I attended a thirty minute presentation that was an expansion of what Taleworlds Entertainment showed off at this year's PC Gaming Show. So everything was all about siege. From what I saw, and from what questions were answered, fans should certainly be happy as this appears to be the next step up of what we saw with the original Mount and Blade. Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord is something I personally wanted to get my hands on right after. You can see some of it right here.
With that, there's a bit more strategy to siege this time around and more tools available in your quest to take over a castle, or whatever it may be. The first is the expanded siege weapons. You'll have plenty of things to choose from, from trebuchets to battering rams to catapults, and of course you can utilize some ladders just as before. Some portions of castles are destructible as well, like the gate, which a battering ram will eventually take care of. The trebuchets and catapults can destroy the battlements above to expose enemy archers, and of course to take out the men themselves as well.
So while you have a bunch of tools at your disposal, you have a bit of control over them as well. You will choose what siege weapon goes where and can then assign troops to get to work on that weapon. The player character can get in on the action too, with all of the siege weapons, even taking the lone job of loading oil for the catapults.
Aside from that, the battle themselves between troops seems greatly improved. For one, weather will affect the effectiveness for your troops; for example, if it is all wet and muddy, troops will slip when they run and things like that.
However, it seemed to me that the AI was greatly improved for troops. All of the same commands are in there to tell specific troops what to do, but letting them roam and do their own thing seems to work out quite well. For example, as mentioned before you can make troops work on siege weapons, but if you don't give your troops any commands other than attack, they will fill in the roles automatically. What impressed me more was just how your troops would know to stay behind certain thresholds, or retreat to them, based on the threat of enemy archers. Further, troops within the castle were smart enough to know to retreat further in the keep when the castle was overrun. That was sort of there before, but Bannerlord let's you see them escape into there in real time, rather than just having another phase of the siege being clearing out the remaining enemies in the keep.
After the presentation, we were able to ask a few questions and received some info about diplomacy. Basically, every time you interact with a lord of some sort, you have the option to barter with them. That could be offering yourself for marriage to get something, to returning a prisoner in exchange for something, or a whole lot more. So any time you want something, you have to give something. All the lords are different and have different ambitions and goals, so certain things to trade work better than with others.
An interesting thing Taleworlds mentioned showed how significant relationships with individual lords will be. They will have an evaluation and opinion of you, which will affect you in different ways. The example Taleworlds gave was pretty cool. They said that you could have a really good relationship with some lord whose kingdom you just went at war with. Usually, that would mean all the lords would attack you as an enemy. However, if you have a good enough relationship with a lord, he likely won't fight you and could even help you with some things. The implications of that is pretty cool as it seems there will most definitely be more opportunities for relationships to have a big impact.
Taleworlds said they are hoping to get a beta out for testing sometime this year for Bannerlord, but regardless we should be expecting the game sometime in 2017 on PC. Also, be on the look out for an interview with Taleworlds all about Bannerlord!
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