Noob guide to Bannerlord after 70 hours in :) how to enjoy yourself on realistic and not get frustrated! Oh.. and break the economy.
I wanted to share my early experience with the game and how I came to love this game more, than any other in the past few years... It finally even broken my love-hate relationship with Dota2 after over 5000 hours in the game - so that should tell much about how good this game can be.
But when you start it can also be the reason for incredible frustration. I am currently on my 14 tries and this play-thru will be my final one... This hero is THE hero. And the story I am living in the game is my story.
I wanted to give some noob tips on a few fields of how to play the game on realistic mode and not be frustrated about it!
1. Your character
Ok to start off - there is no right or wrong starting backstory of your character. Any skills can be obtained in-game without any sweet. You can even max out EVERYTHING if have enough time. The skill distribution only speeds up learning of some skills over others.
Ones I like the most are steward, 2handed, polearms, charm, smithing, riding. For the first play try I didn't even know that those little shields allow you to distribute pick perks based on your progress of skills, so I played on extra hard level! :D
Steward - increase your army size real fast.
2hande and polearms are just incredibly superior to 1handed and shield - I will describe it later on. Forget about ranged combat as well.
Charm - allows you to sway enemies or neutral heroes to your side. Once I even got swarmed by an 1100 strong army vs my 300 man army. However, attack was a joined raid of multiple smaller groups. Before the battle, I went with "how about not fight and you join me?" and critically succeded in persuasion… threw in a little coin and before I knew it - the country that the traitor represented ended existing on the map due to our joined forces :D
Riding - its called MOUNT and blade for a reason. You will spend alto of time on horseback. High skill makes you not fall from it. And it's important in battles. Once you fall surrounded by the enemy you're dead. Your troops without you breaking enemy morale will have great casualties.
Smithing - to break the game. :) see "economy".
2. The economy
There are little problems that money can't solve in reality and so does in this game! Because each kingdom makes decisions based on votes - an enemy for example will never decline your "give up" declaration that comes with a monetary tribute... While paying the tribute you can amass an army, gather forces, make an army, go near enemy city/castle. Declare war all over again - take over as much as you can. And when chased away by a superior force, or when your castles and towns are being sieged - declare peace for even more money! Do you get attacked by someone stronger than you? Pay him up and he will leave you alone for X days letting you raid, siege and do as you like, for the time being, until you "give up" your conflict once again using the power of money. :D
But how to get literal million gold coins to be the realms overlord god-emperor? Well - purchase power in negotiations comes not only form coins themselves but valuable items as well. So - own workshops? Waste of time. Caravans? Another waste of money (it's better to have multiple parties and if you own castles and towns - governors boosting those with steward skills)
So how to make money? Answer is simple - CRAFTING.
THE CRAFTING SYSTEM IN THE GAME IS ABSOLUTELY BROKEN AND I LOVE IT! Because you can craft anything you have materials and patterns for - even if you don't have the skill high enough. The item will simply have decreased stats. but not value :) At least not that much.
Start crafting 1handed axes. Break down other items into raw materials. These 1handed axes can be used to finish up quests "gang leader need tools".
Then once you unlock some at least tier2 components to swords - start making 2handed swords. Even a tier 3 bladed sword goes on a market for 8'000-20'000 coins. Very fast without moving from a town, you can buy everything the town has to offer - horses, supplies, armours, by paying up with your 2handed crafts!
Tier 4 2handed swords go already for 104'000 gold coins and I think they cant cost more. As I crafter the top tier 5 bet components legendary sword and it still costed the same. I also got skill 313 level within around 40 minutes of play. Had to go between 3 towns as I was missing items to break down to raw materials :) Crafting item that is too high level can give up to 3 points. Breaking it down gives you 1 again. So you level up FAST.
Keep in inventory 10+ 100k words for trade always and the world economy is your B****. ;)
Enjoy your incredible armour value making most hits only dealing 2-5 damage to you and your companions!
Also - crafted weapons are the best in-game for combat!
OH! To craft, you need crafting stamina… Yo regain it ONLY by "waiting for some time" at the city.
3. The combat & prisoners
Keeping your army alive in battles is a pickle on realistic. The key is to have all army tier 4-6. Don't bother with recruits - just keep them in garrison. If you can't recruit units at higher tiers - do NOT ransom all prisoners. Keep prisoners tier 4-6 with you - they will defect on your side with time. At my endgame, I have a standard army size of ~360 and I keep 190 prisoners with me... Most ready to defect on my side at any time I have loses in battle. Higher-level units also often get wounded in battle instead of dying - so you lose them less!
My army composition is of whatever I can get at tier 4-6. HOWEVER, I strongly suggest keeping either a strong force of 50+ heavy cavalry. Lancers with shields. No archers on horseback bullshit. My 50 lancers can go thru 120 horseback archers within seconds with my at the charge spearhead.
Key to wining large battles with little to none casualties is MORALE. Keep livestock in inventory, and all different types of food as you can. Also having some perks helps. Ones I have, increase my morale on the attack, and each of my kills decreases enemy morale dramatically.
You win when you break enemy morale and they start to skirmish, run away. At that point, it's just free skill farm on kills :) I often kill 50-80 units on battlefield myself. At around 15-20 kill the morale of the enemy is broken.
Also, I force my army to charge, but my heavy cavalry to follow. I move them on the flank or behind and wait. Take care of mounted archers by just bashing with them directly, immobilizing them and killing them at point-blank range. Then set to charge the enemy rear, right before my infantry hits them! Synchronization is key here! Breaking the line and coherency of the enemy. Always killing some archers from the back skirmish on the way to infantry. The infantry will most likely face your infantry direction - so you cut thru them like butter. When they turn to you, just press forward and keep moving so they can't attack you and cut them down!
Now down to tools of the killing! :)
My setup is: 2handed sword, 2handed axe, 2handed polearm, and last slot goes to javelins. However, if your craft 2h sword is hand-and-a-half you can use a shield with it some times (useful on sieges).
All my crafts. All component sizes increased to the maximum for greater damage and reach in cost of handling.
2handed sword has incredibly fast attacks and deals damage on all component hit! So guard, or pommel hits your enemy head over his shield? DEAD. This is my weapon of choice for close-quarters tight pressed combat - like on sieges. I also swap weapons often depending on the situation. 2handed sword is also 1-hit win duel with bandit hideouts. Always hit from top to bottom. Don't waste time for thrusts or side cuts. This tactic also wins every tournament for early money. Oh, and for crafting - there are 2handed "short" blades for swords. I wondered what for? Well - you can have a short 2handed sword on your "civilian" outfit. that helps farming materials for crafting on bandits in cities.
2handed axe has great reach from horseback, break shields greatly, and can kill 2 enemies with a single swing. This is my weapon of choice on horseback when charging into enemy infantry. I kill them SO FAST the combat takes 10 seconds before they start running away. Great for breaking inner gate on sieges! 30+ damage per swing makes you break gate in around 1 minute. Saving lives of your troops - as those morons often open-close gate from inside instead of breaking it down. Or try to break it down with 1damage swings that take forever.
The last weapon of choice is a glaive - or any polearm you can craft with CUTTING power. With a reach of 300+, this weapon is a perfect tool for mowing down cavalry with wide side sweeps on run-by or cutting down troops in a skirmish like archers. This range makes it impossible to miss. Also, the damage is absurd. I often deal 360 damage to heavy cavalry while on horseback. But even stationary this tool can break a shield with one swing and deal around 110-160 damage per swing. Where I use it most often however is on ladders while sieges. You see - you can do this up to downswing on ladder killing enemies on the wall while being out of their reach :) after you kill 15-20 of those you clear a way to go to the wall. Then you either switch to 2handed axe and start mowing down enemies in small groups of 2-5. or 2handed sword if it gets crowded and with upswing, you mow them down while they usually don't have space to swing their weapons. Oh - also glaive on the max range with the tip of it deals enough damage to break any shield with 1 hit and kill its user!
Javelins - best damage for ranged. Fastest attack. Thrown knives do the job as well. Don't bother with crossbow or bow: slow, low-damage, waste of time. And you have only one slot. The shield is good for sieges to approach walls as well. Generally, 4th slot is meh.
Don't bother with siege towers! Bots often don't use them correctly and just die like idiots on the walls. Ladders do a better job allows you to abuse your polearm a lot! :) the aster you attack the worse defence will the castle have. Make a battering ram! It will break the outer wall 10x faster. And makes your troops approach safer. Either assault walls on the ladder - once on the wall follow what I said about switching weapons and DONT DIE. If you die before opening the front gate - load, or you will lose hundreds of troops! Usually half of your force or more. If you get on the wall - walk to the garrison and get back on the ground level as fast as you can. Quickly open the gate and then move to the side and walk on the enemy from behind and maw them down with a glaive from a safe range. They won't bother facing your direction even. Nor will they block with shields. Kill enough and you break the entire siege morale and save your troops lives. Kill as many running away enemies for experience and weapon-skill farm. At end of the siege, you should have 60-100 kills.
Another approach is to go with the battering ram, and as fast as you can break the main gate. Then push your self with a 2hsword killing enemies on the side, and while your troops fight at the gate, quickly run on the walls, and help one of the ladder spots - if you distract enemies defending the ladders so your troops can enter one side of the wall - it should be enough morale to break the entire defence into running away, if not, quickly go help the other side, as this side will join front gate and destroy the enemy guarding it by backstabbing, using glaive range.
At end of the siege, you will always lose 60+ units. And get another 60+ wounded. If you have a joint force with some other lords who have a lot of tier 1-3 or recruits/peasants. It will be 150+. But most of your tier 5-6 should be fine. Maybe some of them wounded if they suicided on the ladders.
sieges are the most fun and most stress as its a race against time to save your troops lives.
5. Small army? Not anymore
Read skill perks - there are so many ways to get your army size higher! The best way is the progression of your entire clan. To progress levels 1-4 you should get into some king/queen service as mercenary. Or even as his/her banner lord. You will be awarded cities and castles (prefer cities over castles!) that will with perks increase your party size.
Once you are ready you can either join families by marriage and wait for the king/queen to die eventually :) (if you have set this at start of the campaign) and take over! Or you can leave, and take all your belonging with you. It will put you on war with your previous kingdom - but it's nothing an instant declaration of peace for money can't solve! :) So offer daily tribute and they are fine with your backstabbing.
In cities always hire mercenaries. They are good. All kind of them.
When checking to upgrade units one way or another always try to tend toward cavalry.
Use prisoners to replenish your ranks. Too many prisoners? Leave them at a dungeon in nearby city/castle that belongs to you, and take them into your prisoners stock later on. Ransom low tier and heroes. If heroes go back against you real fast - don't worry. They will have recruits that cant last in combat much. 2handed axe solves this problem… again and again. If you let heroes free instead of capturing them they will respect you and be easier persuaded on your side with less money and charm needed :)
6. Friends and foes!
Everyone on the map is a potential friend. You can convince almost anyone to betray their king with enough charm and money :) ALWAYS try to talk with someone before the battle. Always talk to banner lords that are neutral to you when met on the road. If you get your own kingdom you need lords! Your family itself won't keep you safe. Or you will end up with 20k+ tribute daily for just declarations of peace with everyone.
As a king, you can set LAWS (called policies) in your kingdom. Do so! I have 16 installed. One of them increases my army size by 60 :D (royal guard). I usually install policies that decrease taxes and decrease my settlements military status, but increase support, influence, and general happiness of the people and lords. You don't need to get more recruits - when you can settle for peace with money when you're in danger. And you don't need money, as a single sword can buy you entire city worth of stock, horses, food, and anything you want. And you make 3 of those in a single visit to a blacksmith.
I also got policies that allow any settlement that belongs to the city/castle with a governor in place - to produce tier 4-6 units! So you can recruit into your army on your lands non-recruits tier1 trash!
7. Your story, your game
There is no win condition! There is no goal. You can establish a kingdom and get tribute daily from lords you vanquished. You can try to persuade EVERY lord on the map to join you. Or you can at some point execute everyone on the map :) doesn't matter.
You can marry a queen, have kids, or be a trader, or world-wide famous blacksmith :) this game is a sandbox. Play as you like as long as you have fun with the game!
Once you learn the game systems and amass armies above the initial 20 recruits it begins to be so much fun on so many levels! I actually started to care about my lords, cities, and living quality of my subjects :D
however, after first few failed attempts I almost uninstalled the game. So what I'm trying to say - give this game a chance and you might love it as I did ;)
submitted by AngeIV404