Those who played the original Mount & Blade
might wonder if this expansion offers a completely different gameplay experience. My answer would be a hesitant "No." That being said, there are some notable changes that add some much needed variety to the sandbox world of Calradia. Save for the new faction (the Sarranid Sultanate), the freeform gameplay remains largely untouched. Here's some great news though: the quality of the dialogue has been increased tenfold. It's not as good as the writing in Mass Effect 2
or Dragon Age: Origins
, but it's miles beyond its predecessor's wooden parlance.
Subtle changes allow you to have more influence over Calradian politics. If you know your history and read any fantasy concerning lords and ladies (particularly George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire), you probably know that wars can be won with wedding bands. Well, you can marry in Warband. Make of that what you will.
By far, the most significant addition to the Mount & Blade formula is the new multiplayer component. The selection of modes is on the predictable side; I like the siege battles, but I'm partial to the chaos of the team-based melee. Regardless of what you play, it is exciting; it's as satisfying to help your team push a siege tower up to the enemy fortress as it is to singlehandedly cut down a team of archers. The multiplayer is good fun, but I don't see it propelling the game out of niche status. In particular, some of the siege battle maps have problem areas that affect how the game is balanced.