Thoughts on the state of Bannerlord, as of 1.6.0

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anoddhermit

Sergeant
Being a dedicated trader was the only real fun I had with the game. Of course that was immediately after release when that was a viable way to make money. Right now if you play that way you are intentionally gimping yourself so if that's what you meant I agree.

Certainly I think trade money is pretty weak late game especially and should be better. Loot / Smithing are extremely lucrative while everything else is pocket change eventually. You can fold trading into your typical gameplay just for some extra denars, plus trade has nice perks. But what is a pure trader really doing? Go town to town in a good trade route, drag Green goods until they're Blue Green, manage inventory weight, maybe note when things are sieged and will pay more, and you can generally have a mental map of where various items are cheap or expensive over time. It's very rinse repeat and doesn't have much progression, stages, milestones the way going from vassal to king or beginning and growing your own kingdom does.

You can pull off some shenanigans at 300 trade, I guess, or cheese the economy and starve towns but buying all food, but I think these are both kind of broken at the moment and so not particularly fun.
 

eddiemccandless

Knight at Arms
WBNWVC
Well you don't have to go 100% trader, just like most people don't just fight endlessly. You can do quests and meddle around. I am actually not a big fan of the color codes myself, I find that immersion breaking. Trading might not be for everyone but I found it enjoyable. I don't know if you ever played Port Royale but there's actually full games focusing just on that kind of mechanic. It was interesting to do that in Caldaia and it was the only real meaningful addition to the Warband gameplay type that I could find tbh.

And the game itself does not really have much of a progression so... There is that :smile:
 

five bucks

Sergeant at Arms
Interesting! We've had a completely different experience then. I thought there were a huge amount of changes implemented from november 2020 till june 2021.
In that 7 month time period, there were a huge amount of minor balance changes and bugfixes and a fair amount of medium-sized ones. When it comes to content additions however, there have been only a handful of minor and medium-sized ones.

You can't deny that to someone returning from an absence, the major problems are all still there, and have been since launch. Sieges, armor, the economy and prices, strategic AI, traits, companions, voting/influence, mod tools, dialogue, combat AI, war/peace, autocalc, leveling, and morale are all still broken, unfinished or imbalanced in various ways. Numerous Warband features, or features they talked about in devblogs, still aren't in.

Taleworlds don't need people defending them saying they're making "huge amounts of changes" because while that's technically true, it's misleading. The game is still very broken and has not made a "huge" amount of progress.
 
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WhyAmIHere

Taleworlds is doing the equivalent of painting the fence when they still need to put up the walls of the house and install the appliances and whatnot. Sure it's *something* and sure the stuff they're doing is good in a vacuum and technically part of building the house but they are going horrifically wrong with their prioritization.
 
In that 7 month time period, there were a huge amount of minor balance changes and bugfixes and a fair amount of medium-sized ones. When it comes to content additions however, there have been only a handful of minor and medium-sized ones.

You can't deny that to someone returning from an absence, the major problems are all still there, and have been since launch. Sieges, armor, the economy and prices, strategic AI, traits, companions, voting/influence, mod tools, dialogue, combat AI, war/peace, autocalc, leveling, and morale are all still broken, unfinished or imbalanced in various ways. Numerous Warband features, or features they talked about in devblogs, still aren't in.

Taleworlds don't need people defending them saying they're making "huge amounts of changes" because while that's technically true, it's misleading. The game is still very broken and has not made a "huge" amount of progress.

I have not been a knight in favor of TW, on the contrary. My absence from the game did however give me perspective that most of the players here have not. Every patch in that 7 month period held minor changes. But all those patches added up to a very different game experience from what it was. From the the introduction story, the improved early game quest line, the improved party management, better diplomacy war/peace making, better economy to smithing and even the Taverns which now hold more then 3 people. They amount to a more "complete" feeling.
I personally have changed my personal review based upon this from negative to positive. And I feel more confident in the outcome of the game.

But. There's a very big but. In the above statement where I change my review from negative to positive, I am forgetting that the game Warband even existed. The game Bannerlord in itself is becoming a good game. But having played Warband, firstly unmodded, then modded, there are so many missed opportunities in Bannerlord that boggle the mind. The dialogue is still empty, hollow and forgettable. Companions are disposable. Relations with lords are mere tools. In Warband I naturally gravitated towards certain counts because I liked them. There was personality in the game, soul, jazz and character. It looked like dog**** but graphics were not why we played it.

As a successor from Warband it still has a long, long way to go, and I doubt that it can become a worthy successor. But forget about Warband and you have a playable game that can surely eat up quite a few hours and still provide entertainment.

Now, in my playthrough I have yet to reach endgame. I am nearly at the start of midgame. So I can not yet provide an opinion based on the multitude of points you stated above, but with what I've seen thus far, I'm pleased.

In my opinion, Five bucks, and I hope you can read my following statement objectively, they have made big improvements on the existing mechanics. I am curious what you think of it when looking at Bannerlord as a standalone game and not as a WB successor. Thanks!
 

five bucks

Sergeant at Arms
I have not been a knight in favor of TW, on the contrary. My absence from the game did however give me perspective that most of the players here have not. Every patch in that 7 month period held minor changes. But all those patches added up to a very different game experience from what it was. From the the introduction story, the improved early game quest line, the improved party management, better diplomacy war/peace making, better economy to smithing and even the Taverns which now hold more then 3 people. They amount to a more "complete" feeling.
I personally have changed my personal review based upon this from negative to positive. And I feel more confident in the outcome of the game.

But. There's a very big but. In the above statement where I change my review from negative to positive, I am forgetting that the game Warband even existed. The game Bannerlord in itself is becoming a good game. But having played Warband, firstly unmodded, then modded, there are so many missed opportunities in Bannerlord that boggle the mind. The dialogue is still empty, hollow and forgettable. Companions are disposable. Relations with lords are mere tools. In Warband I naturally gravitated towards certain counts because I liked them. There was personality in the game, soul, jazz and character. It looked like dog**** but graphics were not why we played it.

As a successor from Warband it still has a long, long way to go, and I doubt that it can become a worthy successor. But forget about Warband and you have a playable game that can surely eat up quite a few hours and still provide entertainment.

Now, in my playthrough I have yet to reach endgame. I am nearly at the start of midgame. So I can not yet provide an opinion based on the multitude of points you stated above, but with what I've seen thus far, I'm pleased.

In my opinion, Five bucks, and I hope you can read my following statement objectively, they have made big improvements on the existing mechanics. I am curious what you think of it when looking at Bannerlord as a standalone game and not as a WB successor. Thanks!
A very solid post. Sorry if I implied you were white-knighting.

I'd definitely agree that Bannerlord felt more complete after those 7 months, I just object to that "huge"; it kind of implies the game has changed hugely, and while those things you listed are nice, they're mostly minor individually in terms of real impact (eg: the 2 minute intro cutscene, while we all liked it the first few times, just gets skipped now; the main quest changes were just tweaks and the whole thing is still broken) and don't add up to a major difference in the game overall.

The fact Bannerlord still has nearly all the major issues it did at launch, and TW is working so slowly, is why I'm such a stickler against using positive language to describe its progress, until they really start fixing the big problems and implementing the big features. They can make a billion tweaks but the game will still suck while the major problems remain un-fixed.

I agree with everything you said about Warband's greater personality.

Since you asked, I think Bannerlord as a standalone game, without taking Warband into account at all, has a good early game and is fun there, but is repetitive, frustratingly luck-based, and unintuitive in the mid/late game. Getting through an entire map-painting playthrough from beginning to end is a thoroughly unfun experience unless you use exploits, and even then that just feels wrong.

You really have to give it credit for all the genres it covers - slasher, tactics, grand strat, RPG - but those last three elements are a bit more shallow than they should be, even when considering the hybrid nature of the game. Bannerlord is also an impressive visual spectacle (despite the, understandably, dated visuals) and you can see a lot of love that's gone into it. The game's underlying systems are very deep, if flawed, and they have done a good job catering to modders too.
 
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LtD

Recruit
Question... Should I be able to open up inventory and buy from no merchant (potentially at no cost) in beta branch? Is that intentional for testing purposes?
 

SOku

Veteran
it's a shame that playthroughs become politically uninteresting at the 25-year mark, just as the player's offspring are about to enter the fray. I'd be curious to know how many of the superactive players of Bannerlord have done multi-generational playthroughs... I'd wager, not many.

Not many for sure but looks like I'm one of those, one of my child is literally 25 years old and it's one of my Sergeant here ( kind of ) and I stopped playing this game after I knew the Battle Terrain System wasn't deployed anytime soon.
All difficulty settings set to the max so yeah I guess it depends on your playthrough.

If anything I would tone down a bit the ageing on that game but most importantly give choices to the players ( a la slider on beginning of a game ) so they can fit their game experience as they'd like.
 
The game has little or no soul, there is a lot of things going on but all of them is too shallow mostly because of the lack of diplomacy, intrigue and other gameplay aspects that give the game depth and was present in previous games like Warband.

In Warband trying to walk before you can crawl as a ruler other rulers would approach you and remind you of your pityful rule, in Bannerlord you can take over the entire (tiny) map and nobody would utter a word about it, hence no soul.

Your actions does not reflect on the world as much as they did in previous games, helping lords and ladies and so on.

There's no right to rule or anything to prevent you from owning a kingdom other than the ai's constant snowballing which they still haven't fixed.

If you are taken captive and are released they can immediately take you captive again and this includes other lords nearby too which means you can be trapped in a captivity loop for a very long time, this is all to do with no captivity cooldown being in place.

It's still far too easy to make money, people whine about trading here but trading was not easy to do in Warband, in Bannerlord i can make a million in less than a hours playtime just trading and selling equipment, i take all the animal perks and also equipment perk.

Always buy goods from villages, i mainly trade animals later on and take the perks for it, animals has no trade rumours but you can make them yourself simply by writing down costs in a notepad, then when you move to another town you sell if there's profit and write down the updated cost after you traded and just rinse and repeat. Never buy anything for profit in towns as the prices there rapidly increase based on supply on demand.
 
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Danny5

Sergeant
I wonder why TW's didn't looked back at warband and said, ok what was good about it and what was bad. The bad stuff would be improved and the good things would be kept or further developed.

Also, the many mods for native, really made warband an even better game. Why couldn't TW's use some of their ideas? Copy right issues? But it's their game! Lol
 
A very solid post. Sorry if I implied you were white-knighting.

I'd definitely agree that Bannerlord felt more complete after those 7 months, I just object to that "huge"; it kind of implies the game has changed hugely, and while those things you listed are nice, they're mostly minor individually in terms of real impact (eg: the 2 minute intro cutscene, while we all liked it the first few times, just gets skipped now; the main quest changes were just tweaks and the whole thing is still broken) and don't add up to a major difference in the game overall.

The fact Bannerlord still has nearly all the major issues it did at launch, and TW is working so slowly, is why I'm such a stickler against using positive language to describe its progress, until they really start fixing the big problems and implementing the big features. They can make a billion tweaks but the game will still suck while the major problems remain un-fixed.

I agree with everything you said about Warband's greater personality.

Since you asked, I think Bannerlord as a standalone game, without taking Warband into account at all, has a good early game and is fun there, but is repetitive, frustratingly luck-based, and unintuitive in the mid/late game. Getting through an entire map-painting playthrough from beginning to end is a thoroughly unfun experience unless you use exploits, and even then that just feels wrong.

You really have to give it credit for all the genres it covers - slasher, tactics, grand strat, RPG - but those last three elements are a bit more shallow than they should be, even when considering the hybrid nature of the game. Bannerlord is also an impressive visual spectacle (despite the, understandably, dated visuals) and you can see a lot of love that's gone into it. The game's underlying systems are very deep, if flawed, and they have done a good job catering to modders too.

Thanks! Its a delight to have this discussion with you and giving me your insight.


I unfortunately cannot attest yet to the mid/late game stages, from what I've picked up on the forums and in the patch notes is that there arent a lot of improvements there yet. I've only recently learned of the dissappointing outcome of the main questline (such a minimal reward).
On the early stages the fixes have been minor, I have to agree. They have impact, in providing a more "whole" gameplay experience. But as you stated and I have to change my stance on that, not in terms of replayability.

I am hoping that the development path they're following is based on first and foremost improving the existing mechanisms in the game before adding other gameplay mechanisms that we all so dearly want and need. I am hoping that they will first improve the structural integrity of the game before adding "soul".

And I am basing that hope on stories from the past. I wasnt around when Mount & Blade launched but I've read reviews from that time and it, at the time, received very mixed reviews. In the end it did turn out to a game we all love, despite its ugly characteristics.

Again, I wasnt involved in the game back then, so I cant compare the two games and the different stages of development they've gone through. But if there are similarities between the two in their different stages of life, we will eventually become to love it.

I see @badman has been there a long time, perhaps he remembers the development/early access stage of M&B and sees any comparable traits?
 

black_bulldog

Knight at Arms
WBWF&SVC
I wonder why TW's didn't looked back at warband and said, ok what was good about it and what was bad. The bad stuff would be improved and the good things would be kept or further developed.

Also, the many mods for native, really made warband an even better game. Why couldn't TW's use some of their ideas? Copy right issues? But it's their game! Lol
I think either they wanted to but couldn't due to lack of expertise/ability or they just wanted to change the game so it had a wider appeal and didn't give 2 :poop:'s about Warband fans. If I were to guess it was probably both but the second one is most likely the real reason.
 

badman

Sergeant
I see @badman has been there a long time, perhaps he remembers the development/early access stage of M&B and sees any comparable traits?
I don't remember too much but people were a lot less forgiving and much more optimistic. There was a couple of times in early Warband that I lost interest due to bugs, but they actually got fixed pretty quickly. People on the boards were just excited to see where the game could go from this point. So it's understandable that 10 years on, and a lot of things seem to have gone backwards, people feel frustrated.
 
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RitoDurito

Sergeant
WBM&BWF&SNWVC
I don't remember too much but people were a lot less forgiving and much more optimistic. There was a couple of times in early Warband that I lost interest due to bugs, but they actually got fixed pretty quickly. People on the boards were just excited to see where the game could go from this point. So it's understandable that 10 years on, and a lot of things seem to have gone backwards, people feel frustrated.
This nails it on the head for the bugs, My 2 cents is I do remember they split the beta's for multiplayer and singleplayer, they did the multiplayer beta first then later down the line the singleplayer, this was probably a more ideal way to do it. In terms of features being added all I can remember was that buying workshops was post launch and they released a free dlc which was a new swadian knight skin.(edit: some multiplayer maps too)
 
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I wouldn't nerf battanian speed penalty. I find it works lovely with the perk that reduced speed penalty in forest by 50%. The point you should be trying to make is to buff other cultural bonuses so they feel significant, not to nerf this bonus, which is good but not that amazing, it's just that other bonuses are not that enticing like you said.

All in all I don't really want more money through cultural bonuses, even thought there can be some bonuses that give such. Money should steadily flow into the treasury, if they just come in huge spikes it feels like the economy of the game is not balanced (like the suggestions you made for the Aserai, that's a LOT of money-increasing bonuses, way too much). I feel like the economy is in a decent state right now, with everything adding bit by bit to your pockets. I want to still have to play the game and grind a bit for money. With that aserai bonus (20% trade penalty) it's like you have 100 trade from the get-go, and plus the other money bonuses it just makes a trader playthrough even more boring and worthless because you'll have great income from early on, why even bother with leveling trading anymore. I think trading needs some sort of a better system to keep it interesting to play, or more barter-type deals that significantly increase trading skill... it's boring to just go from city to city and sell sell sell forever.

To avoid this, I'd honestly prefer if aserai cultural bonuses gave you some of the profits of your caravans and workshops as + trading experience. It's like you learn more about trading by having those. No more money, just more trading experience, even if a 200 profit workshop would just give 20 daily experience, that will still add up and will make trading less boring and less grindy; Plus, we will be able to upgrade workshops in the future if I'm not mistaken, which should give more profits, so we don't need more workshop bonuses I think if that is the case.

Also, if we buff cultural bonuses, maybe the cultural cons also need an increase?
 
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