I’ve quite literally been playing nothing but Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord over the past week. The game is wildly addictive despite its early state and numerous issues. It’s going to take Final Fantasy 7 releasing on Friday to pry me away from its clutches.
I’ve learned a lot about Bannerlord over the past couple of days and today I’d like to share some of those tips with you. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but just some things to keep in mind if you do decide to jump in.
Horse Riding Pro Tips
Double tapping W will quickly accelerate your horse and double tapping S will bring it to a quick stop. Horses can also strafe if you hold A or D while looking at it. Horse riding was already one of my favorite aspects of Bannerlord; the natural way the horse moves is a real joy to control.
Item Prices are Color Coded
When trading items with their prices listed in red indicate you’re significantly overpaying their market value and prices listed in green indicate that you’re getting them at a great price.
Skip the Looters
You’ll see looters all over the map and be tempted to fight them, but most of the time it’s not worth it. Ironically, their loot is terrible. I suggest quickly moving on to the harder bandit groups such as sea raiders, forest bandits and the like.
Take Lots of Prisoners
Prisoners can be ransomed at taverns for gold (this also levels up your Roguery skill) or donated to the dungeons of allied castles for a good source of Influence, one of the game’s most important currencies.
Keep a Variety of Food On You
Morale is important for your troops and they don’t want to live off nothing but grain. Grain does the job of feeding your troops, but mix in a decent portion of other food items for up to +8 morale.
Workshops are Solid Passive Income
You’ll need roughly 15K denars to start your first workshop, but they can be really helpful, particularly in the earlier parts of the game. A pottery workshop at Danustica regularly pulls me in 500+ denars/day.
Recruit Companions with the Right Skills
Leveling is slow going in Bannerlord which means you want to be a bit judicious about how you spend your attribute and focus points. Companions with the right skills can allow you to skimp on having to invest points in raising a number of important skills. Companions with high Scouting can be set as the clan’s Scout, those with high Steward can serve as quartermasters, and so on. This will allow you to use the companion’s proficiency in these respective skills for any checks that involve them. The flip side is that companions will also get the exp for using those skills instead of you.
Simulate Fights to Level Your Army
If you’re looking to focus on quickly upgrading your troops, you’ll find they earn more consistent experience in fights you auto-resolve than in the ones you fight manually. Kills tend to be much more spread around throughout the entire force this way, ensuring that most of your units get a piece of the experience pie.
Buy Lots of Horses and Pack Animals
Pack animals such as mules and sumpter horses (like the first horse you get) will increase your army’s carry capacity. Regular horses will increase your party’s speed. The catch with the pack animals is that they also slow you down, so you’ll want to only add as many of those as you need while maximizing the amount of standard horses to increase your army’s speed. It’s a bit of a balance. I try to keep at least 100 horses available at any given time. I’ve also found I can get away with just a couple thousand in carry capacity, but your mileage may vary.
Companions Can Be Given Parties – Use ‘Em!
You don’t need to keep companions in your party. Assigning them their own parties as your clan ranks up allows them to field their own armies. They can get you into trouble by causing wars (or getting themselves captured) but you can also call them in to form an army at no Influence cost, which is a huge advantage to have.
Micromanagement Isn’t Necessary
If you’re feeling lazy you can simply instruct all of your units to charge by pressing F1 and F3 in a fight and this will work pretty well most of the time. Feeling even lazier? Just hit F6 and delegate command to the AI and they’ll do a surprisingly good job of making the right moves on their own.
Have Fun with Banners
The banner editor is a lot more versatile than it first appears. Use this handy website to generate all sorts of creative banners for your clan.
Use the Encyclopedia
Press N to bring up the game’s encyclopedia. You can find out who each character in the game is, their current status and even their last known location. This is not only handy for tracking down the locations of nobles for a particularly annoying campaign quest, but also for seeking out useful companions.
Got any of your own tips? Share 'em in the comments below!