Mods can really extend the life of a game and Mount & Blade has really made the most of the mod workshop on Steam. I’m a huge fan of the Mount & Blade franchise and even to this day, there isn’t anything else that really ticks all of the same boxes quite like Warband. For those of you who haven’t played it, I highly recommend it. If you enjoy medieval combat, swordplay in a first or 3rd person perspective, role playing games, army and settlement management or just like pretending that you are a crazy ginger Viking; you will love this.
Now, the game hasn’t aged particularly well visually but the gameplay itself is where it really excels, so you’ll find yourself looking past the crude graphics that feature in Mount & Blade. The big selling point for the series is that no other game does what it does; of course, you have medieval combat in the likes of Chivalry & War of the Roses, but those games are heavily PvP focused with no other stripes to bear other than multiplayer driven gameplay. Warband features a multiplayer mode, but the crowning achievement is in the single player gameplay.
You start out in the fantasy world of Calradia as a beggar, or a descendant of a noble family, or even as a merchant and your role is to survive however you can. There is a multitude of different ways to play the game whether that is setting up trade routes with cities, stealing from caravans, aligning yourself with a noble house and rising through the ranks, gaining power through deceit and influence or taking over settlements through brute strength.
There are many options for any player to explore, but of course, this isn’t a review of the game, no – it’s a bit late for that, by a few years I’m sure. The main reason this particular game has kept me hooked despite being several years old now is all thanks to its amazing community support through the mods. I cannot emphasize enough how much of a difference some of the mods have made to gameplay, with some mods offering you almost a completely new game, but with the same brilliant mechanics featured in Warband.
So without further ado, here are my top 5 mods that have kept me playing (until Bannerlord comes out least).
Floris Mod Pack (also known as Floris Extension)
The Floris mod pack is one of the best, if not the best mod that has come out of Warband. It’s essentially the baseline for many of the popular smaller mods where additional dialogues and events have been created to further player immersion. The mod offers a lot, with expanding the trade networks to sea trade, owning land within a city (not just the city itself), renting out property, trading stock with merchants, and expanding the item list by a ridiculous amount.
There are also more ways to customize your playthrough, with options now available for tournaments, extra options for companions…naming all of the features would do this mod a disservice; and for the most part, the main reason this is the top of my list is just how it affects the user interface. It makes you aware of what each option does, and how it will influence the game, rather than the original UI which left you to figure out most of this on your own, with many of the options available to the player hidden away in a text.
The Floris pack does a great job of making the game easier to play but still makes it a rewarding experience.
This is a complete overhaul mod that includes the diplomacy options from the Floris pack. Gekokujo is set during the warring states period (also known as Sengoku Jidai) in Japan, featuring all new weapons, armor, music & scenery. This is a brilliant mod and one of my favorites since I am a big history nerd and I’ve always had a fascination with Samurai. If you want to play as a samurai and enjoy countless hours of pretty authentic feudal Japan, then this is the mod for you.
I personally love the era, and with the complete overhaul of all of the weapons, mounts and armor, along with several new dialogue options (taking advantage of the diplomacy mod) this version of Mount & Blade can keep you sated for hours and hours.
The only reason this mod doesn’t take the top spot is simply because this mod is so niche. I get it. Not everyone likes feudal Japan as a setting; and moreover, people who are already fans of the game are probably looking to expand on the Viking lore or an expansion of Calradia, rather than a historical setting. And to be honest, if you’re looking for a hack and slash experience that features feudal Japan,
I’d look no further than Samurai Warriors 2, probably the best entry in that series. Even still, this is probably one of the few experiences you can get based on feudal Japan that offers both action orientated combat and strategic management style gameplay.
3. Brytenwalda (Repolished)
Brytenwalda is a complete overhaul mod for Mount & Blade that really packs a punch. It literally is like playing a whole new game with balancing being made on certain items, new items being added, new factions, new troops…new everything. The setting is the real notable difference since the game now takes place in a new setting.
It is another historical mod, so don’t expect to be riding around on your very own Rainbowdash in one, but it is incredibly satisfying. There honestly isn’t much I can say about it without repeating what I’ve already said in the Gekokujo & Floris descriptions, other than this one is set in Britain (my home country).
This mod is definitely worth a look if you’re looking to expand upon the original game, whilst making some very interesting changes, including the difficulty. On that note, the difficulty for this mod is much higher than on the native version of the game, with throngs of bandits able to take you down pretty easily due to stat balancing to make you more “mortal”. I recommend this one for the more of experienced Mount & Blade players rather than newcomers.
4. Game of Thrones (Clash of Kings)
Of course, one of the most watched TV series of all time would spawn all sorts of mods onto many different games, including Skyrim, Total War, and Mount & Blade. The creator has made a real effort to emulate the TV show keeping all of the canon characters in the game, in some shape or form. Although this one is very impressive, I’m less inclined to play this particular mod over Gekokujo simply because it feels all too similar to the vanilla game.
It’s a great mod and I readily recommend it to players who want to enjoy the game in a way that feels familiar, which is why I rate this one so highly since the game can appear a little daunting at times. It makes use of the diplomacy mod and features several new quests that don’t feature in the vanilla game, but I am sad to say that there are no Dragons or White Walkers.
Westeros is populated by all of the factions that are mentioned in the books and the world is huge. This isn’t a game mode you could beat in a single sitting, no sir-ree. A nice touch to keep the game interesting is the addition of roving clans such as the Dothraki appearing and causing problems for local lords and raiding villages and towns.
If you’re looking for a more narrative-based experience, then this would be the mod for you.
5. Warsword Conquest
What list would be complete if I didn’t mention a Warhammer mod? This mod actually does not need much introduction since it’s actually one of the more popular mods around at the moment, but here we go: we have a whole host of new factions including green skins, dwarves, elves and vampire counts, a whole new bunch of weapons clothing and general apparel, and a brand new map in which to play the game.
The game features a butt ton of new quests and dialogues and is in every way a complete overhaul, with changes made to both the gameplay and the management side of things.
The game is more combat orientated with far more emphasis on larger scale battles, as is the norm in Warhammer table top games, and indeed official video games. This mod really does the franchise proud as the game becomes a complete fantasy experience.
I highly recommend this one, probably more so than the others that I’ve mentioned. The main reason this one sits where it does on my list is that I play this much more rarely than the previously mentioned mods and after all this list is written from my own very subjective view.
Disagree with me? Do you know of any mods that you want to share with others? Feel free to let me and everyone else know in the comments below.
Ryan Griffiths is a British gamer, known as a bit of a lone wolf. Retro games are his passion, with newer releases not living up to his expectations. Of course there are exceptions to the rule when it comes to Dynasty Warriors & Total War games.