab you in the back when you are dueling (understandable on non-dueling servers, but no less disappointing). I just wish some of the dueling servers had a decent ping for me, unfortunately, none did.
Anyways, I hope after this they return to focusing on improving the SP side of the game. I really loved the original M&B.
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