Mount and ‘Played’

“I’ve made a mistake. I should never have cheated on you and ruined our relationship. I’m sorry.” What? Mark has cheated on his girlfriend? What a bastard! No reader, it’s worse than that… I cheated on Mount and Blade: Warband.

After reading a most excellent review of Mount and Blade: Fire and Sword over at Gaminglives.com, I decided I would finally bite the bullet and pick up the Mount and Blade pack on steam. For those of you who don’t know Mount and Blade (M&B), it is a sandbox game set in a medieval land full of kings, lords and all kinds of swords and horses, as you might imagine. The player is dumped into the world and is pretty much left to their own devices; taking quests from Kings and Lords, helping villagers defend themselves from bandits, or chatting up the local princess. Despite it lacking in the visuals department, it is a solidly built and incredibly fun game.

That being said, it is hard as hell. I’ve lost count of the number of character’s I’ve created and how many times I’ve been chasing a bandit group down only for day to turn to night and I lose track of them. It is hard. So…I made a mistake. When the game got hard, I decided I’d get myself some cheat codes and even the playing field. I did a quick Google search and suddenly, “Oh that armor costs a billion gold?” Luckily my level 2 character has 80 billion! “Ah, but the level 2 character is too inexperienced to wield the sword of ultimate doom!” Not to worry, my level 2 character is now level 30. My character was the biggest, baddest warrior in all the land with an army of the best troops at his back, all in the space of a couple of minutes.

The only issue was that I had forgotten what makes a sandbox game like this fun. It’s not the loot or having the castles or army. It’s the struggle to get there. I had taken that out of the game. Now my character could stride onto the battlefield and kill most folk just by looking at them. That’s not fun, there’s no challenge in that. As much as I thought it would be cool, it soon became apparent that it was not. A game I had truly enjoyed had been ruined by my own petty cheating ways. There was no way to go back, I couldn’t play without the cheats, everything took so long, but with them the game was even more boring.

So now when my character rides in to battle on the biggest and fastest horse in the game, in armor so thick and shiny that archers are blinded and arrows just ping off, using my sword that will explode a man’s brain just through the sheer weight of its awesomeness… I’m not the conquering hero. I’m the guy with the cheat codes, and for that, I am truly sorry. You deserved better Mount and Blade.

About Mark Smith