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Thread: Medieval II Mod Questions & Recommendations

  1. #1
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Oct 2012


    M2TW Modification Recommendations and Questions

    Looking for that special mod, a mod that suits your needs, but you're new to the forums or you're just too damn lazy to look for it your self? Ask away here. Even if you're just looking
    for the most popular mod at the moment, this is the thread to cover your questions. - Trajan

    I think that it's worth to watch the youtube clips:
    - PartyElite's 2020 overview of the vanilla Medieval 2 - a few reasons why Med2 is still a very good game (there're many more)
    - 2020 review of a few (5) mods by Drtad - they overlap with my choice but the first one (I'm not interested in vanilla). Drtad was involved in the making of Chivalry II, so he's got a lot of expertise when looking at mods.
    Review of the SS / SSHIP 097 by Terminator in 2022.


    Hi Guys,
    I've played recently (ie. in 2015-2019) a couple of good mods and I'd like to share with you what I've found out.
    The first version of this entry (and also the first version of the review of the SSHIP) had been written before I'd joined the SSHIP moding team. Some additions have been made later but I try to remain objective.

    In 2018 I've written three in-depth reviews of the following mods:
    - Stainless Steel Historical Improvement Project
    - Broken Crescent - Buff and Shine
    - Wrath of the Norsemen

    I haven't written reviews, but I've had much fun with and I'd advise anybody to play a few other mods.
    Some remarks on the TLK may be found here, some insights in the play of Europa Barbarorum II 2.3-2.35 here, and some hints for playing DLV here.

    --------------------------------------------------------------- I -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The "grand mods" that change most of the aspects of the game and are de facto new games using the M2TW engine:

    Third Age Total War with many submods. It covers the Tolkien world stories so it is for the fans of this universe, obviously. It uses the most ingenious methods to tweak the M2TW engine. The submods are actually the newer versions of the mod - there's a thread discussing differences among them making it easy to decide which suits the player best. It is very fortunate there're devoted modders who still developing them. I wish such a situation for the historical mods for Middle Ages.
    In particular, after many years of development the final version of the DCI: Last Alliance has been published in 2022. A completely new mod, with many new features.
    Be also aware that the Divide et Conquer submod that is another submod remodding ATW to such extent that it is de facto a new mod, has been removed from the TWC site. What I think about this issue may be read here in words of Withwnar.

    Europa Barbarorum II. Depicts 3rd-1st ancient Europe, West Asia and North Africa history in the most historical manner. Despite the name, it doesn't concentrate on the Northern Europe but it gives its due to the whole covered world. It tilts towards role-playing so some seasoned players may find it not much challenging as far as the gameplay is concerned (easy AI, lots of money, big pools of recruits, few casualties in battles). It is still being improved and refined, including introduction of new mechanics. One of special features of the mod are very slow battles (see my times here) so it's not you enter a battle, click, click, and it's over.

    A good review of a recent version of the EBII (2.35, mid-2020) has been put here by Drtad. Have also a look at Lusitanio's Carthage campaign (2.35a, mid-2020).

    Stainless Steel SS6.4. Covers the Medieval Era in Europe and the whole Mediterranean basin. It has two major new "minimods" that I perceive as the SS7.0 version in everything but the name: the Titanium and the SSHIP. Don't get swayed by the notion that they're unfinished - they are pretty finished, only some part are not developed as the modders wanted (eg. the Obodrites faction in the Titanium). The previous refinements of the SS were HURB and BtfB (and I enjoyed both of them, actully the BtfB is the mod I've played the most) but I think that the two new are now better. The base version of SS has many
    submods but bear in mind that many are included in the Titanium or their mechanics in the SSHIP (see eg. the BGR features in the SSHIP). Be aware though that the Titanium with BGR (and maybe without as well, I haven't played it) is pretty unplayable beyond turn 70 due to the huge bonuses for the AI. You need to tweak it so that you could compete. The AI is excellent in the Titanium and gives a serious challenge. If you want to learn about the SSHIP - read my full review.

    There is also another compilation based on the Stainless Steel (but with the use of many other mods and also on own input for the Rus factions): Bulat Steel. You may read two opinions of this compilation here and a 2021 review by Sarkiss.

    Broken Crescent, especially with the Buff&Shine minimod (see one of the reasons why here). It's ideal for those interested in the Near-East history: completely different map, plenty of factions, numerous units, many historical options etc. Music is wonderful. In which mod can you play an interesting game as Makuria? I've produced a detailed review of the Buff&Shine minimod so if you're interested, just read it. However, if you're a fan of non-muslim factions, be warned that Byzantium and Rus are on the border of the map and playing them may be not so interesting as playing them in the other mods.

    The Italian Wars - Ultimate: this is a very finished mod that has been developed for years by a very skilled modder (Aneirin). The mod had a few versions before and you can see how well-crafted it is (and you cannot see how many dead ends were met on the way and how much work turn out to be useless - the situation of every modder). It is really worth playing for those interested in this period of history. Fortunately, Aneirin still keeps on working on this mod at times, despite his decision to step out of modding. If only other great moders of the past would do the same for the Stainless Steel... A review of an earlier version of the mod is available here.
    There's also a version of this mod made by the Russian modders - see here (sadly, it never worked on my computer).

    1648: Thirty Years of War: I don't have much experience with this mod but this is a Gigantus' work and this is the proof of high quality. It seems to me that this mod is more "Total War" - the battles are more the focus of the mod than the city building or the character development (as compared to the SS and, especially, to the EBII). The historicity of the German factions is assured, while those on the fringes - not always (ehm, Poland... give me a break).

    --------------------------------------------------------------- II -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Two mods have been recently (2020) made public. They both look beautiful and fulfill my appetite for historicity. Strangely enough, both depict the same area (the Balkans, Italy and Anatolia). Modding in both cases is ongoing, therefore I'd expect some gestation problems (inconsistencies, crashes, strange developments etc.). However, the fun of playing is exactly at this very moment as one may find those problems and solve them by himself.

    The Great Conflicts - set in the early Middle Ages and centered around the Romaioi faction (i.e. the Byzantine Empire). There are still bugs and not working scripts (June 2020), but you can have much fun if you're an avid Byzantine fan or a fan of any surrounding European faction. The map is very granular, with small regions (I'm unsure about it: the siege battles are likely to be the dominant type of encounters). Graphics is spectacular, the campaign unique models for a few cities are great, I love the units' icons (well, I don't like the buildings' ones, but you cannot have it all). The main historical issue I have with this mod is the lack of representation of the Levant. How can you historically play Byzantium without possibility of expansion in the Euphratus valley and Syria, and without the whole Armenian politics? How a mod with Manzikert in it's name (1071) can have no Manzikert on its map? But if you are interested only in the European dimension of the Romaioi politics, then you'd relish playing this mod. And if you'd like to play the nations of the Balkans in the early Middle Ages, this is the right setting.
    For the more interested - have a look at the Drtad's walkthrough, but be aware that you won't get the feel for the AI or the traits' evolution.

    Tsardoms Total War - set in the late Middle Ages in the Balkans. The first playable campaign was published in December 2020. It should be really interesting historically for it takes place in the area and period when politics was very active, conquests happened - and we have quite lot of historical sources telling about all this. My first look at the mod left a very positive impression on the graphical and historical depiction of the world. To be seen how does it play as far as the gameplay and potential crashes are concerned. It is very promising that the work continues with high intensity (at least in the early 2021).
    Drtad's already made an initial walkthrough the mod, worthy seeing to learn what's the mod about. Enthusiastic first impressions from Sarkiss are here.

    Insularis Draco seems also to have matured in 2022.

    --------------------------------------------------------------- III -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Some advanced mods I'd played but now I find a bit dated and containing problematic gameplay issues:

    * Hispania in the Middle Ages: it boasts very intricated political mechanisms crafted for Spain, a very detailed map of the Peninsula, a variety of relevant factions, but it is much less modified in most other areas. Actually it's the closest to the vanilla M2TW of the mods discussed above - and this is why I don't consider it a "great modification". If you love the Spanish history in the Middle Ages (there're a few starting dates) and can live up with crude graphics and the AI, then go for it.

    * Bellum Crucis 7.0 - made by the Italian team thus best to be played in this area. It has a graphically beautifull map, great deal of additional mechanics and very eye-pleasing. Having played it twice I may say that I have problem with its historicity in many aspects. Tevel of ignorance of the Central Europe history or geography is sometimes astounding, I suspect there was no specialist in the team dealing with this area. The campaign AI and diplomacy behaved in a quite strange way. Some mechanisms are very dubious (30-turn peace time followed by very aggressive AI attacks). Modding abruptly ended for this mod what left it unfinished in some areas. However, if you want to play in Italy and perhaps Byzantium, this may give you a great historic experience.
    A 2021 video review is to be found here.

    * Deus lo Vult with Battle Balancer - it has a really great battle AI (maybe the best I've seen in the TW games besides Divide et Impera for R2TW) and a very fleshed out role-playing aspects of the game. However, historicity was not at the heart of modifications to put it mildly. The original DLV has a long instruction included in pdf but so many aspect were changed in the BB modification that you should treat it just as an introduction to the concepts and then disregard entirely. Sadly, the mod is dated now as there's nobody to continue modding. If you are able to live up with the historical blunders and outright stupidities and your are interested in exciting battles - go for it.

    * Chivalry II: Sicilian Vespers - it has plenty of options as far as the starting date is concerned (5 plus additional choices of events). This makes possible to have each faction set appropriate for different times. The map is vanilla in quality but made much more historical. The settlements are close to each other that makes the game easier for the player (you hop from one to another), and also more siege-intensive. The mod is light on scripts and thus the turn times are fast (what may not be an advantage - it means very few script-based mechanics that balance the gameplay in the other mods, while waiting a few seconds more is not such a burden with the computers). Chivalry II follows the vanilla very closely and is a dated mod now, especially on graphics and coding (AI, traits). Once the rebels are quelled, steamrolling seems to be easy given that the AI factions fields mainly small stacks. All in all, after 15 years of Med2 engine, playing other mods provides much more fun.
    However, one may find much joy irrespectively. If want to get excited, see a short (2020) youtube review by Drtad and his longer one here (from July 2021).

    * The Last Kingdom - this mod has a very interesting setting: the British isles in the early medieval period. Plenty of factions, plenty of buildings, possibility of very interesting game. There's also much nice chrome from that period and the starting political situation is interesting. However, it seems that the authors didn't bother much with programming the AI and diplomacy. My tests proved this area to be very problematic, you may see the findings in the relevant thread on the TLK webpage. Actually, the lack of work on this project is really deplorable: so great opportunities so so much work wasted...

    * Wrath of the Norsemen - a spin-off of the TLK. It could be a really good mod also for the gameplay if only the 3 major problems are fixed. Read my review to find out the details. Maybe you can fix those problems?

    * Rule Britannia 1.7 - again: a very interesting area and exciting time period (British isles in 13th century), with a true story behind, a great variety of factions, and with many candies included (eg. plethora of missions, historical characters, special scripts for agents). It looks quite finished. However, it is dated and you may feel it in comparison to the other mods. Especially the CAI and BAI are not up to the current standards (even though I tried it for a very short time).

    A note on battle AI: In may gaming I've seen various AI behavior and now I wouldn't play a mod that doesn't contain a kind of Germanicus Really Bad AI. This is a huge piece of coding (in 50k lines of the SSHIP script it takes up 22k lines) but it's worth it. Of course, the great mods I've described has it (or similar other scripting) included, while the older ones don't. It's why I think it's worth to play only the newer mods (or DLV ;-).

    I have no interest in fantasy mods like Hyrule, Warhammer or
    Westeros. I have not delved into the history of China so I cannot tell anything about the much-acclaimed Rise of Three Kingdoms (also by Gigantus and Seether). I'm looking forward (although without much hope) to the conclusion of work on Machiavello. I don't know much about Rus 2 TW, Fleur de Lys, they may be good as well.

    --------------------------------------------------------------- IV -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The opinions above are obviously subjective. The reviews don't discover new planets but provide insights that are relevant from my perspective. They're based on the recent, 2018, experience, and I hope they'd be useful for those who are looking for an interesting historical game.

    My perspective is as follows:
    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post

    I assess any M2TW mod in 5 categories:

    1. Gameplay: is the game immersive; are you forced to play the best you can; is the AI and diplomacy reasonable; is there money-recruitment balance achieved; are the different mechanisms well interconnected and conditioned (like ancillary<>script<>usefulness for the player); are there pure stupidities or strategies open-to-abuse.
    2. Historicity: is the historical role-playing credible; is playing the game in a historical way rewarded; how does the turn of the events in-game reflect what I perceive historical, do the factions/rosters/provinces/resources/buildings feel historical to my taste, is there a good trait/ancillary mechanism that reflect things I'm reading in the books; is the map like a true map.
    3. Battles: how does it feel to play them; how does the BAI behave; are the units reasonable/historical/nice, how does the battlefield feel like (trees, hills, water); are there stupidities and bugs related to fighting.
    4. Artistic values: a.) graphics: how do the map, the battlefield, the battles, the units, the 2D pics look like (so all the stuff related to models, animations etc.); b.) sounds: music, voices, other.
    5. Technicalities: are there CTDs; how does the UI look like; how many bugs and unfinished issues linger; are there guides and explanations on how to play.

    What I’m looking for in a Total War mod

    I’m most interested in points 1, 2, and 5, while less in 3 and even less in 4. In particular, I’m looking for:

    • A challenging game: I do everything I can to win. I don’t give the AI money for free, I don’t turtle just for turtling – I turtle because it’s a superiors strategy. The need to make choices: there shouldn’t be easy choices and obvious solutions, everything should come at a price so every action should be well thought-out.
    • A feeling of “gaming a story as it was in the books on history”: the armies, the cities, the generals, the rebels, the crusades, the deaths, the civil wars and family feuds – everything should be there. Fast conquests should be possible but at risk of falling apart.
    • Management of the faction: investing in the buildings, keep an order, safeguarding the borders) to be an equally important goal of the game as the conquest. I'm a Civilization-raised type of person (I mean: Civ 1 of 1991) that means I'm a devoted builder.
    • An interesting development of the traits. The characters should take traits and ancillaries based on their actions. The traits should be historical (reflect the middle-ages’ reality according to our best knowledge of history), meaningful (each should be relevant for the gameplay), logical (eg. they cycle-of-life: young and middle-aged generals get the traits fast, but in the old age they're losing them; as a result the oldest generals should not be the best, but those of 30-50 old for fighting and 40-60 for governorships), producing consistent personalities (one general should not have completely contradictory traits).
    • The relevance and interplay of various mechanisms in the game: everything should have consequences, no chrome just for the sake of chrome. Interactive events are woven into the fabric of the game, the scripts should have an impact on the traits, the traits should condition the options for the player of using a particular general etc.
    • Battles that are played to win, not easy or based on exploits. Especially, I’m looking for the BAI behaving reasonably given the pace of the battles (in some mods it’s faster, in some slower). I think the battles are an exciting part of the game that makes the Total War games different from, say, Europa Universalis type of the games.

    Last edited by Jurand of Cracow; November 27, 2022 at 03:44 PM.
    Mod leader of the SSHIP: traits, ancillaries, scripts, buildings, geography, economy.
    If you want to play a historical mod in the medieval setting the best are:
    Stainless Steel Historical Improvement Project and Broken Crescent.
    Recently, Tsardoms and TGC look also very good. Read my opinions on the other mods here.
    Reviews of the mods (all made in 2018): SSHIP, Wrath of the Norsemen, Broken Crescent.
    Follow home rules for playing a game without exploiting the M2TW engine deficiencies.
    Hints for Medieval 2 moders: forts, merchants, AT-NGB bug, trade fleets.
    Thrones of Britannia: review, opinion on the battles, ideas for modding. Shieldwall is promising!
    Dominant strategy in Rome2, Attila, ToB and Troy: “Sniping groups of armies”. Still there, alas!

  2. #2
    Trajan's Avatar Capodecina
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Default Medieval II Mod Questions & Recommendations

    M2TW Modification Recommendations and Questions

    Looking for that special mod, a mod that suits your needs, but you're new to the forums or you're just too damn lazy to look for it your self? Ask away here. Even if you're just looking for the most popular mod at the moment, this is the thread to cover your questions.
    Last edited by Trajan; November 11, 2008 at 06:37 PM.

  3. #3

    Icon3 Re: Need Mod Recommendations? Ask Away Here

    Well, i guess i will start by asking what is the main differences between what seem to answer my wishes: Deus Lo vult, Land to Conquer, Rise of Kings and Anno Domini. Would you recommend one in particular? What I am looking for is:
    - longer campaign
    - strategy for late campaign (large empire costs more)
    - improved AI, both campaign and battle
    - ancillaries improvements, better hereditary vices and virtues and such
    - better formations
    - raised overall game difficulty
    - raised siege difficulty (those massive walls crumble waaaay too fast!!!)

    Thanks to all

    Last edited by etz; April 19, 2007 at 07:47 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Need Mod Recommendations? Ask Away Here

    I tried other mods only briefly, but to me, Lands to Conquer was flawless. Or, let's say, almost flawless... And it fulfills all your conditions there as far as I'm concerned. And after all, it's made by the legendary Lusted. (kidding... I hope it doesn't offend anyone, and you don't consider it a big reason to play LtC)

  5. #5

    Default Re: Need Mod Recommendations? Ask Away Here

    I've tried Road to Jerusalem,and Vanilla + Darth Mod. RtJ was a bit to easy in my opinion, giving money too easily... I was a big fan of RTR, not for the realism (I don't really care), but for the longer battle and improved gameplay.

    Right now, I deeply hesitates between Land To Conquer and Stainless Steel, both ready for 1.2. I can see Stainless Steel has more shiny goodies ("Blood, Broads, & Bastards" features, new faction, graphics, mercenaries), while LTC is more pure and may be more balanced.

    So, anyone can help me ?

    Thanks to all

  6. #6
    Tom Servo's Avatar Semisalis
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Need Mod Recommendations? Ask Away Here

    Quote Originally Posted by LapinDuracell View Post
    I've tried Road to Jerusalem,and Vanilla + Darth Mod. RtJ was a bit to easy in my opinion, giving money too easily... I was a big fan of RTR, not for the realism (I don't really care), but for the longer battle and improved gameplay.

    Right now, I deeply hesitates between Land To Conquer and Stainless Steel, both ready for 1.2. I can see Stainless Steel has more shiny goodies ("Blood, Broads, & Bastards" features, new faction, graphics, mercenaries), while LTC is more pure and may be more balanced.

    So, anyone can help me ?

    Thanks to all
    I'd say Stainless Steel is a bit buggy and untested. I'm personally using LTC for the 1.2 patch.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Need Mod Recommendations? Ask Away Here

    I'd say Stainless Steel is a bit buggy and untested. I'm personally using LTC for the 1.2 patch.
    Well, SS is a very complex and big mod and I can assure you that I've used most of my time to test all the new features.
    Also I make very regular updates and I'm constantly searching for bugs and a better balance for the campaign and battles.
    The new SS 3.1 patch eliminates all known bugs of the 3.0 full version.

    And finally I think LTC and SS are quite different mods, if you want to play a better vanilla game go for LTC, if you want a harder game and an overhaul of most game aspects you should try SS.

    Just my little self-promotion...

    Winner of 'Favorite M2TW Mod' and 'Favorite M2TW Modder' Award 2007 & 2008

  8. #8

    Default The best texture mod

    What, in your opinion, is the best unit texture mod. I'm currently using burreks textures.

    What do you think is good?

  9. #9
    Giorgos's Avatar Deus Ex Machina
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Larissa/Skiathos Hellas(Greece)

    Default Re: The best texture mod

    -Burrek's the most complete at the moment.

    -If you are a Byzantinophile, Whitewolf's is the way to go.

    -DisgruntledGoat has been showing amazing screenies from his work on the Byzantine faction on his faction-after-faction retexturing mod.

    -English Redressed is a good effort concentrating on the english faction only, although not my cup of tea.

  10. #10

    Default Re: The best texture mod

    Do the texture mods impact performance at all?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Need Mod Recommendations? Ask Away Here

    Are there any mods that have a significantly smaller map, similar to the original Viking Invasion expansion?

  12. #12

    Default Re: The best texture mod

    There's also a reskin of the Turkish faction which adds some variety to the CA skins...

  13. #13
    EzE's Avatar Libertus
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    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Need Mod Recommendations? Ask Away Here

    Have there been any mythology mods? Not sure if this is possible but I love mythology and would like to know if anyone has tackled this or plans to.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Need Mod Recommendations? Ask Away Here

    Depends what you mean by mythology. There are some fantasy mods out there, if this is what you're asking...

  15. #15
    EzE's Avatar Libertus
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Need Mod Recommendations? Ask Away Here

    I guess mythology could be considered fantasy. I was thinking more like the Illiad and Odyssey type of mythology. Greek and Roman Gods and battles involving humans that have certain gods behind them. Maybe the cultures that worship the same god band together to attakc opposing cultures that worship other gods. Or something like the Trojan War with heroes like Achilles and Hector.

    If not, then are there any fantasy mods that are complete yet? I see alot in the works but did not notice any complete or in the beta stage yet.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Need Mod Recommendations? Ask Away Here

    There is a Troy: Total War (for RTW). Other than that, nothing done...

  17. #17
    EzE's Avatar Libertus
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Need Mod Recommendations? Ask Away Here


    I will check it out.

  18. #18

    Default mod for iceland

    is there a mod that includes iceland and upper norway, plus perhaps more of africa down to oxum and more of india?

  19. #19

    Default Re: mod for iceland

    Here is the thread to ask.
    And Miak's Extended Map mod is maybe the closest thing - although it's not done yet, and it doesn't include Iceland as far as I know.
    Here is Miak's mod.

  20. #20

    Default Re: mod for iceland

    Wrath of the Norsemen in the Hosted Mod section is also adding Iceland, but they are in need of modders right now.

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