Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord has been in early access since March 2020 and has steadily grown into an absolutely massive, complex game that gives you the freedom to play however you like. You could choose to take over the kingdoms by force, through charm or you could ignore conquest altogether and build your own trading empire. With so many options at your disposal, it can be very easy to get lost along the way. With this in mind, I’ve pulled together a few tips and things I wish I’d known before starting out in this game.
The tutorial is non-existent
Other than a combat tutorial at the start this game gives you nothing in terms of help. There are many different systems working together behind the scenes and it will take you a long time to get your head around them. There are different systems for trade, combat, managing your party, managing kingdoms, recruiting Lords and so on.
My tip would be don’t be daunted by all of this and approach it logically. Think about what you want to do in the game. If you want to be a warrior and carve your way to the top spend as much time as you can fighting other armies and competing in the arena. This will help you get to grips with the skills of leading an army and fighting in person. Likewise, if you want to trade, simply spend your time doing trading and pay attention to price fluctuations. The more you do something the more you will become familiar with it and soon it will become second nature.
The encyclopaedia is your best friend
There is an invaluable resource of information in the game but the game doesn’t even mention its existence. The encyclopedia is an amazing resource and should become your go-to source for anything you want to know about.
The encyclopedia gives you really good information on almost every aspect of the game. Want to know about certain troop types? It’s in there, where a person or place is? it’s in there and so on. To access this amazing tool simply press N on your keyboard and off you go, it also comes with a really good search tool and can save you literally hours of traipsing around the map trying to find someone.
Don’t try and run before you can walk
As you start to get to grips with the game you will be tempted to take on bigger and bigger challenges. My tip here would be to make sure you are ready before you do so. It’s very easy to get overconfident especially in combat situations. You might think that because you outnumber the enemy that the fight is going to be easy, this isn’t always the case and you may well find yourself getting your arse handed to you if you overreach.
At the same time, however, you will actually need to punch above your weight in order to learn when you are doing so ( I really hope that makes sense!). Make sure you pay attention when you lose so you can avoid the same mistakes in the future.
Focus on just a few skills
There are absolutely loads of skills to choose from in Bannerlord and you’ll be tempted to try and max them all out but this is a bad idea. There are simply too many for you to max out in one playthrough and you’ll find yourself being a jack of all trades and being a master of none.
I recommend choosing only a few skills to start with and maxing those out. Think about what type of combat loadout you want and put skills only in those areas. Likewise only focus on a few of the other skills and focus on those first. Remember that as you progress you can use other clan members to fill out the areas you may not be so good in.
Pay attention to which clan members are doing what
In a similar way to your character, your clan members will also be skilled in certain areas and putting them to use in the roles that fit them best will pay dividends. There is no point in putting someone who is only good at fighting in charge of running a settlement and vice versa. Pay attention to what they are good at and use them wisely.
Buy low, sell high
When trading the key is to buy where prices are low and sell where they are high. Once you have a trade item in your inventory you can mouse over it and there will be a list of local prices for the said item. This can give you a good indication of where is best to sell your goods but be warned prices can and do change whilst you travel.
Another way is to only buy from the outlying villages and then sell at the larger cities. Prices are always lower in the villages and this is a nice way to make a tidy profit.
In its current form smithing is a bit broken in that it can help you to power level your characters and also net you millions of denars with very little effort. I won’t go into the detail of this here as I don’t want to spoil the immersion of the game for those who want to play the game ‘properly’ however I will publish a separate post detailing how to get the most out of smithing.
Workshops are available to buy in every major city. They cost around 15000 denars to buy and will provide you with a steady stream of passive income. I would recommend getting at least three of these set up as soon as you can in the game, providing you aren’t using the smithing skill for silly money.
Be careful where you decide to build your workshops as if they are built in a city you end up going to war with you will lose your workshop and have to rebuy it.
Using Alt can give different options
The Alt key can be very useful in many situations in Bannerlord and the game itself doesn’t tell you about it at all. I find it especially useful when I need to follow an army or caravan. Pressing Alt and you select the unit you are following will make you follow it at the same pace provided your party can match the pace of your target.
Try using Alt with everything to discover some very useful stuff.
Practice combat in tourneys
Struggling to get to grips with the combat systems in Bannerlord? Then the tournaments are the perfect place for you. Each city has an arena that regularly holds tournaments, you can enter these for free and if you win you could bag yourself some free loot too. If there isn’t currently a tournament taking place where you are you can still head to the arena and take part in practice fights in order for you to hone your skills.
Likewise, the arena master in each city will tell you which nearby cities are hosting tournaments for you to take part in.