Sharpen your blades
For those looking for a competitive game in which you can bury a Nordic axe into another player's skull, developer Fatshark's War of the Vikings aims to deliver on all of your brutal, Viking-related war expectations. At this year's Paradox Interactive Convention, I got a chance to play the latest update in the multiplayer melee hack and slash-fest. This time the developers were ready to show off one of the features I had been waiting to see the most: character customization.
As of now, War of the Vikings (which is currently in Early Access on Steam) doesn't have as many weapons, armor, and abilites options as its predecessor, War of the Roses. However, Viking's character loadout interface has gotten some attention and has been simplified with an easy to manage equipment screen that includes new weapons to earn (such as swords, one-handed axes, and bows), various unlockable perks, and aesthetic customization options to create your unique bearded badass. Vikings also differs from WotR in that the developers have completely done away with altering weapons stats with weapon mods--relying on the fact that an axe to the face simply means you're dead. So, you won't be modding out swords with alternate hilts, blades, and pommels to make your swings faster or your slices more damaging. It's more like, just grab a two-hander and go to town.
Most of the customization in Vikings is just for looks. For instance, you can change out your helmet, but a headpiece with fancy gold designs won't protect you more than your default rusty tin can. As you play matches, get kills, and earn experience, you can pick out stylish cloaks, shinier weapons, and imitating facial hair. The idea is that players will be able to tell which enemies are the most experienced (and therefore the most deadly) by how blinged out their Viking is and players will get kills based on their skill alone.
Check out the following slides for more information and images
You can also customize your shield design in the new loadout interface.
Archers vs. Vikings
A single two-handed axe swing to the head is easily an instant kill--if you can pull it off.
You'll have to adjust your shield blocks to deflect attacks, but that can leave an open spot for archers.
Close-quarters combat is brutal.
It's not uncommon for an archer to pull out his close-range blade.