Mount and Blade co-op voices unite! A fan-made mod for Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord had managed to take the base game and turn it into an MMO style game. Well, sort of…
What is Bannerlord Online?
Bannerlord Online is a project by modder Storm54 on moddb.com. The mod changes the base game of Bannerlord into a fully playable online MMO. Having played the mod I can see that it is still in its early stages of development but for the moment, you can in fact run around on the single player map, engage in battles with AI looters, join other players’ battles and fight other players in PvP in the game’s arena battles.
The mod works fairly well when it does work. Although all of the weapons and units are not yet in the mod, the mod is in a really great starting point where it is. Players that have wanted to play mount and blade with a friend in co-op should be really excited about the mod.
Getting Started in Bannerlord Online…
The developer of the mod has made a relatively simple process for installing and creating a character for the mod. First, head over to the official Bannerlord Online website where you can create an account, so you can start playing the game. All of your inventory and character is stored on the server so once you make a character and start playing you will have all of your position and inventory stored there when you log back on.
Once you’ve signed up with your email download and run the launcher which can be found on the front page of the Bannerlord online website. Once downloaded you will have to launch the game through this launcher in order to play the game.
Another hot tip is to make sure you are opted out of any beta programs for Mount and Blade Bannerlord on steam. I was running an old version of the game which would not work with the Bannerlord online mod. Then, that should be it! Run the launcher, sign in and you will be taken to a kind-of familiar title screen. Although instead of running a new game you will be presented with the option to join one of the two server currently available for the game.
For now, there are only two servers running which are in Russia. One is capped at 800 at the time of writing and the other was at 600 players. Both were basically full. Yes that’s right, through this mod there are currently about 800 people playing Bannerlord together on the same server. How it works completely alludes me, but I’m enjoying the experience a lot.
Your Mount and Blade Co-op Adventure Begins…
You will then be taken to the regular character customization screen. You can choose your faction buff and customize your very own Mount and Blade mmo character. Although you aren’t able to assign any skills, they will level up with time. After a brief tutorial of missions showing a few of the different mechanics available in the mod you will be sent into free-roaming sandbox possibilities.
You will immediately see a lot of different people roaming around the map near you. Every character starts their adventure from the same location in Bannerlord Online so you will immediately see what looks like an ant colony roaming around your location. One of the cool features is that everything plays out in real time. One of the biggest problems that developers and modders always faced with creating co-op mount and blade experiences what the fact that in the single player game when the player would engage in the battle the rest of the world would stop time around them. It seems that the modding team for Bannerlord Online circumvented that by just having everything play out in real time. Which is really, really cool.
This means that you can see when two parties are engaged in a battle on the main map and you can even jump in and help out a fellow player mid-way through their battle. When the game doesn’t crash, it plays really really well. Speaking of crashes…
I did play the game for about 6 or 7 hours in total so far. In that time the mod has crashed 5 times. Completely understandably. I mean, the mod has been out for roughly 4 days and supports 800 players in one server! Also, it is a mod of a game that is currently in early access. Given the circumstances, the crashing every now and then can be forgiven.
When the game doesn’t crash, it plays really really well.
What Can You Do in the Mod?
There are a bunch of different activities available in the mod. You can already hire your own troops and make money in the game. Most of your time will be spent trying to make money. MMO’s always have a grind and Bannerlord Online is no exception to that. You can make money by farming along with other plays, winning money by fighting in the arena, defeating looter parties around the map and doing small missions that can be collected in towns from different NPCs.
Unfortunately for the moment, whilst you can get loot from defeating enemy parties, you cannot sell said loot anywhere. Doing so will require a trader’s license which has not yet been implemented into the mod. Though the early stages of this mod seem quite bare this is an incredible foundation of a mod that plays well given the amount of players.
One of the great experiences I had was that I was roaming along the countryside minding my own business when suddenly a looter army of 25 attacked my small party of 6. Feeling my defeat had already been written I stood there and watched as the countdown to the start of the battle was nearing 0. Suddenly out of nowhere another player party of 10 rushed into the battle with me and following them another party of 12. We crushed the looters and my rag tag group of peasants (and 1 Battanian Wood-Runner) lived to fight another day! This really has the feeling of great battles with other players. The same sandbox open story-telling that makes the Mount and Blade series great can be had in Bannerlord Online.
Get the mod, try it out for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments below! Maybe I’ll see you in Calradia sometime!