Sergeant at Arms
Precisely. The battles can feel very cinematic and superbly awesome, but they also feel that they can get unbelievably repetitive after hundreds of hours. Not to mention all of their problems, broken AI, and the absolute meaningless value of battles as you mentioned.I's pretty clear that battles are the main focus of the game but they felt much more impactful in earlier titles. A victory over a lord with 1K troops means nothing in Bannerlord because he'll be out of prison and have that many again in a week to 10 days.
Remember during that 2016 PC Gamer demo, how Captain Lust said that battles would have a massive impact on the campaign and that each loss would deal a significant and noticeable blow on a kingdom?
Either a complete fabrication, or goals missed by a light year. In Warband or VC, a big battle being lost tended to spell imminent domination for a faction, the situation was in trouble and the tide of war changed. Now, it's just constant big battle after big battle, the lord you defeated just a couple of days ago is back with a sizable host. This was a problem in the old engine too, but not nearly to this grinding degree. Is this the middle ages, or 20th century Total War in attrition to the last man and last resource?
The whole game is indeed just a battle simulator. Nothing more. The battles are cool and with some work can be very, very good, but when that's all you can wholly praise about the game, it makes the battles themselves meaningless. There's no real story or care for factions and lords. It's inherently soulless, and that makes the battles far weaker, even when ignoring the little impact they have over the world.