Conqueror’s Blade, a new free-to-play, medieval warfare game from Booming Games and My.Games has much to offer players hungry for an MMO Dynasty Warriors or Mount and Blade experience. Will it thrive or be relegated to MMO History? Find out below – this is our Conqueror’s Blade review-in-progress!
The visuals in Conqueror’s Blade are on par with many other MMOs coming from East Asian developers, both in style and quality. This isn’t necessarily a bad or good thing, but the graphics neither stand out nor do they hinder gameplay. Animations are probably Conqueror’s Blade’s weakest point visually, but they, too, are passable.
Sound for the game is also passable. The music aims to accompany epic medieval warfare, but I adjusted the music volume down as it was just too distracting. Sound effects were generally ok, but there seemed to be a limited variety of sounds for soldiers, meaning I heard the same guy groan or shout way too many times as I waded through enemy lines. There were also times when I expected to hear a sound but did not – such as during siege battles, when enemy artillery struck walls I defended. A lack of auditory and visual feedback meant that I saw friendly artillery disappear and people fall over but had to piece together that an enemy trebuchet was the cause.
Enough about the eye/ear candy, though. This game shines most right now in its gameplay. Fans of Dynasty Warriors and Mount and Blade will feel at home in battle and on the world map. You’ll only control one unit at a time in combat, but should your unit be wiped out, you can simply call forth another unit from a nearby supply point to a limit of how many of your units you brought to the battle. Much of your success in Conqueror’s Blade comes from both your own individual combat and learning to control your units, making the best of their abilities. Each unit you take into combat will accrue experience and level up, which yields a talent point to further improve that unit.
Progression in Conqueror’s Blade comes in many forms, not just unit enhancement. Your in-game avatar gains levels with accompanying talent and attribute points, experience points (called ‘honor’) that allow you to unlock and upgrade units, and more experience to spend on technologies for harvesting materials in the wild.
Player classes are based on the weapon used. The weapons seem relatively similar in damage, but some weapons are clearly preferred over others. I’ve tried the longsword/shield and harquebus classes, and I much prefer going sword and board. There’s nothing quite like diving into a squad of enemy soldiers and thoroughly obliterating them.
Building your units involves unlocking them through honor points and outfitting them with weapons. A 30-man unit requires 30 kits of an appropriate weapon type. You can outright buy the unit with in-game currency, but that becomes prohibitively expensive over time. Crafting weapon kits for your units requires traveling the realms and harvesting appropriate materials, but this, too, carries risks. Honestly, it feels like an advanced form of World of Tanks’ progression through higher tier tanks, which means you can expect that higher tier troops will take some time to unlock.
The world map is traveled by other players and is often rife with bandits and bandit lairs. Towns and cities are controlled by player guilds (called ‘Houses’), which can restrict one’s actions. For instance, towns allow you to restock food and heal units, but you can only do so in a town owned by your House. The starter town in a given region is always friendly for players and functions as the new player hub.
While in town, you can enroll in matchmaking for various fights. Some are PvE (training battles against bots or ‘Expeditions’ with waves of enemies), whereas others are PvP (domination-style battles for control points and siege battles). I typically don’t have to wait long for a match, but the time of day does impact how frequently the matches come up. That said, matchmaking has been fair for me, so I have no complaints.
The battles are a lot of fun. Matches typically have about 15 players per side, at most, but that feels like a good balance. Siege battles are somewhat asymmetrical with fewer players defending than attacking, but cunning defenders will use the provided defensive terrain to their advantage. Siege battles are the most fun I’ve had in Conqueror’s Blade thus far.
House battles over territory are less fun than I thought they would be. Often it meant that several players would gang up on one enemy player who happened to be too slow to retreat on the world map. Similarly, only 15 players can contribute to battles for control of the towns themselves, so not everyone gets to experience the thrill of those fights.
The game does have some bugs, such as bandits spawning in places players can’t access and hanging at loading screens, but by and large, the game feels complete. Patching is an ongoing process, so look forward to the full review to see how Conqueror’s Blade’s early days shape up.
Conqueror’s Blade is genuinely fun at the moment. It’s easy to enjoy the hectic medieval warfare, complete with siege battles and a variety of units from history across several cultures. Although end-game content is still out of my reach, the variety of game modes and diverse places to progress suggest that Conqueror’s Blade shape up to be a great game to play for both casual and dedicated players.