If you’re going to be an ancient Greek warrior, you’re going to have to learn to fight with a spear. At least that’s the case in Sparta, a mod for Mount & Blade: Warband, that offers a trip to the fractured Greece of 431 BC and an uncompromising challenge to go along with it.
Modder zedpaolo says the Sparta mod is for veteran players of Mount & Blade, and has stripped difficulty options out of the game so you have to play Sparta the way it was intended. You can’t train your characters to achieve veterancy; instead, heroes and soldiers all have to fight battles to increase their ranks and abilities. Just as the ancient Greeks did, you’ll have to fight with a spear and shield – as zedpaolo points out, swords weren’t effective in phalanx formations, and were only drawn once a spear had been lost or broken.
Sparta features a big custom map of the Peloponnese and parts of modern Turkey, with a working seasonal weather system, unique locales, and countless other features. The mod introduces hundreds of new items, weapons, and armors. Ten factions compete for power in the campaign, including the Peloponnesian League, the Delian League, the Cretan City-States, Achean City-States, Aetolian City-States, Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia, Thrace, and the Persian Satrapies.
Here’s some arena combat that shows off the mod’s spear fighting system:
1 vs 1 fight – Mod DB
Zedpaolo takes pains to point out that the mod isn’t meant for everyone: he made it the way he wants it, he says, and doesn’t plan on changing it.
However, if you’re willing to play it his way, there’s a fantastic amount of content and some beautiful Greek vistas to see in this mod. Grasses and trees bend in the wind, and you can take ships to travel across the Aegean Sea. He’s also furnished some extensive tips to help get you started in Sparta.
Version 1.4, which launched February 12, improved some optimization and fixed things so that the Delian League would stop jumping straight from one war into another without first taking time to rebuild its forces.
Naturally, it’s a big mod, weighing in at 1.22 GB. There’s a fiddly process to setting it up, so be sure to consult the instructions included with the mod files once you’ve downloaded it. You can find the Sparta mod over on ModDB.
Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord is set to launch in early access in March.