Introduction quality benchmark, game production is becoming a widely

Introduction With the global technological advancement in recent years, the standards
for visuals and technical performance in video games have been raised higher
than ever before. In order to meet the newly set quality benchmark, game
production is becoming a widely upscale effort. However, there are still games being developed that have their creative
resources focused on elements other than production value. For the creators of such
games, the intended end product is typically a story-driven game with emotionally
engaging gameplay that counterpoises the less impressive graphics. Mount &
Blade: Warband, originally released in 2010 by TaleWorlds Entertainment, stands
as one of the more recent examples of such a game.

The aim of this report is to provide insight into the game’s key
components, as well as to examine and reflect on the reasons for its successful
run. The text first goes over the general setting and the recurring themes of
the game. Later, it delves into the essence of the narrative structure and its attributes.
Subsequently, a more elaborate look into the combat system is introduced. Furthermore,
the role of the non-playable characters is analysed. Finally, the report
tackles the impact of the multiplayer mode, and explores the efficiency of the game
graphics.  Mount & Blade: Warband, an analysisSettingThe game is set in the fictional land of
Calradia: a medieval continent where five factions are
locked in a struggle for influence and sovereignty over a batch of disputed territories. The overworld map provides an overview of all fiefs that
make up a faction’s region (as illustrated in Figure 1), providing the player
with input on their character’s current location as well as updated information
on a fief’s owner and political vassalage.

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The game offers a realistic representation of life
during the Middle Ages as it is bereft of fantasy elements and instead spotlights
true-to-life warfare and politics (Ford, 2017). Each kingdom is free to wage
war, forge alliances or sign an armistice with their neighbouring countries. The
kingdoms are populated by a host of non-playable characters that act as monarchs,
claimants, nobles, deserters, traders, villagers and bandits alike. They each have
their own agendas and are made to act independently from the player, thus
injecting the world with a sense of dynamics and progression as the state of
affairs is affected by more than the player’s actions. The conflict provides a
backdrop tension and framework for the player’s adventures.NarrativeMount & Blade: Warband is a sandbox game. “Sandbox” sometimes challenges traditional
narrative, but it always puts something new in its place. — Thus, it does not
remove the narrative, but rather transforms predetermined narrative into
dynamic, responsive narrative. In other words, the sandbox game distinguished
itself by making the responses more significant and meaningful (Breslin, 2009).CombatThe combat system of Mount & Blade: Warband requires
players to take many factors, such as real-world physics laws into
consideration, but its initial complexity does not draw away from the immersive
experience (Kolan, 2010). Combat is witnessed from a first– or third-person
perspective. It involves mastering an elaborate set of controls that nonetheless
feels natural to the player after a short period of adjustment, as observed by
Hughes (2016). One-on-one combat features a variety of weapons such as one-handed
swords, two-handed swords, axes, shields, maces, staves, lances, crossbows and
thrown objects. Their impact changes drastically depending on the power and
direction of swinging, the adjacency of the enemy, and whether the player’s
character is fighting on horseback or on foot. Proficiency in different types of arsenal can be developed over
time through the character skills tree, enabling the player to specialize in
one or two weapons, thus building their own unique fighting style and preferences.

In large-scale battles, the game calls for awareness
of the position, number, and health status of friendly and adversary troops at
all times, as depicted in Figure 2. Assigning battle formations is possible, as
well as giving direct movement and damage type orders to nearby units. Walker notes
in his 2016 review that assembling an army and coming up with various battle
tactics is essential to surviving encounters with foes whose forces outnumber
or outgear the player’s. 

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