Mount and Blade Warband Strategy Guide
So for a long while I've wanted to write a strategy guide for a game, but I haven't found one that I really liked enough to actually learn something about, or keep playing it for a while. Warband has really hooked me, so I've been on and off putting together a guide to help new players get up to speed in warband.
Most of the stuff here will be known by anyone who has played a while, but even if you have, you might enjoy some of the dueling tips at the end for my point of view on things.
I find playing infantry one of the most interesting roles in warband, and also feel there is a lot to learn in order to fight effectively. I've tried to include everything from the basics up to some of my anecdotal evidence I've collected from my playing. There are parts that will need a bit of help, and I generally tend to not remember precise weapon names/stats, so I may be incorrect at places, but I think for a new player my overviews should be helpful. Regardless, I hope everybody can find some benefit here from my incoming wall of text ;)
Warband Infantry Primer
Updated: Version 1.105
Would like to keep adding some training/education style videos as time goes on up here to help players get up to speed.
http://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/ ... 060r1214t4
Video Tutorial - A quick run through of all warband infantry vs infantry mechanics, briefly touching on most of the key points.
Team DM with Comments - Some team dm runs which highlight common errors new players tend to make. Hopefully seeing things on the other end of the table can help people out.
A note about ping
In warband ping numbers seem smaller than other games. If you have 100+ ping, you are in a high lag situation and should expect the game to not behave entirely correct. There have been some slight changes, so it is still possible to manual block, but attacks will seem to come at you faster and you have to react in a smaller window than in a low ping situation. If you are having a lot of trouble playing, check your ping, it might be just that which is causing you problems.
If you have a good ping (~50 or lower), you still have to be somewhat careful of players with a high ping. Occasionally their attacks will be a bit laggy and skip a few frames. Just be extra attentive when you see someone with a rocket high ping, for the most part they will be swinging at air, but the attacks can come suddenly and be a bit laggy.
So overall, it is definitely playable at a higher ping, and some players have really figured out how to do well with it, but you are going to have a harder time than someone with a low ping. In general you will probably want to use a shield to start out as infantry with a high ping.
Attacking, the basics:
When swinging a melee weapon. you generally have 4 attack directions. Most weapons will have a left, right, and overhead swing. Some weapons additionally have a thrust attack, and long pikes will only have a thrust and overhead attack.
Right swing - Swing will cross horizontally right to left in front of you. This horizontal swing is one of the faster swings to be released, meaning, when you click the button and release, this swing will be one of the fastest to impact a player.
Left swing - Swing will cross horizontally left to right. This swing takes a bit more time for the weapon to travel into it's chambered position. This attack does have a slight reach advantage over the right attack with a 2h.
Overhead swing - Swing goes up over your head and straight down in front of you. This attack is the slowest of all and is harder to aim since the swing must be precise. This can score a quick kill if someone is not wearing a helmet though. (.850) - 1h swing hitbox is slightly to the right of center, take care to aim where the weapon goes and not dead center of your character model. (will have to test, not sure if this is true in .860 or back to the old way)
Thrust - The weapon will come straight out in front of you. This attack has the longest reach, and is often tricky to spot coming out. It has the disadvantage of being harder to aim than a left to right swing and must be guided to the target. If you thrust at someone point blank range, the hit will 'whiff' doing no damage, but interrupting the target. (.850) Thrust is a bit different now in that it has some travel time behind you then forward, so it is a little easier to spot coming out. The 1h reach for thrust is still longest, but only by a tiny bit.
Kick - Middle mouse button by default, but is bindable to whatever you want. The kick is an extremely short range attack that will interrupt and slightly stun your opponent. (.850) Kick has very little rotation, so aim where your target will be by the time the kick lands. If you try to attack during the kick, your swing will be reset as you come out of the kick. To attack afterwords, your foot must be fully down for about half a second, then you may attack. Kick can not get activated while moving forward too fast, so generally it is hard to run in on a person and kick them. Save it for when someone is too close for comfort.
Fists - When your weapon is sheathed, or you are not carrying a weapon at all, you may still attack with your fists. There are 4 different attacks as above, and you may also block other fist attacks with your arms. Generally people will box for fun, as the range and damage is next to nothing with your fists. As a last resort, you can sometimes get a kill shot on a player with next to no health (though again you won't really find yourself with out a melee weapon, unless you have 3 crossbows :) )
Weapon Mode Toggle - When using a throwing weapon, hit this key (X by default) to toggle between throwing weapon mode, or using the throwing weapon in melee mode. When using nord long axes, this key will swap between a poleaxe mode where you may thrust, and a regular swinging mode. (.850) Also note for the cavalrymen out there, you use this key to switch into couched lance mode while using a lance from horseback.
Sprint- When you run forward not doing anything for a bit, your speed will increase. If you generally do ANYTHING (swap weapons, raise your shield etc) it will drop you out of this sprint mode.
Archer / Thrown weapon Bump - If you run into a player aiming a bow, crossbow, or throwing weapon, from the front only, you interrupt them with small bumps constantly as you press into them. You are still susceptible to kicks here, and if they take out a melee weapon (or with a thrower swap to melee mode) it will no longer work.
"Autorun" - Not a feature per say, but if you bring up the chat bar while running forward, you will continue running forward. This is helpful to do when you need to run into position quickly but still need to type.
Blocking, the basics
There are two forms of blocking when you do not have a shield, auto or manual. Auto and manual are a server setting, but you can still set yourself to manual block all the time in your options. Most players prefer manual block as it adds more dynamic gameplay.
Auto - Press and hold the block button (right mouse button by default) and your weapon will snap to the correct block direction of the person in front of you. If the person attacking changes attack directions, you have to release the block button and press again to correct to the new position.
Manual - You must select the correct direction of the attack to block. Depending on how you have your configuration set up, the way you move your mouse may be different to get the block to come out, so I'll just describe where the player animates to block correctly.
If the weapon is coming from your left, (opponents right side), you must block so that your weapon is on your left side.
To block from the right is the opposite.
Overhead attacks are blocked when the sword is raised at eye level horizontally.
Thrusts are blocked when the sword is low and horizontal.
With horizontal swings (left/right block), you can still block an attack if you pick the wrong direction. If the swing is coming from the right, and you block left, if you turn your character such that the weapon is between you and the incoming swing (to your right), you will still block the attack. The area for this to happen is somewhat small, but it can save you sometimes when you are in close to an opponent. The rule of thumb when blocking left/right is that your sword must be between your body and the incoming weapon (as it should be! ).
Shield Blocking - When you have a shield equipped out on your left hand, simply hold the block button down to bring the shield in position. The shield will block any melee strike coming at you from the front, as well as arrows.
* Not sure if this is still here *New in .660 you can manual block with the shield. If you block the correct direction, the shield will take less damage and last longer.
Not sure on this section anymore, been a bit since I played with arrows flying at me
Arrows can skim over the top of your shield and strike your head, especially when the archer is shooting at an elevated position. Arrows may also strike your legs for a free hit. You may raise the shield up or down depending on the way you are looking while holding the block button.
I would suggest keeping the shield high when advancing on archers that are elevated to protect your head better, while keeping the shield lower when moving in towards archers on level ground to make foot shots harder.
As the shield takes damage, the icon in the lower right will change from a fully formed shield, to an icon of shields in pieces. When enough damage is done, your shield will explode into splinters and be gone.
One final note about your shield. When blocking arrows and throwing weapons, your shield is ALWAYS active when it is out on your character model. This means if you have your primary, or a secondary shield on your back, any arrows coming in at your back will be absorb by the shield there. Even when you are swinging a weapon, and the shield is held at and odd angle out to your left, arrows and throwing weapons coming from your side will stick into the shield still. You can even have projectiles stick to the INSIDE of your shield if hit from side angle while it is out.
Chamber Blocking - If you chamber an attack in the correct direction as an opponents attack is about to hit you, you will block the attack. Think of it as knocking the blade away as your char moves into his strike position. A chamber block will negate any stun you would get from blocking a heavy blow.
The correct swing directions are:
Left or Right attacks = same direction as manual block. If their sword is out to their right (left side of their body as you look at them), you swing to your characters left to block. Visa versa if it is the other direction.
A thrust coming at you is chamber blocked with an overhead attack (.850) or another thrust.
An overhead attack coming at you is chamber blocked with (.850) another overhead attack.
I have an example video here recorded in .650 that shows some chamber blocking in action, though it is an older version so things aren't exactly as they are now.
Also note to chamber block your weapon must basically make contact with their weapon. It works on about a 35 degree arc in front of your character, so if a long weapon is coming at you from the side, face the weapon coming in, and swing just a microsecond before the actual weapon is about to hit you to chamber block.
Feinting - Feinting is the act of stopping a swing mid motion and changing its direction. The reason for feinting is to confuse your opponent. If using autoblock, they may not correct in time and take a hit. If using manual block, it might just be overwhelming for them to select the correct block direction. You can even use it to throw off the other person's timing in shield to shield combat. They might think it is their 'turn' to attack, when you just feinted and your real swing is in motion as their guard drops.
To perform feints:
While holding the attack button, move the mouse in another attack direction and hit the block button. Your character will change his swing direction. You can also hit block button at any time during the first half of a swing to pull out into a block, then go immediately into a swing with the attack button. Generally you can feint out of a swing when it is before the midpoint of the animation.
So for example, to perform a right to left feint:
Chamber (by holding down the attack button) a swing to the right. Move the mouse to the left, then hit the right mouse button. You will see the weapon start on the right, then start to move into a chambered left swing. Feints can be done as many times as you want in any direction.
There are four inventory slots for weapons in the inventory select screen. Left click the square you want to change to bring up the options of weapons/armor you can use for that slot, then left click to select what you want to buy. To clear a slot, right click on it. When the game starts, all of your equipment will be purchased. If your total equipment selected is too expensive (total is in red), the game will pick what it thinks to be the 'best fit' for what you can afford. Instead of your expensive 1h sword, you might find yourself with a middle of the road one.
Generally the game does a good job getting you what you want, but if your total is in the red, it is best to find the trade offs yourself rather than letting the game do it, but only if you have time.
There are now key bindings to select which weapon you want. If you select a shield it will put the shield away. If the last time you had a weapon that could use a shield, but the shield was put away, it will remember that 'setting' and not take the shield out again.
Rolling the mouse wheel down will always work your shield, and sometimes when you have a two hander out and want to get a shield out to block an arrow NOW, just roll the mouse down, then afterwords select the proper weapon slot to change to it.
Dropping and Picking up Weapons
When you press the drop weapon, it will place your currently equipped weapon on the ground. If you have a 1 handed weapon and shield out, the 1 handed weapon will drop first. With another press, the shield will drop. If you would like to just drop the shield, sheath your weapon first, then press the drop key.
To pick up a weapon, look down at it until you see a tool tip for it. Press your use key to pick it up. This weapon will go to the first available inventory slot, and be immediately equipped for use.
If you are carrying stacks of arrows or throwing weapons, make note of how many you have left. Currently throwing weapons come in stacks of four. This means if you have 8 weapons, you are using two inventory spaces. When you have thrown 4 weapons, you have a free space and may pick up another weapon. This works the same with arrow stacks as well.
Mount and Blade Combat Mechanics
Stuns - There is a slight stun mechanic in warband now. When you are stunned you can still block, but you can not attack, and your weapon is 'frozen' and won't respond to the attack button. Generally the stun is very short. There are several factors to determine when a stun occurs:
Most important now is 'chamber time'. When you hold the attack button down the swing stay cocked back, ready to be released. As you hold the button, you can see the sword come back, shift almost horizontally, and then sit in place. This small 'after shift' is your chamber time. It takes .6 sec to reach peak chamber bonus, and then falls down. At the peak of the chamber bonus, your stun effect will be 1.6 times normal. As you pass the peak, you will fall back down and stay at a 1.2 times stun effect bonus.
The short version is that, if you want to stun, you have to hold the attack down a little bit longer before you release.
After chamber time, weapon weight difference is a big factor. If you swing a heavy weapon at a light 1 handed weapon, the stun effect will be quite noticeable. The greater the weight difference between weapons, the greater the stun effect.
Finally, of all the swings, overheads have the greatest chance of adding stun to the attack.
So, the best way to see a stun is to use a great axe with a chambered overhead attack against a blocking scimitar.
Crush-through - Generated similarly to stuns. I think blunt weapons are the only ones that can crush through. What a crush through will do is blast right through a person's block and do damage to them, even if holding a shield. In game play, what this means is that basically Rhodok 2 handed hammer's overhead hits will hit you no matter what, so stay away from them :) Generally try to avoid a large speed bonus and stay away from chambered overhead strikes and you can avoid this.
Weapon Sweet Spots
When you swing a weapon and try to hit someone just as the animation is released, it will do no damage and not interrupt the person you attacked out of a swing.
After a short moment in the swing it will do about 1/3 damage and interrupt.
Finally after that mark the weapon will do full damage. The sweet spot effect is slight and expires in probably less then half a second into a swing.
The reason for this is to prevent instant hits at the start of a swing if someone is standing right off to your side. It is also the reason that a point blank thrust will do no damage... because the weapon is touching your enemy, it contacts immediately, doing no damage.
Heavy armor will increase the effects of this indirectly. If you hit someone with the 1/3 reduced damage, armor can absorb or drastically reduce the amount of that already reduced damage even more. With a low damage weapon it might reduce it to a whiff. This means that the sweet spots are even more pronounced against heavily armored foes and you really have to hit someone who is armored out of the sweet spot to hurt them.
Also take note that some swing animations like the great axe or spear start way back over your shoulder, so it is very possible the 'sweet spot timer' has expired before the weapon even clears the line of your shoulders.
So while you should try hit on the early part of your swing, you shouldn't hit TOO early in it!
Depending where you hit an opponent with a weapon (arrows/thrown weapons especially) you will do more damage. Hits to the head do the most, hits to the body are in the middle, and hits to the legs the least. For reference, the head target area is the CHIN and up on the model, not the neck.
Generally in melee it is hard to aim up or down, but over time you will be able to see and aim for the head more. It is particularly good to try to strike helmetless opponents in the head, as they will take much more damage than their armored body (and consequently is a good reason YOU should take a helmet). Overhead strikes tend to hit the head more frequently than an aimed side swing, so think about those a little more when someone has no helmet.
Also, I believe the animation and noise when you hit the head is different. The enemy yells louder and will sometimes bring their hands up to their face in the hit animation, so that can help you tell when you connect to the head region.
Weapon Damage Types
(Will need help here, not 100% on weapon type differences)
There are three types of damage in Mount and Blade:
Blunt - All 2 handed hammers, clubs, and other hammer like weapons do this damage. Blunt damage has a chance to randomly knock down an opponent when you do damage to them. Blunt also can block crush given sufficient force from an overhead attack. (Can all types crush?)
Piercing - Any kind of thrusting swords and spears, as well as military picks will do this damage. Generally the damage numbers are smaller for these attacks, but they make up with it by ignoring more of the opponents armor.
Cutting - Sword slashes and axes do this type of damage. Generally the damage numbers are bigger here, but will do less damage against heavily armored foes, but more to lightly armed foes.
Weapons and Armor:
Ok, so we have fired a game, picked our favorite faction, and are now staring at a dizzying array of weaponry and armor. What to do now? Well, here is a little bit about each weapon type to help you get started.
First, take note of the stats. The MAIN stats you want to pay attention to are weapon speed, and weapon length. More damage is better of coarse, but the speed and length of your weapon will play the greatest factor in your success.
(.850)Reordered categories and condensed a bit.
Here are the general weapon types you will run into:
1 Handed Weapons - You will find these on all factions and of all varieties. Except for some swords, most of these weapons do not have a thrust attack. All of these weapons may be used with a shield, but using the shield will slow them down. In general though, all of these weapons do lighter damage, have a short reach, weigh less, and are faster than most 2 handers (if used without a shield!). Be careful against 2 handers because they will stun you frequently and due to the short length, will be able to attack you first.
A quick run down of the 1h types:
Thrust Swords - (Nord, Swadia, and Saranid) Versatile swords that have a thrust attack on them. Generally the variety is short and fast or longer and slower.
Non Thrust Swords - (Vaegir, Khergit, Rhodok) Scimitars are fast, but do light damage. Rhodok soldiers cleaver is more on par with the thrust swords' damage.
Maces - (Vaegir) Blunt damage, so they will knock people down randomly. 1H blunt weapons are too light to block crush.
Axes - (Nord, Khergit, Saranid) Extra damage to shields, will eat them up quickly. Reasonably fast, and good damage.
Picks - Piercing damage, so will hurt people in heavy armor more than cutting damage (swords).
2 Handed Weapons - Can not use a shield with these weapons. Many of these weapons have thrust attacks. They hit for large damage, are fast, and have a long range. Many are tagged with an "unbalanced" stat, which means that they are harder to pull out of an attack into a block and are a little slower to recover. Basically when you see this tag, try to be decisive in your decision to attack or defend.
2H weapon varieties include:
2H Swords - (Swadia) These have the same general rules as the 1 handed thrust swords, except they are slower, BUT the 2 handed variety are LONGER. Using a great sword, you even have a reasonably good chance of thrusting a guy off a horse who is charging you with a thrust. But your primary tactics here are to use your weapon length to hit at range, and to use the thrust as a 'get back' technique to keep people at bay and to score kills at a longer distance.
2H Axes- (Nord, Saranid) - Same shield smashing properties as the 1h axes. They are unbalanced so will not make strong dueling weapons. The Nord long axes can be switched into polearm mode with thrown weapon toggle button, allowing a thrust attack. In a crowd, the great long axes are devastating with their huge range and massive damage, but are slow and easily blocked by an aware opponent. They are capable of producing a lot of stun to 1h weapons if you hold the attack down slightly before release.
2 Handed Hammers - (Rhodok) Great hammers are heavy, slow, and short. They are unbalanced. They have the block crush on their overhead attack, which means generally if you can get close and land the slow attack, you will do damage. Because of this, most of your hits/kills will come from either hitting an unprepared opponent with an overhead, or stepping in and striking them after a close miss. Most of the time, you will not be able to out feint an opponent for a hit with this weapon.
Warspear - There are other spear types, but generally the warspear is the the weapon to take when you want a short spear. Warspears are very fast, do light damage, and have a long range in terms of melee weapons. They may be wielded with a shield, but can only thrust attack when doing so. A spear + shield is a great defensive combination as you can quickly poke into foes as you back up, but will not stand strong on its own. Using the spear with 2 hands gives you very rapid, mid to long range attacks to overwhelm your foe, but does low damage. The spear with no shield is a very attack oriented weapon.
Awlpikes and Pikes - These are REALLY long spears typically used as anti cavalry weapons. Their range will be well beyond any other weapon. Pikes can not be wielded with a shield. They can only attack from an overhead or thrusting attack. The thrust is the primary mode to attack with. These weapons make great crowd weapons when people are not focusing you as you can reach out and rapidly stab into already engaged enemies for high damaging attacks. But when horses are near, get near someone with a pike and let them do the work for you.
Street Sweepers - Just a note here, there are some weapons I call street sweepers because they do just that in a crowd. The ones that stand out the Vaegir Great Bardarchi, the Nord Great Axe, and Rhodok War Cleaver. For the most part these will one shot almost anybody and have a very long range. Just be careful when you see these weapons, as one slip up will usually end your life fast. When focused they are not very strong dueling weapons, but you still must be careful as they pack quite a punch.
Bastards - These are weapons that fit a role between a fast 1 handed weapon and a longer 2h weapon. They may be used with or without a shield, but bastard weapons are VERY slow with a shield out. These weapons are at their best without a shield. Swadia has two bastard swords to use, and the Rhodok's have the morningstar.
Bastard swords are most dueler's preferred weapons since they are so versatile and can make you a threat at any distance. Morningstars are super slow but have some stun on the hit to 1 handers. They can be tricky in their slowness, but generally it is a poor weapon and the speed and short range will really hurt you.
Others - There are a couple I glanced over. Vaegir 2h clubs (like slow spears with knockdown), Rhodok Glaive (slow spear with more damage), Vaegir Bardarchi (like nord 2h axes). But judge for yourself, just look at the properties of each and you should be able to find their niche. I will mention the Saranid 2h mace though, it is fast, does good damage, has a thrust attack, can knock down, and will sometimes crush through 1h weapons. It is a great weapon to use for that faction.
Throwing Weapons - Javelins, wardarts, throwing axes, etc. Nord throwing axes do extra damage to shield as per all axes. Generally as infantry you want to have at least one stack of these on you as it increases your versatility exponentially. Remember in a pinch they can be switched to melee mode so you can block and attack. Sometimes their shortness can be deceptive for players, but in general you want to get a 'real' weapon out if you get tangled up in melee asap.
Not much to say about the left side of the screen here. Armor. More is better! Primarily select the body armor as your first choice for spending money. Head armor will help you survive archer's fire and thrown weapons to your face, as well as keep you up if you take a melee hit to the head. Make sure you check this column, as often there is some head gear available for only 6 denars or so and is worth grabbing.
Foot armor is again primarily for arrows. Generally the only time you will get hit in the foot is if someone is stabbing down (rare) or you are charging an archer / xbowmen with your shield up and they will be firing into your foot to get beyond the shield.
Gloves are there to give you a slight armor boost, but they cost a lot for not much gain. Might be worth it to sometimes get the first set of leather gloves, or more if you have excess cash (usually not often).
In the past armor encumbrance and weight would slow you down, now, the effects are so reduced, that there is really no reason to skip out on armor if you can afford it.
In DM you can generally goof around, but in Battle you will need to spend a little bit of time setting your equipment up for varied situations. As infantry, you are going to face 3 primary threats. In descending order of importance, Ranged Weapons, Cavalry, and other Infantry.
Ranged - Bolts and Arrows will come pouring in at you almost as soon as the round starts. Always try to block LOS between yourself and the other team if you can, but really at the end of the day what this means is that you are going to need a shield if you want to close with the other team. Take the strongest one you can get! Remember, if a shield is on your back, your back is protected from arrows.
Without fail, you will also get barraged with throwing weapons when you close to mid range with enemy infantry. Your best bet here is to dodge and LOS the thrown weapons, but most definitely have a shield up if you are near the front, especially if you want to advance.
Note, the low end shield will break fast, and can't take many arrows or melee hits, but they do get the job done. Also, if you take more than one shield, or heavy weapons (such as the great hammer) you will run much slower, so keep that in mind when picking a load out.
Cavalry - You may or may not have to deal with them depending on your focus. If there are just a few, the best you can do is have good situational awareness and dodge away if they come at you and hope your teammates have taken something to deal with it. Cav can be dealt with when you have a long weapon like a pike or spear, with throwing weapons (hit the horses head if you can to knock them down), or by staying clear and letting your ranged troops hit them. A well timed jump slash or thrust with a non pike weapon can kill riders as well, but generally this will only work against unaware or inexperienced cavalry.
Infantry - Here is everything else to deal with, and this should be your primary concern for your main weapon selection. Having a 2 hander out in battle is dangerous due to the threat from ranged weapons, so be reasonably sure you are 'safe' from ranged attack before showing it. Also, manual blocking more than one person is difficult, so if you find yourself out numbered, consider going back to your shield and 1 hander.
*NOTE* Costs are adjusted as patches are made. Throwing weapons are expensive now and you really have to commit to them to pick them up. The point here is that you can't start with all these load outs, but they at least give an example of what to think about while selecting your weapons.
So an example load out for a rhodok who wants to deal with cav might look like this:
Slot 1 - Military Pick
Slot 2 - Board Shield
Slot 3 - Pike
Slot 4 - Javelins
This way you can hang back a bit with your ranged guys, protect them from cav with your pike or by throwing javelins, then when infantry catch up to you, you can do reasonably well with your strong shields and 1 handed weapon.
A Swadian who might want to stay turtled up and close with other infantry might load himself out like this
Slot 1 - Arming Sword
Slot 2 - Heavy Shield
Slot 3 - free shield
Slot 4 - Which ever, another shield, blank to save for armor, a 2 handed weapon, or an awlpike.
A Nord who wants to play a tough throwing game might pick
Slot 1 - Hurscarl Shield
Slot 2 - Throwing Axe
Slot 3 - Throwing Axe
Slot 4 - Throwing Axe
Just remember to pick up your missed axes and don't throw them ALL away, keep one for melee!
Another load out for a Vaegir spearmen
Slot 1 - Warspear
Slot 2 - Heavy Shield
Slot 3 - Javelins
Slot 4 - Javelins or another shield.
But you get the idea here, think about what you want to deal with, and make sure you pick weapons and armor appropriately to deal with those situations. But above all, in battle mode, you really, really should take a shield.
The Art of Fighting and Getting Good
So now that you are all ready to start cutting into your fellow players, the best thing you can do is find yourself a fast respawning game. I would highly recommend Deathmatch as a starting server type. The action is somewhat chaotic and frantic at times, but you come back almost instantly after death, and generally rack up a large amount of money to try different weapons and armor sets out. This is the place to learn and improve your general fighting skills.
Usually when I find I am having trouble doing things, for example, frequently missing targets with throwing weapons, I'll head over to deathmatch and load up with 4 sets of axes or something and just keep hurling them at targets until I get a feel for the aim/speed of them. Generally you will get run over by horses from behind and shot in the head from archers. This is ok as you will respawn in 5 seconds, and if anything, spending time here will net you a huge amount of situational awareness.
Also, spend just as much time if possible in battle, or Fight and Destroy modes. In these modes, for each round of play, you only have one life. These games are paced much slower, and to survive long, you will need a balanced set of gear to deal with the many situations you encounter. Further, good teamwork is essential, and proper tactical choices by your team are highly reward. When you start out, your best bet is to stick with the largest mass of players you see moving in one direction until you get a good feel for the pace of games.
Allllllright, enough with the basics. I find for action oriented games like this, the best types of strategies are the random collection of tips for what works in certain situations. There is no one way to beat a person in an action game, but instead it takes knowledge of all the strategies at your disposal, as well as the muscle memory to perform the actions, as well as knowledge of your opponent himself! So without further adue, random tips:
PATIENCE!!!!! Biggest bold font I can think of here. Waiting until you know the timing is good and carefully going in to strike range is what is going to keep you alive and give you the most kills. Yes, if you can do things fast with the same precision, all the better. But if you can do that, you wouldn't be reading this and probably know much better than me :) But for any tip or thing you can do, keep in the back of your head, patience. There is a time to move fast and react fast, but wait until you identify those times, otherwise keep it slow and easy and wait for those good openings.
Archers - Frequently you find yourself staring at an archer far out who is lobbing arrows at you. The first thing you must learn when dodging arrows, is to recognize the sound and timing of arrow fire. Playing an archer really helps to learn it by heart. But basically, since the window for aiming is a small time frame after the bow is loaded (after the 'squeeeeeze' sound), the archer is going to have to shoot at this point. Not before, not after. So, as you are running, when you hear the squeeze noise, as soon as that finishes, strafe. NEVER JUMP. Jumping in this game makes you a ridiculously easy target and will net you an arrow in the gut. When you chose to strafe, pick left or right RANDOMLY.
When I say random, do not pick left, then right, then left, then right. Random is flipping a coin, 50% chance on each flip. This means you might dodge left 10 times in a row. Pick a random direction each time, and the archer will have a hell of a time hitting you. And yes, sometimes dodging is moving in a straight line, though that's not advised all the time.
When you get the timing down and are using a shield, after a missed shot, drop your shield (ie stop holding block) and run forward, this will increase your run speed slightly and get you there faster. Just make sure you get the shield back up before the archer can rip a shot off again.
A trick you can use sometimes is if you have a pike, keep it hidden until you get somewhat close, then tear it out when you get near and stab. Many times when they had time to get get one last shot off with your sword out, the range of the pike will narrow that window down and you can get a free hit or kill with the surprising extra range of your pike.
Now with sprint, try to keep that going as long as possible to close the distance, but keep your shield up. Without a shield, keep forward progress and don't swap weapons, its better to come at full sprint speed then to try to take out something different, unless it's a shield.
With the archer bump, it eliminates the stalemate of having your shield up and an archer having a drawn bow at point blank. When a player has a ranged weapon or a bow out if you run into their front, they will be 'bumped' and drop out of their aim animation. Many times you can close and bump them out of a shot, though only if you have a very short weapon. It is faster to just thrust ahead though since that has more range and can hit them before you would bump them.
You can also use thrown weapons, but they are less accurate and if you are not careful a good shooter can hit you mid throw. Generally it is just easier to get up close to the archer unless they are REALLY good then you might want to stick with a ranged weapon and gamble a bit more to take them down as fast as possible.
Finally, when you do start to melee the archer, you have to make sure you keep them in range. If they get too far away, they will take their bow out again and may be able to get in a foot shot or something to take you down before you can close. Keep that in the back of your head you have to stick within striking range (striking range being the time it takes you to close while they switch weapons, draw and release ).
Crossbowmen - With crossbowmen, all the same apply, except they can hold their shot forever. Generally they will get fewer shots on you, due to their reload time, so when they are aiming at you, do the freaked out monkey dance left and right randomly... *RANDOMLY*... until they pop a shot off. If you are close or have a bad shield, the bolt can penetrate and hit you. If they miss, drop your shield and run like hell to get up close to them, putting your shield up as they begin to re-aim at you. BE CAREFUL, some people will take 2, or even 3 crossbows and pull them out and fire at you in rapid succession.
Crossbowmen generally have shields, so be ready for a possibly long fight as you close, but usually they will be unable to reload the crossbow with you around, so you can just concentrate on melee with them.
Another common scenario is you standing in the field looking at a horse barreling full speed at you. If you are facing Swadia, chances are he has a great lance out that makes him able to stab you from half way across the map. Horses moving fast can not turn very quickly, so often times if you see the horse at a distance you can move away from him enough that he will miss wide.
Your best bet is to be near a tree or rock or barrier. Stand on one side of it, and as they come up, move to the other. Play ring around the rosy with them using the tree.
Stand along walls. If a horse charges straight at you and misses, they will be stuck on the wall, and very vulnerable to you. If you are along a wall though, be wary of players making a charge parallel along the wall. It makes it harder to dodge since you only have one way to go, so be careful.
If you are out in the open, the safest spot as of this patch is right between the horse eyes. If they hit you, you will take little to no damage, maybe get knocked down, and maybe even stop the horse dead in its tracks. As of this patch, lances will 'bounce' over the horses head when cavalry are aiming, making the space in front of the horse a weapon dead zone. Just be careful as the horseman will be turning away from you to graze by from the side, so while you might be safe now, at the last moment, you may not be.
Down block if you have no shield. A down block will stop a thrust from a lance, but will NOT stop a couch. If they are couching, dodge, or use a shield. If the horseman is using another weapon, take note of his swing direction just like manual blocking on foot and block that way. You can even chamber block a weapon swing from horseback but the only thing that accomplishes is making you feel good about yourself :) The horse will ride past or bump you out of your swing before you can hit them.
If you have a ranged weapon, the most reliable way to stop them is to hit the horse's head. This may not kill the horse outright if you are an archer or they are not going fast enough. If you aim for the rider, it is a smaller target and you may miss or hit his shield. If they go down, swing wildly into the ground where they slid. If it is a 'far slide' look about 3/4s of the distance you saw the char go, if it is a short one, chances are he is right where he looks on screen. I think with recent patches crazy slides are out and people seem to be about where they are on screen now, so just chop the body.
If you have a longer weapon, a pike, lance, or sometimes even a warspear or great sword, as long as you are careful, you can generally take out horses charging at you. Stab early with the pikes so that the horses run into it at the extremity of the thrust. It is generally safer to aim at the horses head since at the moment it'll hit that first, the horse will die, and the pike might continue right on into the rider.
If you can, dodge the lance hit like normal AND thrust. There is a lot of room for error doing this though, especially with a great lance, and you may be better off trying to get in the 'dead zone' in front of the horse.
In traffic, if you unhorse one player, let your teammates get the downed enemy (keep an eye to him though), but focus on what is coming NEXT. Very rarely does cavalry come in one at a time. Many times you might lance one guy only to have his friend come around the corner next and take you out. Keep your eye on the prize and the pike wall up.
If a horse is stopped at a wall in front of you... if you landed a solid hit with the pike, he is hurt, so back up slightly, and step forward into another thrust to unhorse or kill him. If it is a good player, generally aim for his horse, otherwise if you aim high you will probably be blocked and he may escape. In general getting him off the horse is the best thing to do as a priority.
If you didn't get a hit on him, two pike thrusts might not kill or unhorse him, so instead get your melee weapon out and work on him that way. If you have a 2 hander ready, jump and swing into the horseman from behind. If you are getting in close though, be careful, the horseman can still thrust a lance into you, or, take out a sword and attack like normal. Generally though when a horse rams a wall, you are free to stab into that horses butt until he goes down.
Good cavalry players will not charge you if you are facing them and set with a pike. They will wait until you are looking else where, or you just stabbed at, and /or missed another cav/player. One way to goad in a cavalry unit is to keep your pike hidden, until you see they are at mid range, then suddenly take the pike out and get ready as they close at gallop. Generally they can not turn or get away fast enough at this point, and, even if they do swing off, you can get a stab in to the horse's rear and do some damage.
You can also deal with this by 'playing stupid'. When you see the horse, just look another direction from it. If you have time use ~ to look behind you, but as they close, you have to have a good sense of timing for how close the horse will be. Seeing your attention elsewhere, they will usually charge you as fast as possible. At the last moment, spin, thrust, and usually net yourself a kill. Be careful you do not prime the thrust too soon or the turn rate limit will slow you down, or, if you do it too late, you will be couched. But keeping your back to the cav is a good way to draw them in (although risky).
TURN INTO YOUR SWING - This is something that will come naturally to you over time, but just to mention it here...turn into the swing. If you are attacking from left to right, face your character to the RIGHT so that as your weapon comes out, you hit them on the front arc of your swing. You really want to hit the opponent before you, and this means hitting them in the front half of the weapon arc rather than the end.
I've frapsed a few of my fights and watching them in slow motion, many of them I was just realizing I won the exchange ONLY because of my turning the weapon into the opponent. I've seen their swings come out first and coming for me, but only as I twisted into my hit did my weapon creep in and hit first.
--Spears and pikes make excellent assist weapons. The awlpike especially is a powerful poking weapon that can rack up the kills in traffic. The basic idea here, is to hover just out of range and behind teammates. When an opponent lifts up his weapon to strike your friend, you stab in and damage and interrupt him. If the enemy shows his side or back to you while chasing a team mate, you stab into him at range. Basically any opening you can find you jab into faster than they can respond. But be careful, if they close and/or focus on you, you are in trouble.
--Play stupid. Sometimes if you are in a random melee, and catch someone on your peripherals who came out of nowhere, DO NOT FACE HIM. Instead, think how the guy right now is giggling with glee that he is going to sneak up on you, probably just took out his big 2 hander and is holding it above his head ready to strike. Well, just keep on jogging randomly around at the main action, again, when your 'inner timer' has gone off, turn with a right hand swing (thrust will be too hard to aim in your blind spot) and run at where the guy is. Generally they will not be ready for this and you will get yourself a kill and/or hit.
This ONLY works if you never looked at the guy and he thinks he is being clever. You can't look at a guy, turn around, then 'pretend' you didn't see him. You really do need to catch them out your sides and pretend to be focused else where for it to fool them.
--Going with the above, this does not work as well as it used to, but if you ever find yourself in a 5 vs 1 or similarly outnumbered and are running away, what you want to do is hit the second guy in line. Usually you will be running madly away, and see one guy in your face playing normal, shield up, waiting for an opening. Behind him will be 4 kill hungry players with their weapons cocked ready for the kill.
What you do is face the main guy, after he swings or when you feel you have an opening, start an attack, twist to face the next guy in line, and run at him. This sudden direction change and aggression change from defensive to aggressive will catch most players off guard and you often net a hit, or even a kill. Further, if someone does swing at you, you are in so much traffic that their attacks are bouncing off their buddies backs and they are acting as a shield for you.
With slower melee speeds and more experienced players this doesn't work as frequently, but attacking the guy in back will always be the best move to make overall.
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Mount and Blade Warband Strategy Guide Part 2
Additional Dueling Information:
Dueling Guide - More great information about dueling by nK_LordHasek
The convention of dueling is that you initiate it with a high block while looking at a player. They will respond by doing a high block of their own, and then the duel has begun. To have uninterrupted duels, you will have to find a server clearly labeled as a duel server, but occasionally people will call for a duel in a quiet corner of a deathmatch game.
In the following, I am assuming straight up melee advice here, assuming you are not using a shield, and are in a 1v1 fight, so no worries for interference from elsewhere.
If you want to be a strong dueler, you have to know how to manually block. The best place to start learning is either with a friend, or the tutorial against the melee fighters. You have to train your hands to react with a block in the correct direction when you see a certain swing animation. Becoming a strong manual blocker will be the most important thing you can do to become a good dueler. If you can not block, you will not be able to even see the back and forth of a good fight, or last long enough to begin trying to fit in a strike against an experienced player. At the very least, you should be very comfortable blocking single attacks, and blocking feints will come in time after that. You want your hands to just react with no thought.
I found that I had two stages of learning to block, at first I could comfortably block at mid melee range, but when someone got close, I had a lot of trouble seeing the arms and understanding the direction of the attack coming at me. I went back to the block tutorial and let the bot face hug me so I could understand the different ways the animation looked up close from above.
Another thing to practice is to walk backwards and circle strafe the bot while blocking, in this way you can learn mechanically to block while moving around and looking around. Sometimes just the act of trying to keep something in view will mess up your ability to block correctly.
Remember that players will swing faster and in general be more confusing than bots, so even with all that practice, try to be fast as you can to block the bot. Try to block very early in its swing. Tutorial bots have a sort of rhythm to them that is good for practice, but will mess you up against real people.
The best way to learn is if you have a friend who is very patient. Stand in front of each other and let him keep swinging at you. At first, have him put the swing up and wait to release it until you get the correct block set. As you get better start going faster, and later throw feints in. Eventually try to be moving around together while you are being feinted and block that. Remember though that blocking is only half the battle, you will still need to know when you can strike, but having a solid manual block foundation is a must.
Choose your weapon
Swadia swords are an overwhelming favorite for duelists, but all weapons can be effective in the right hands. Swords are a strong starting choice since they have all 4 attacks, and are reasonably quick. . The Swadia bastard sword is a good weapon to start with, but you may want another weapon depending on your style or personal preference.
Weapon speed, weapon length, and to a small degree weapon weight play a big factor in your choices. Try to play to the strength of your weapon. If you pick a war spear, know that you will probably be attacking and feinting furiously. If you pick a longer two handed sword, you should play on the outside and keep good spacing and not try to trade blows inside. If you pick a fast 1 handed weapon like a scimitar, you should try to stay close and take advantage of the weapon's speed. Look at what the weapon is good for, and try to create situations where you have the advantage with it.
A Few Rules of Thumb
- Keep the enemy in view. You want to see their shoulders and hands and weapon so that you can read the next swing animation coming out. If you are looking at the ground, or your model is blocking your view of them, or off to the side somewhere because you got a little excited in your mouse movements, that is less time you have to recognize a swing and block it. So keeping your opponent in view is very important.
- Longer weapons control the first hit. They are longer, they will get there first, end of story. Of coarse, a player can mess up, and many do, but if the player does not mess up, no matter how fast you come up on a person with a longer weapon, they can hit you first, so be aware that you have to block as you come forward to those weapons.
- A "good position" on a swing is when you will hit them with the front half of it. This may change with the upcoming patches beyond .720, but as of now, to strike first, you must be standing so the first part of your swing will strike the opponent. This means that if you swing to your right, the opponent must be in front of you off to your right. Even when you do have good position, if you see that they are swinging as well, twist your view to the left so that you will add to the movement of the weapon such that it collides with them first. Establish good positions, especially with a fast weapon, and you will be sneaking many hits in.
- A player's strike range is the amount of space they can clear before the swing is done while moving forward. Remember that, especially when they have a long thrusting weapon, they can move forward and hit you when it looked like you were out of range when they started the swing.
- You can always kick a person moving forward first. At full speed you can not kick, so while they come up close, they have to slow down, then kick. So if you are backing up, if you stop and let them close the distance, you can kick them first. At this patch (.720) a kick followed by a swing when the kick animation is done will equal a free hit. So be sure to never facehug a person and keep a slight distance.
- Don't forget swing clambering. If you hold your weapon down and release it after .6 seconds, you will apply a small stun to the other player's weapon. This is more noticeable when you use a big heavy 2 handed weapon like a great axe or rhodok hammer, but the effect is still slightly present with the other weapons.
Deal with Feint Spam - This is when a player will aggressively feint in many directions, rapidly changing direction almost too fast to follow. You can emulate this by clicking your right/left mouse buttons rapidly and moving your mouse around. There can be reason to it, but in general the idea here is to create an unreadable mess of potential strikes, then, when the timing is right, let a swing go out of the confusion and land a hit.
This can be very overwhelming to handle especially if you are new to blocking. To deal with this, first you want to look at spacing. Remember that if someone is out of range of you, no matter their swing direction, they can not hit you. Generally the player doing this will inch up close to you as they feint all over, just to the point that they can release an attack and hit you while running forward. If you are aware of what that distance is, you can ignore the feint spam until they reach it.
Remember our first rule of thumb, that longer weapons control the first hit. This means that his strike range will overlap yours first, so you will have to block that feint spam if you want to engage. So try to stay near that imaginary line where his attacks can reach you, then cross it aggressively when you feel confident on the direction of his last feint move. With you coming at him strong, he will let go whatever swing he has chambered, and if you got your brain locked onto it, it should be easy to block. If the player chooses to go with another direction, you have time again to correct your block just like a normal feint.
If you have an equal length weapon, you also have the option to attack as you cross this boundary. So instead of waiting for a good block, wait until he is between feints, then advance over the line swinging. They player will generally have to block or take a hit, even if they try to swing. A thrust is a strong swing to use here as it has longer range, but remember you have to aim it. Also, if the player is experienced they may be waiting for it to chamber block you. So vary it up as usual, but a thrust into feint spam is a generally good attack to go with.
Deal with Chamber Blockers - A player that can chamber block you is very dangerous. Their swings will come fast and at unexpected times. Feinting will throw off a persons chamber blocks, but make your feint very quickly because if they swing to chamber block your first feint, their attack is still coming at you, and will hit you before you can start your second swing. If you do a very fast pump fake to prompt the chamber block swing out of them your second blow can often land.
The other way to deal with it, is to just hold your strike a half second longer. If you know the player is going to probably chamber block you, just hold the blade out there a moment longer then swing, it will bite right into them, and it is next to impossible (i'm sure someone'll learn how to do it :) ) to chamber block a swing that comes at a random time.
So in summary, be unexpected in your swings, or hold the strike just a tad longer than normal, and you should have no trouble with being the recipient of chamber blocks.
Deal with a Great Hammer - Nothing is more frightening than a great hammer held in the overhead strike position by a player that is next to you. There is no way to stop it. Good players will not miss if you try to dodge left or right.
Lucky for you, the hammer is very slow and short. Stay away from it!
You can block left and right swings no problem, but will take some stun from it due to its weight. If a hammer user starts an 'early' overhead attack and comes at you, back up away from it.
If the hammer user wants to get close enough to hit you so that you can't get clear of the overhead attack, kick them, or if you have a fast weapon, attack. It is frightening, but if you keep away from it and kick/slash when it gets too close, the hammer will not be able to touch you.
Whatever you do, don't freeze up and try to block it. Even another great hammer won't always block a descending great hammer from your enemy, so kick it, or slash it away from you, that's the only way to save yourself from turning into a tent stake.
The most important factor in a duel is knowing your opponent. Here I'll try to categorize the type of players I've encountered and strategies that might be helpful to land a hit on them. If you do not know the player in front of you, then play like he is the new player for the first few blows of the fight until you can feel out his skill level and style.
But one thing to do, is try to find out what kind of player you are. Below I'll outline what to do against certain styles, but if there is one that really appeals to you or that you find yourself playing that way, really focus on it, and I think you'll have great results. If you are a fast twitch kind of player, don't try to be defensive all the time, learn to play your way, and you'll be coming up with your own sets of tricks in no time.
The New Player - The new player will close to range with you, and swing their weapon over and over again until either you or him are dead. This is what most players will tend to do at first as they are learning melee because they do not have any fear or knowledge of what could happen to them otherwise. Chances are this person might not be a strong blocker, yet they have been successful overwhelming people with fast attacks. Despite their apparent weakness at the game though, it is important to realize that if you try to do something tricky to this player, they will kill you. You can do the most aggressive/amazing feint known to mankind and they won't even understand what you are doing, just kill you and move on.
This means that for a new player / aggressive swinger, you must either strike first if you can via good positioning and surprise timing, or just block their first swing, then immediately swing back, most likely scoring a hit or kill. Be ready to block their next hit or, if the positioning is good, hit them again. Generally the fight will be over fast.
Remember, if you block their first hit, then decided to feint, their next hit will be in the air and you won't have time to block or hit the person back, and they will hit you.
Now, on to the more experienced player styles.
Aggression - This player closes to face range and will swing and feint aggressively. They are not like the feint spammer in that you can generally follow their feints, but they will move fast. Warband is interesting that it really does respond to your speed. If you click the mouse fast, thinks happen quicker, especially feints. In general you will know you are playing a person like this if you feel a large amount of pressure and / or fear as they come at you like a wild animal. The players that do this in a controlled manner are ones to truly be feared.
How you handle this largely depends on who you are as a player. In general these players tend to come at you fast and cause you to start backing up. You can often stop abruptly and let them catch up to you and kick them away to create room for yourself. I still have a lot of trouble with fast players, but try to follow the feints. Do not get lazy, even when you feel out of range, block the swing directions, as they can often hit you with the very tip of their weapon.
These players will feint, but usually mixed up with single swings as well. Because of this, these players also tend to respond really well to feints that you make yourself. I have found with aggressive players the fights do become to an extent hit trading in the sense that they feint and swing, then I feint and swing.
Sometimes you can surprise these players and channel the new player above. It is a gamble, but you can swing twice in a row sometimes and score a hit, or at the very least gain initiative and force them into a block, and to start thinking a bit more if they want to feint you, which can then make your blocking easier.
I need more tips against aggressive fighters, but in general things will happen fast. These players tend to be very offensively oriented, so if you can get them to slow down some way, by blocking them, by kicking them, by moving away from them, they will really start to focus on getting a hit in on you to the point that they will start leaving openings for you as they swing away at you madly. Fights against this player type are usually fast and furious to say the least.
The Turtle This style is overly defensive. They block anything you throw at them. Players who do this are often frustrating to play against as you feel like you are swinging at a brick wall, and just when you least expect it, they will lash out with a hit that will sting you, and go back into their shell again.
The turtle suffers the opposite problems of the aggressive player in that sometimes they are too defensive oriented. Often times if you can get very aggressive against them you can overwhelm their defense. If they hit you, keep pressing forward and brush it off, don't give them time to set up their blocks again.
The same general rule applies here, don't play their game, but force them into a place where they are uncomfortable.
Heavy Footwork I couldn't think of a good name for this, but this player is someone who will stay on the outside at that 'line' I described when talking about feint spam. This player will come forward aggressively when it is safe, and they will back up when they are in close and not in control. These types of players can be very frustrating to close with. You can sort of think of them as 'runners', but the better ones will stay tethered at their strike range so they can at any moment turn the tables on you and attack.
Fighting these players is mostly a normal duel, but with extra emphasis on footwork and range. It is important to not to get too aggressive in your pursuit of them. When you chase a running player it is very easy to get lulled into a false sense of security, thinking that they can't or won't hit you. But many will give the appearance of backing up, then start a swing, while reversing directions and coming right back at you. Remember, strike range is strike range, even if they have their back to you and are running away. Be ready when you are in theirs.
A player that will step back and make you miss your swing then close and attack you, and then retreat again out of range, is especially frustrating, and worse if they have a longer weapon then you. If you are in this situation, you will really have to work to get in close range, and then you may duel like normal. If you get too close or come forward too aggressively, you are very susceptible to kicks. They may even be able to move forward and kick you because you are so focused on getting in range to swing at them.
From my observations, players of this style are nervous when you are close to them and and will do whatever they can to clear out back to their optimum range. Lots of feinting on the inside and a good pacing of distance can really throw them off their game.
So, I hope this helps you get started dueling. There are many little things to learn, the most important of which is how to manual block and timing for when it is safe to swing. When you find yourself comfortable with this, then begins the trek to finding out what kind of dueler you are, and to start building a collection of tricks to land a hit against people. When you come against that strong opponent, prepare yourself for a long fight, establish a pattern with them, and then at the right moment, break it, and you can often land a hit against a seemingly impossible opponent.
But none of this can be accomplished if you can not block their attacks, so if you can take anything away from this guide, it is that you must train yourself to be a good manual blocker. If you learn this, it will take you very far as an infantry unit, and make you a deadly threat on the field to any player, in any game mode.
All acknowlegments for this amazing guide to Mount and Blade Warband go to Reapy on the TaleWorlds Forum. Hands up this is the best I have found anywhere! It really helped me in my game play
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Re: Mount and Blade Warband Strategy Guide
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