Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord is one of the most anticipated games for several years running now. Warband, the biggest entry in the franchise, has a huge following even today and people have been waiting for a proper new entry in the saga for years. Considering Bannerlord was first announced way back in 2012, I'd say they have been more than patient. Now that it seems that the beta for Bannerlord might be approaching, it may be useful to recap what we know so far about the game.
Build a Legacy in BannerlordWhen you create a character in Warband, you’re stuck with it for the entirety of the game. In Bannerlord that’s less of an option because both the player’s character and NPCs can permanently die. Fortunately, the death of our hero does not necessarily mean a game over.
In Bannerlord players can get a spouse and even have children with them, creating a bloodline and even a dynasty for themselves in the game.
The kids’ appearance will combine both parents’ physical features. Players will be able to interact with their offspring and possibly ride with them into battle when they are old enough. More importantly, in case of the premature demise of our character, their children can continue the parent’s legacy becoming the new playing character.
Bannerlord and the Power of DiplomacyPlayers who favor a less fighting-based RPG experience will have a new ace up their sleeves with this one. Bannerlord introduces a whole new persuasion system to use during dialogues to convince NPCs to see things from our point of view.
Using this mechanic, players can select dialogue options that might improve a character’s favor (which takes the form of a bar in the UI) or worsen it, depending on how good of a talker they are (and how much money they have to oil the gears).
For sure, Bannerlord’s heart and soul are still in the war, but adding these new options to its arsenal will surely improve the game’s variety.Invest in persuasion skills and you might be able to convince people to do your will
Mount & Blade's Economy System RevisitedBeing a trader was one of the most profitable ways to play in Mount and Blade games. Taleworlds decided to expand the trade mechanics in order to make trading more interesting to play.
For one, settlements will now consume resources at different rates. For example, some towns might consume more grain than meat, leading to increased demand in wheat while making selling meat not as profitable. At the same time, the price and scarcity (or lack thereof) of the goods will influence the towns. For example, a town with access to cheaper weapons will have a better militia, while towns with access to cheaper food will improve the town’s food stores.
These improvements allow players to game the system for their benefit as the economy will now follow the supply and demand model more realistically. Players might decide to gauge the prices or even try to weaken a foe by hitting their economy instead of their troops.
Bannerlord's Brand New Progression SystemJust like with Warband’s proficiencies, in Bannerlord you improve your skills by performing the related actions. Using a one-handed weapon will improve your one-handed skill while using a crossbow will improve the related skill. Once a skill reaches a particular threshold, the player can choose one of the available (mutually exclusive) perks related to it. Some grant pretty standard advantages, like increased damage, while others unlock the abilities to perform more actions, like the possibility to reload a crossbow on horseback.
Increasing a skill also contributes to the increase in the character’s level. On level up, players are awarded a focus point to invest in one of their skills. The more focus points invested in a skill, the faster it will improve. Interestingly, a minimum of one focus point is required in order to improve a skill. If a skill is at 0 and no focus point is invested in it, it will not be possible to improve it, no matter how many times you perform the related task or action.
Bannerlord Skirmish ModeWhile the main focus of the first Mount and Blade was the single-player campaign, a lot of people enjoyed the multiplayer component as well. With the second incarnation of the series, TaleWorlds wants to give some more love to those who enjoy playing the game with (and against) other players. For that reason, Bannerlord will have a brand new multiplayer mode called “Skirmish."
Skirmish is a 6v6 PvP team-based mode with no bots to help either side. Players will fight against each other to hold control of up to three control points. The team with fewer control points will see its morale decay. When morale reaches 0, that team will lose. As the round advances, two control points will be disabled forcing players to face each other in a single area.
The most interesting part about this mode is the class system. Players have a certain amount of points at their disposal that they can use to respawn as a particular class. Classes are not all equal and there are some that are clearly superior (knights are way stronger than pitchfork-wielding peasants) but also cost more points to select. When a player dies, they can spend the leftover points to respawn as any class they can afford. This means that while knights are way stronger, you might be limited to a couple of respawns while weaker classes can allow you to come back more consistently.
Bannerlord Captain ModeCaptain mode is the other multiplayer mode that Bannerlord offers and it’s definitely a much more tactical approach to the multiplayer warfare. The objective of the game is the same as Skirmish. You either annihilate the enemy completely or control enough flags to drop its domination points to 0. The difference between the two modes is that in Captain mode players will have AI soldiers at their disposal to control.
AI controlled units belong to one of several categories (light infantry, range units, cavalry, etc.) each with its own pros and cons. Players will be able to give these units specific orders while on the field and even command them to use specific formations in order to enact specific strategies.
Bannerlord Modding SupportModding was a huge part of Warband’s success as they extended the game’s life immensely. It was an almost logical course of action for Taleworlds to augment their support to modding for Bannerlord.
One of the biggest change in the modding scene for the new Mount and Blade will be the possibility for modders to create separate scripts instead of having to tinker with the game’s vanilla code to implement their changes. This means that this time around, the mods will not break every time a new version of the game is released.
Taleworlds will also provide a number of tools to help modders with their creations including a scene editor, material editor, resource browser, and more.
Be an Entrepreneur in BannerlordWar is expensive. Any warlord, king or the like will need a constant influx of money to support the war effort. If you’re a brigand chief, the spoils of your raids will probably suffice in that sense but if you’re trying to carve for yourself a place in the continent, way more than is needed of course, Mount and Blade provides that. Productive Enterprises will allow you to do just that. In previous games, this feature allowed you to buy an enterprise in a city that transforms raw materials into products to sell to merchants, and it was pivotal to support the war effort. In Bannerlord, this system received quite a bit of overhaul.
In Bannerlord, enterprises are tied to a physical location in cities, meaning that players will have to rent shops in order to open enterprises in them. This also means that you can open multiple enterprises in a city, boosting your productivity (be careful to the supply and demand if you open multiple shops of the same kind). At the same time, AI merchants can also open their own activities. This means that this time around there will be actual competition to keep in mind when building your economic empire.
Taleworlds also announced a number of other features of minor importance in addition to what has been listed above (like horse breeds, crime system or better quests) but this should cover the bulk of the new stuff that has been announced so far. It doesn't seem that Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord is around the corner quite yet, but we surely have much to look forward to.