With a solid release date on Mount & Blade II – Bannerlord. Here’s everything we know about Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord, including its sieges, large-scale combat, campaign and multiplayer.
Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord’s closed beta has begun
The closed beta for Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord has started for enthusiastic players who wish to step foot in this long-awaited MMO. The beta is multiplayer only, so no campaign testing yet. Once the closed beta concludes, Taleworlds will hold a public beta. This beta is a first step that significant progress is being made (finally) in the development of Mount & Blade 2.
“With this being the early stages of testing, we have decided to keep the player count rather small and manageable,” wrote Taleworlds, “allowing us to more directly engage testers and make better use of the feedback provided to refine Bannerlord’s multiplayer and make it the best that it can be. The game is far from feature and content complete, and these early tests are very much focused on testing the game’s systems and mechanics, as well as, stability before it’s ready for a more general audience.”
Sign up for beta here
The singleplayer campaign is a Medieval sandbox in every meaning of the word. Just like it’s predecessor, you can do anything your heart desires. In towns, you can wander around finding work, making new pals or perhaps even joining the criminal underworld. Conveniently, if you don’t fancy loading into a town, you can also do most of this from the town menu that’s accessible from the campaign map The singleplayer campaign is a Medieval sandbox in every meaning of the word. Just like it’s predecessor, you can do anything your heart desires.
Troops can be purchased with gold, though reputation also plays a role. Instead of building your reputation with towns and villages, you’ll be forging them with notable NPCs. The friendlier you are with a recruiter, for example, the better prices you will get when putting together a warband, letting you ride out with an army, conquering towns and besieging castles. Perhaps you’ll do it in the name of your faction, or maybe just because you fancied a change of pace.
With fame comes influence and the ability to meddle in politics. It’s a new type of currency that lets you exert your influence over a faction and is especially important when you’re raising big ol’ armies. It can be used to make an allied lord follow you, but also to summon them and their own forces. If you have a lot of victories and the lords are kept content, the army can go on a grand campaign, but if things go poorly, it might disband, with everyone abandoning you.
There are no nefarious villains bent on destroying the world, no magical MacGuffins, no epic quests doled out by random women in lakes; instead the stories (and let’s not forget, anecdotes) are generated by the simulation and its reactions to what the player and NPCs do. If bandits are allowed to settle an area, then someone in the nearby village might create a quest to get rid of them.
These factions aren’t just homogenous kingdoms. They’re empires that contain minor factions, lords vying for attention, mercenary groups, cults, and brotherhoods. Check out the factions below.
Bannerlord’s combat, at its simplest, is similar to MMOs on the market today such as Conqueror’s Blade, Life is Feudal, and etc. It’s all about attacking and blocking in the right direction. You want to aim and time your swing and stabs where your enemy isn’t defending, while making sure you can block any follow-up attacks. This is just for melee, of course, and the game will also feature ranged combat.
Complicating things are the additions of stuff like kicking and feints; you’ve also got to consider your stats, your enemy’s stats, what armour you’re both wearing, how fast you are and the physics simulation that’s running under the hood.
Kids in Mount & Blade
You can start relationships with NPCs in Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord—and babies will be born out of that, with their facial features combining from the two parents, along with some random traits.
As they grow older, too, the child NPCs can apparently learn skills from their parents. And if your player character dies? You can play the game as your heir instead, assuming you have one
A progress bar will show you how close you are to convince the NPC in question.
“The persuasion system is often a gateway that leads you into the barter system,” Taleworlds explained. “Some lords will do anything for honor, or for revenge, but most want some sort of token of your appreciation up front. Each successful persuasion attempt will help to reduce the monetary cost of the action you would like to perform when it comes to the bartering stage, whereas repeated failures might make a deal impossible to reach. And if you push your luck too much, then you run the risk of severely impacting your relations with NPCs in a negative way.” Sounds like a lot can go wrong—and a detailed system.
Maybe fighting is not for you—maybe you’d prefer merchants’ life, conducting business and ruthless monopolization of enterprises. If that’s your goal, you’ll want to start your own enterprise. You can open up a brewery, butcher, linen weaver, mill, smithy, stable, tannery and several other businesses, established in a building of your choosing in a specific settlement. In each case, you take resources and, through crafting, turn them into goods that can earn you a profit. And you don’t need to stop at one.
None of this happens in a vacuum. There’s a simulated economy where lords and merchants compete for customers, fomenting rivalries and less-than-respectable business practices. If you really want to deprive an enemy of gold, for instance, you might buy up all the resources they need, or make a competing business.
Bannerlord’s multiplayer Captain mode pits up to five players against each other (or in teams) as they command their armies to slaughter their enemies and capture flags that move around the battlefield, keeping everyone on the move.
These battles take place outside of the campaign, so you can make a character and customize your soldiers, possibly giving you a taste of what’s to come if you’ve not played much of the singleplayer. It’s here that you can start planning with your allies, trying to figure out how you can complement their own setup.
Skirmish mode, meanwhile, flings two teams of six into battle, just players and no bots. Every player gets a hoard of points to spend on a class, but the better they are, the fewer spawns you’ll be able to afford. So while battles will be asymmetrical, with mounted knights crushing pitchfork-wielding farmers, you’ll run out of points a lot faster if you only select the toughest classes. In-game modes that support respawning, you’ll need to manage the points you spend throughout the match, not just at the beginning. Taleworlds explained classes will also be customizable via a perks system that will determine the equipment that class uses and jobs they perform based on faction.