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Mordhau Players Are Having A Great Time By Ignoring All The Rules

A player’s first experience in the popular PC game Mordhau will be Frontline. The 32-on-32 skirmish is the marquee player-vs-player mode in the game, and it embodies a specific grimdark fantasy of the high middle ages; two proud knighthoods, each defending a vague dynastic crest, cracking skulls with catapults, javelins, morning stars, and zweihanders. The mode channels the grisly travails of Battlefield’s control-point tug-of-war: a wave of humanity routs a bastion of defenders, leaving the bravest of them dead, and the cowards in a breathless retreat. Players slowly raise a flag, girding their loins for the inevitable counterattack.

But if you dig deeper, you’ll discover that Mordhau is capable of empowering a very different kind of medieval daydream, one where there is no drama, or vainglory, or tyranny, one that resembles the hearty debauchery of a market square underneath Elizabethan ramparts. On “duelyard servers,” the kingdom is at peace, and the battles are a distant memory. Aesthetically these dualyards feel more like Playstation Home, or Habbo Hotel, than a feudal warfare simulation. The only victory condition is to practice your swordplay, and hopefully make a few friends along the way. Pop into one and you’ll witness a loose coterie of knights, milling about in chainmail, taking pot-shots at each other in the global chat. Nobody will kill you, unless you ask for it. Do you wish to challenge someone to a duel? Face them, and use the “flourish” emote. Your character will twirl their weapon of choice around in their hand. If your newfound rival reciprocates with their own flourish, be prepared to parry immediately.

Functionally, duelyard servers exist for players who want to finetune their mechanics without getting backstabbed, or catapulted, or fire bombed. While there is no formal duelyard mode in Mordhau, the community has gotten around that by squatting on the game’s deathmatch vertical. (“US EASTERN DUELYARD NO BOWS NO FIRE BOMBS” reads a typical listing after a deathmatch search.) These knights have conquered the most anarchic mode in gaming, and the genial culture they’ve built has alchemized in some bizarre ways.

A makeshift Mutant Ninja Turtle, Mordhau-style

Today, my favorite thing about Mordhau are the many weirdos, memers, and savants who take residence in duelyard servers, morphing the typical rigidness of a first-person hack ‘n slasher until it is barely recognizable. Here are just a few of the profound incidents I’ve witnessed in the past few months.

  • A batsman and a catcher set up on the far edge of a medieval castle. A pitcher was a few dozen yards away, throwing rocks as a makeshift baseball.
  • Three players who used the character creator to build spittle-dripping, loincloth-wearing cavemen. They were all huddled together in one corner of the map, and challenged the glorious knighthood to 3-on-1 duels. Finally, a chance to test the iron age against the stone age in mortal combat.
  • A player who seemed content to bring nothing more to battle than a lute. They ran around the battlefield as a bard as everyone else took turns decapitating each other.
  • An honest-to-god Shrek, fresh out of the swamp, carrying two gigantic mallets in the same way Geralt of Rivia brandishes two distinct longswords. He was easily one of the most talented players on the server.
  • Two players who managed to coerce the character creator into generating a shockingly accurate Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle skin. They exclusively dueled each other.

For me, someone who thought Mordhau was about as bloodsoaked and solemn as fiction could get, this was an unexpected evolution. The first time I walked into a duelyard, I realized that this game could also be an ideal hangout space. The sort of thing you fire up from your Steam library as soon as you get home to absently goof off with your friends throughout the night. Dueling & Chill.

Randy, a 22-year old in Hawaii who runs a duelyard, explains the calculus perfectly. Shreks, cavemen, and baseball players aren’t able to subsist in the calamitous Frontline. They’d be both easy pickings and bad team players. But in servers like his own, where flagrant murder will earn you a boot, players have the time to execute some freakish ideas. “I think [the weirdness] that stems from duel servers is the closed environment,” he says. “You’re almost forced to view others’ odd behaviors because it’s nearly impossible to avoid it. Sometimes it can be annoying but most of the time it just makes me laugh.”

That chaos factor has become a fixture in all of gaming’s central squares. As a World of Warcraft lifer, I remember how gold-sellers used to spell out their URLs with carefully placed corpses in Ironforge—the macabre inventiveness of a community with too much time on their hands. When a game becomes less competitive-focused, and more of a plaintive social arena for its citizenry, there will be those who use the passive audience for their own entertainment. Randy saw this coming. He’s a veteran of Chivalry, the cultishly adored medieval sim that predates Mordhau, which also had a ton of duelyard servers that served the same purpose. “Back in Chivalry people used to hang out in the duelyard all the time,” he explains. “I always looked forward to hopping on and dueling with friends and just hanging out where people aren’t always just trying to kill you.”

Marko Grgurovic, lead developer at Triternion and one of the people most centrally responsible for Mordhau, echoes the same sentiment. He tells me the history of community-made duel servers goes back even further than Chivalry. The first time he experienced them was in Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, another intensely-adored PC game that, to this day, provides more satisfying lightsaber combat than anything else on the market. Years ago, Grgurovic was one of those Jedis, doing a whole lot of nothing on a barren multiplayer map. He expected the same culture to seep into Mordhau, but admits that some of the more ersatz creations have taken him by surprise. “It was very early on, [people] started making these referee uniforms,” laughs Grgurovic, referring to a subset of players who use dualyards to role-play as off-brand jousting officials. “Sometimes it’s a battle to make the game look how we want it. And then this happens. All these crazy characters coming out.”

Her frying pan is at the ready…

One of those eccentrics is “Kite,” a 21-year old student from Ohio who asks me to use her

One of those eccentrics is “Kite,” a 21-year old student from Ohio who asks me to use her Mordhau name. When I met her in a duelyard, she was wielding two frying pans as both her primary and secondary weapon. We both flourished, and she easily neutralized any offense I could muster from my much more imposing battle axe, carving up my healthpool with big, humiliating swings of skillet. This is emblematic of one of the scientific laws of Mordhau; the more under-armed a player is, the more likely that they will kick your ass. In a Discord interview afterward, she told me that she thinks her creativity comes from the game’s “limited scope,” the natural inspiration that occurs when there are few basic ingredients. “Frying pans are in fact a fairly decent weapon, and putting yourself under certain challenges, like the zero armor of a peasant, can spice up things when you start being too good at the game,” she says.

But there’s another wrinkle to Kite’s praxis: She is a woman, and mentions that Mordhau earns its reputation for being a toxic social experience. “The crusader imagery and the ‘deus vult’ phrase have been heavily co-opted by white nationalist groups,” she says. “I doubt I need to explain why they’re majorly toxic players.” Kite sticks around Mordhau—the sensation of the overhand swing feels too good to leave behind—but she says her frying pan-centric build affords her some quiet feminist revenge; wrecking the regressive right with the singular symbol of repressed womanhood.

… the frying pan hits hard.

Of course, not everyone packs political rebukes in their Mordhau duelyard strategy. Another player, a 26-year old who was born in Tanzania and now lives in America, dressed his character as a yoked cage fighter, complete with fight shorts and boxing gloves. He was unarmed, and bravely jostled with the spears, knives, and mauls with nothing more than his bare hands. “The fists don’t control like many of the other ‘weapons’ in the game, giving me an entirely new thing to learn,” he told me. “During my day to day life, my creativity is stiffened, and one of the ways I express my frustration at this is by punching people in Mordhau.”

I asked him if he was surprised at all to find a home in the relative zaniness of the duelyard, rather than the more traditional, more serious warfare to be found in Mordhau’s other modes. “God no,” he quipped. “I played Chivalry, and this is all I did in that game too.”

The lingering question is if Triternion will attempt to formalize the duelyards under its own wing. For now, these hangout servers are unofficial. There are no rulesets or frameworks in place, and that leads to its own idiosyncratic set of problems. Anyone can storm a duelyard and start dishonorably slaughtering the humble baseball players, (this is called RDMing, or “Random Death Match-ing,”) which can only be punished with the swiftness of a vote-to-kick poll. There is also the frequent interruptions of a victory screen in the middle of a languid session. Whether anyone wants them to or not, these servers are keeping a score, and are barreling toward an end point. Eventually, someone, somewhere in the duelyard will absent-mindedly cross the kill threshold and win this deathmatch-only-in-name. Mordhau does not yet have the ability to think of these servers as a lobby rather than a competition. The computer plays by the rules it was built with, so it’s time to load a new map and reset everyone’s score to zero.

All of this is on Grgurovic’s mind. The team is currently finalizing a “duel” mode, in which players can work their way through a gauntlet of one-on-one matches to claim ultimate superiority. But he admits that this ruleset will be stringent and high-intensity, without any of the wonderfully mellow vibes that draw people to their own duelyards. “There were some mods in Chivalry that had these things where you could duel without influence [on] other people [around you,] but there’s always some trade-offs,” he says. “I think we’ll definitely do some sort of practice mode in the future. Be it us or the modders. But we don’t have anything concrete at this point.”

Until then, this community will thrive in the loose pact of free-for-all duelyards. Trading parries, as the Shreks and Ninja Turtles look on.

Luke Winkie is a writer and former pizza maker from San Diego, currently living in Brooklyn. In addition to Kotaku, he contributes to Vice, PC Gamer, Variety, Rolling Stone, and Polygon. 

Source: Kotaku.com

Call of Duty Player Hit With Car, People’s Elbow

Today we have Apex Sky Bamboozles, Mighty Bank Punchers, Mordhau funerals, and much more!

Watch the video then talk about your favorite highlight in the comments below. Be sure to check out, like, and share the original videos via the links below. Subscribe to Kotaku on YouTube for more! Catch up on all the episodes on the Highlight Reel Youtube playlist!

Highlight Reel is Kotaku’s regular roundup of great plays, stunts, records and other great moments from around the gaming world. If you record an amazing feat while playing a game (here’s how to record a clip), send it to us with a message confirming that the clip is yours at highlightreel@kotaku.com. Or, if you see a great clip around that isn’t yours, encourage that person to send it in!

Source: Kotaku.com

GTA Car Turns Into Aircraft Catapult

Today on Highlight Reel we have ghost trees, rude French bourgeoisie, nasty Mordhau tricks and much more.

Watch the video then talk about your favorite highlight in the comments below. Be sure to check out, like, and share the original videos via the links below. Subscribe to Kotaku on YouTube for more! Catch up on all the episodes on the Highlight Reel Youtube playlist!

Highlight Reel is Kotaku’s regular roundup of great plays, stunts, records and other great moments from around the gaming world. If you record an amazing feat while playing a game (here’s how to record a clip), send it to us with a message confirming that the clip is yours at highlightreel@kotaku.com. Or, if you see a great clip around that isn’t yours, encourage that person to send it in!

Source: Kotaku.com

Mordhau Developers Address Controversy, Saying They Won’t Add Gender Or Race Filters

Image: Triternion (Steam)

After a controversial interview with PC Gamer discussing Mordhau players’ use of slurs and the potential implementation of a race or gender toggle, the game’s developers issued a statement this morning to clarify their stances. They now say they had no plans to add an ethnicity toggle to Mordhau, adding in a statement that they are “stretched thin” and do not have the staff “to moderate everything to our intended level of standards.”

Made by a small indie team called Triternion, the medieval hack-and-slash PC game has become enormously popular since its late April release. Alongside its growing playerbase, according to a PC Gamer report, has come a growing issue with bad player behavior, including racism, sexism, and homophobia. While hundreds have been banned on forums and Discord, one of Mordhau’s developers seemed wishy-washy about what constitutes harassment or hate speech in their interview with PC Gamer. They recently added a mute function to the game, although in response to the journalist’s questions, they said they are reticent to add a word filter to catch and remove slurs or other unwanted language. The developer, artist Mike Desrosiers, said that if Triternion took an official stance and published a list of filtered words, “People will, first, find a way around it, and it might catch innocent words, or people might claim we’re censoring. So we’d rather put the power in the player’s hands.”

Here’s the full statement, which also addresses a back-and-forth between PC Gamer and the artists it interviewed over a toggle for characters’ gender and race. As of right now, Mordhau only offers the option for players to be white men, but the developers say they are “looking into” expanding gender and race options in the future. In the interview, the artists suggested they had plans to allow players to filter out non-white or female characters if they chose, but the studio is now chalking that up as a misunderstanding.

In light of recent publicity on the state of MORDHAU’s community, we would like to discuss our stance on toxicity and the topic of gender and race in our game.

First and foremost, Triternion does not, nor have we ever, had plans to add a customization option that would force a white male default. This is an absurd idea that stems from a misunderstanding in a recent interview by PC Gamer with two of our artists. These artists, both uninvolved with character development went into a verbal interview with minimal PR experience and ended up answering some of the questions in a misleading way, which combined with a lack of context, led to some very controversial statements. Again, we at Triternion do not, nor have we ever had any plans to implement any kind of ethnicity toggle on potential future character ethnicity customization additions.

The responses given were referring to the gender part of the questions, which were based off an old controversial “gender toggle” idea, with the intention being to give the player options to play the game with only female characters, only male characters, or both. This concept was brought forth by one of our developers and posted prior to the game’s release as a response to a large number of heated debates regarding the topic of realism. The idea to give players this ability was simply a theoretical solution to a difficult problem and was never intended to be the official stance of Triternion on this topic. This is a lesson for us that we must be excessively prudent with the wording we use in the future as it can be easy to misconstrue an individual’s opinions and ideas as officially sanctioned.

Shortly after launch and in internal discussions, the concept of a gender option toggle was dismissed as it would undermine the customization players work hard to create. The two artists featured in the interview were ill-informed of this decision, which was a major mistake and miscommunication on the side of Triternion; and in combination with a question on a sensitive issue of which they were underprepared to answer, strongly contributed to this misunderstanding. Our official stance is that these toggle options are out of the question.

In regards to community toxicity, we do not have prior experience managing communities of this size, nor the manpower or resources that established studious can leverage. Our team consists of 11 first-time developers working remotely and volunteer moderators who try their best to curb this toxicity and behavior across all platforms, including in-game. At the moment we are stretched thin with major important content additions and unfortunately we do not have the staff nor systems in-place to moderate everything to our intended level of standards. We plan on improving in this regard. We hope our players understand our situation and will continue to place their faith in us, as improving these things will take time.

On the game’s subreddit, players are debating the merits of Trinernion’s statement. Several are defending the developers, citing how small they are or their aversion to “mass censorship.” Others are citing how strange it is for players to be complaining that women might be added to a game where frying pans do more damage than pitchforks. 

Source: Kotaku.com

Batman Minus The Animations

Today on Highlight Reel we have cartoon falls, custom pan controllers, removed animations, Mordhau moments, and much more!

Watch the video then talk about your favorite highlight in the comments below. Be sure to check out, like, and share the original videos via the links below. Subscribe to Kotaku on YouTube for more! Catch up on all the episodes on the Highlight Reel Youtube playlist!

Highlight Reel is Kotaku’s regular roundup of great plays, stunts, records and other great moments from around the gaming world. If you record an amazing feat while playing a game (here’s how to record a clip), send it to us with a message confirming that the clip is yours at highlightreel@kotaku.com. Or, if you see a great clip around that isn’t yours, encourage that person to send it in!

Source: Kotaku.com

Art Thou Mad, Brother?

Today on Highlight Reel we have wolf Jenga, wolf catapults, medieval catapults, taunting knights, flying bodies, and more!

Watch the video then talk about your favorite highlight in the comments below. Be sure to check out, like, and share the original videos via the links below. Subscribe to Kotaku on YouTube for more! Catch up on all the episodes on the Highlight Reel Youtube playlist!

Highlight Reel is Kotaku’s regular roundup of great plays, stunts, records and other great moments from around the gaming world. If you record an amazing feat while playing a game (here’s how to record a clip), send it to us with a message confirming that the clip is yours at highlightreel@kotaku.com. Or, if you see a great clip around that isn’t yours, encourage that person to send it in!

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Source: Kotaku.com

Mordhau Player Critically Panned

Today on Highlight Reel we have Mordhau hitboxes, casual Division 2 deaths, smooth Rage 2 riders, and much more.

Watch the video then talk about your favorite highlight in the comments below. Be sure to check out, like, and share the original videos via the links below. Subscribe to Kotaku on YouTube for more! Catch up on all the episodes on the Highlight Reel Youtube playlist!

Highlight Reel is Kotaku’s regular roundup of great plays, stunts, records and other great moments from around the gaming world. If you record an amazing feat while playing a game (here’s how to record a clip), send it to us with a message confirming that the clip is yours at highlightreel@kotaku.com. Or, if you see a great clip around that isn’t yours, encourage that person to send it in!

About the author

Source: Kotaku.com

Mordhau Player Gets Shrekt

Today on Highlight Reel we have Mordhau swamp defenders, zipline users, dangerous Red Dead horses and much more!

Watch the video then talk about your favorite highlight in the comments below. Be sure to check out, like, and share the original videos via the links below. Subscribe to Kotaku on YouTube for more! Catch up on all the episodes on the Highlight Reel Youtube playlist!

Highlight Reel is Kotaku’s regular roundup of great plays, stunts, records and other great moments from around the gaming world. If you record an amazing feat while playing a game (here’s how to record a clip), send it to us with a message confirming that the clip is yours at highlightreel@kotaku.com. Or, if you see a great clip around that isn’t yours, encourage that person to send it in!

About the author

Source: Kotaku.com

Mordhau Players Glitch Out Of Map To Troll Each Other

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One upside of multiplayer games from smaller developers is that they can take risks bigger games might not. Mordhau fits that bill, eschewing traditional shooter mechanics in favor of finely-honed sword swinging and lute plucking. The downside is that smaller games can end up jankier than their bigger counterparts. Case in point: Mordhau players have figured out how to glitch free of one map’s bounds.

The map in question is called Contraband, and while breaking free from the walled garden of endless gladiatorial shenanigans takes some doing, it’s entirely possible. Some players, like _pepsi_, have used this for relatively humble pursuits, like visiting the edge of the world:

Others have figured out that Contraband’s character select screen is actually housed in a typically off-limits portion of the map, so of course they’ve barged into it and started playing classic medieval lute hits like Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito”:

Lastly, there’s In Pu, who used the glitch to create art. They decided to make a music video out of their misadventures skipping atop the ocean waves like some kind of Naruto and ruining people’s days with off-screen arrows. Naturally, they set their artfully edited video to the painfully ‘90s sounds of “Ocean Man” by Ween:

Mordhau’s jankiness is good, actually, when it results in stuff like this. Well, unless you dislike the idea of having “Ocean Man” stuck in your head for the next several weeks.

Source: Kotaku.com

Two Mordhau Players Wreck Opponents Without Using Weapons Or Wearing Shirts

Mordhau is a game in which players slaughter one another online with medieval weaponry. Within those parameters, there’s still a lot more that players have discovered they can do, from role-playing as fencing referees to taking a break from the fight to shred their brains out on a mandolin. Two players are now making names for themselves by ditching weapons and armor altogether and just punching their foes to death.

Rather than use any of the game’s diverse array of period-appropriate cutlery, two Mordhau players who go by the handles In Pu and Machofish are roaming the game’s servers and role-playing as two brothers in arms. They’re using their characters’ literal arms to deliver bloody beatdowns upon anyone unfortunate enough to cross their paths. It’s like the boxing matches from The Witcher 3 stretched across an entire battlefield. The two players curated their most recent exploits in an excellent video shared on YouTube over the weekend.

This perfectly captures how silly the game allows players to be, but also, just how viable different types of play styles can be for players who really dedicate themselves to thinking outside the box. Mordhau has a number of perks players can earn and equip to their character loadouts to give themselves certain advantages. Not surprisingly, In Pu and Machofish have utilized Brawler, a perk that increases punching damage.

Combined with how fast the game normally allows its characters to punch, this perk can be devastating, as In Pu and Machofish show. But unarmed punching also leaves you completely vulnerable. You can’t block a sword with your forearm. The pair’s penchant for cornering unsuspecting opponents and fighting them two-on-one helps them even those odds.

What makes the whole thing especially entertaining is just how many emotes at players’ disposal in Mordhau. Shrugs, salutes, and “come at me bro” gestures take an already surreal experience and imbue them with that much more personality, and really make it possible for players to lean into the role-playing experience. 

Source: Kotaku.com

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