Two crucial reasons Warband has so much more personality compared to Bannerlord

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Everyone agrees that (Singleplayer) Warband had a certain charm to it that (Singleplayer) Bannerlord just doesn't, ...and it's not (just) nostalgia. The 2 biggest reasons in my opinion are things that I don't see people talking about: The music and the Npc voice lines (also the incessant yelling during battle).

I think that the music in Bannerlord is good, although it lacks variety. What made Warband so much thematic in my opinion however is its music being so unapolegetic: The music is loud, the pieces are very distinguisable, uses many instruments and projects a wide range of emotions. Whereas in Bannerlord, the music is just a background piece that repeats itself, has no emotional range (is there sad sounding music like for example town neutral in Warband?). The music in Bannerlord is so faint and meek; it's just "there", it doesn't make you feel anything, it barely adds any personality to the factions. Even the most distinguishable piece in Bannerlord, the title screen music feels so weak compared to Warband's title music, where a full assortment of brass instruments assaults you within seconds.

Npc voice lines will be added to Bannerlord soon™, but if the added voice lines will be a robotic "Hello, I am a lord of the Empire. Nice to meet you." sort of thing, it's better to not add them. What made Warband as such iconic and memeable game in the first place was the game not taking itself so seriously. "Away with you vile beggar" spoken with a very nasal voice is much more memorable than a lord greeting you like you greet your english teacher in the 2nd grade of primary school. Things like "My men would like a word with you about your purssse-onal belongings" which contains a pun within itself is much more memorable compared to something like "Give me your money".

I can stand to live without the men constantly yelling in Bannerlord tbh, although the death sounds in Warband were 10/10, the devs should bring the death sounds back. The things listed above were certainly not the only reasons that Warband has more 'soul'. Things like companions reacting to your actions and talking about a nearby place that relates to them as a person for example are also things that gave Warband its soul. Some of Warband's glaring issues also gave it soul, like Harlaus feasting with the lords 24/7 while his kingdom is being torn apart, so I'm not going to suggest such things to be added (also Derthert is Harlaus's spiritual predecessor by taking every fief for himself). I hope that the devs read this post and at least decides to hire people to add new pieces to the soundtrack.
 
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Even the most distinguishable piece in Bannerlord, the title screen music feels so weak compared to Warband's title music, where a full assortment of brass instruments assaults you within seconds.
I see where you come from here, but i have to disagree... the menu music is fantastic, reminded me of the first conan movie (rip poledouris), which is in line with the "charm" of warband

Agree with the rest though.
I guess bannerlord would not be so weak in comparison, if the other areas were in order (diplomacy, rp, npc personalities other than WaRlOrD wOrLd CoNqUeRoR NeVeR eNdInG WaRs)
Other aspect that come to my mind is those simple questions you can ask in warband like "how is the war" and the response was dynamic based in the world state. I think that creates a link from the npc to the world that makes all more believable, i don't feel it at all in Bannerlord
Even questions that didn't make sense for an npc to answer like "where is your king" just add to make the world feel more alive.
 
I also think that the menu music is fantastic, although I prefer Warband's one (maybe due to nostalgia). But Bannerlord only has the menu music that is memorable (except for maybe the melody that plays when you're close to winning/won the battle).

Yeah, lack of dialogue options also sucks for Bannerlord. There are also many other issues with Bannerlord in terms of diplomacy and relationships (like courting and marriages) but the gameplay loop in general is superior to Warband's in my opinion. I really do hope that Bannerlord improves on these issues with time though.
 

Grank

Master Knight
WBNWVC
I think you're right pointing out the music. Something about Bannerlord's music is that they feel too "heavy" (?) at times where you might not really want them to be, like simply traveling through the map. Like this.


For comparison.

You know what I mean? Warband's music feel less burdening on the soul. Not saying Bannerlord's music is bad in any way. I really love the Khuzait theme for example. It's just that listening to these soundtracks for a long period of time, while something mundane like traveling, is a bit tiring.
 
The sieges do have some issues no doubt and should be fixed. Thankfully the devs fixing the unit collision will make great strides in reducing the clunkiness, but after playing Warband again, I realized how much I've been taking BL's sieges for granted. WB's horrendous sieges and battles ending after the player is taken out is the main reason that I can't go back to playing Warband anymore (also the quality of life stuff like making time go faster with one button, and option to take lords as prisoners 90% of the time in Bannerlord).
 
I think you're right pointing out the music. Something about Bannerlord's music is that they feel too "heavy" (?) at times where you might not really want them to be, like simply traveling through the map. Like this.

You know what I mean? Warband's music feel less burdening on the soul. Not saying Bannerlord's music is bad in any way. I really love the Khuzait theme for example. It's just that listening to these soundtracks for a long period of time, while something mundane like traveling, is a bit tiring.
Yeah I understand what you mean, although I can't really put my finger on why. The music is definitely repeated too much though, it really is an issue.
 

Grank

Master Knight
WBNWVC
Yeah I understand what you mean, although I can't really put my finger on why. The music is definitely repeated too much though, it really is an issue.
If you ask a musician they will probably bring up pitch, beat per minute or something like that. For normal people like us they just feel heavy and grand, and when they get repeated too often like you said, it becomes tiring. Not that heavy and grand are bad. I do feel the emotion. I just don't want to feel it too much.

I did a quick check on background music of my favorite MMORPG. They're all more upbeat, happy and light.
This soundtrack has "heavy" instruments too but it's less taxing because it's more happy. Evokes strong nostalgia in me.
 
If you ask a musician they will probably bring up pitch, beat per minute or something like that. For normal people like us they just feel heavy and grand, and when they get repeated too often like you said, it becomes tiring. Not that heavy and grand are bad. I do feel the emotion. I just don't want to feel it too much.
I actually wrote my graduation thesis on music psychology, advertising and cultural hegemony, so if I actually analysed the harmonic structure, progressions, tempo, pitch etc. I could probably list some reasons why the pieces invoke certain emotions in most people (not everyone) after listening. Although I'm not classically trained and my ear training is ****, so my analysis would probably be subpar (also I'm lazy so I wouldn't do it anyways).

It's really not clear cut how to make "profound" or emotional "ambient" music, it's much easier to analyse a piece rather than write something with an emotion in mind (at least maybe that's due to my inexperience). As you said, the soundtracks are not always used most appropriately either. One thing that might help the music give the game more 'soul' would be making the tension-resolution cycle longer by increasing the tension build up until 2/3rds of the piece and then providing a heavy resolution (in an appropriate setting, such as the cutscenes which show you or one of your family members die).

I'm nowhere near a composer (I don't even think myself as a musician in general), so someone with an expertise in ambient music and more experience in general would give way better suggestions regarding game music.
 

Julio-Claudian

Sergeant Knight
Yeah although I do like the music in Bannerlord, it would be nice if some more cinematic/atmospheric tracks were added.
 
I think you're right pointing out the music. Something about Bannerlord's music is that they feel too "heavy" (?) at times where you might not really want them to be, like simply traveling through the map. Like this.
I like that first music in the list but I think I understand what you're saying about the "heavyness"
 

Bluko88

Sergeant
Everyone agrees that (Singleplayer) Warband had a certain charm to it that (Singleplayer) Bannerlord just doesn't, ...and it's not (just) nostalgia. The 2 biggest reasons in my opinion are things that I don't see people talking about: The music and the Npc voice lines (also the incessant yelling during battle).

I think that the music in Bannerlord is good, although it lacks variety. What made Warband so much thematic in my opinion however is its music being so unapolegetic: The music is loud, the pieces are very distinguisable, uses many instruments and projects a wide range of emotions. Whereas in Bannerlord, the music is just a background piece that repeats itself, has no emotional range (is there sad sounding music like for example town neutral in Warband?).

Eh I disagree about the music. I actually like Bannerlord's music quite a bit, initially what kept me playing as much as I did.

That said Warband has some excellent tracks, particularly the Main Theme and Fight While Mounted. But it also has some not so great ones. I honestly can't stand Swadian Hall, far too lullaby sounding for a game centered on warfare. Literally thought it was joke first time I heard it.

I also don't think voice over really added that much to Warband, but anything is better than nothing (usually).


What separates Warband and Bannerlord, is that Warband at least tried to be an RPG. Bannerlord just has a bunch of super grindy skill trees and that's about it. Basically Warband set the bar pretty low, and Bannerlord doesn't even try to raise it. You've got reactionless Companions who's only purpose is to be Captains; there's absolutely no conflict of interests between characters. Like Honest and Dishonest characters should not like each other.

Lords don't even really react to anything besides battle outcomes. You can execute an NPC's father, speak to them, they won't even acknowledge it. Lords are so lifeless in this game I don't understand why TW constantly forces you to speak to them...
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Just adding some basic checks (like Cautious Lords are less likely to engage you/surrender more often) would breath so much life into this game.
 

Antaeus

Squire
Everyone agrees that (Singleplayer) Warband had a certain charm to it that (Singleplayer) Bannerlord just doesn't, ...and it's not (just) nostalgia.
I think you'll find not everyone agrees with this statement.

I find Warband quaint and simple, but no matter how many times I've tried, I just can't bridge the graphics gap. I feel like it's 1998 whenever I look at it, and I can't deal with that.
 

xdj1nn

Knight at Arms
WBWF&S
Everyone agrees that (Singleplayer) Warband had a certain charm to it that (Singleplayer) Bannerlord just doesn't, ...and it's not (just) nostalgia. The 2 biggest reasons in my opinion are things that I don't see people talking about: The music and the Npc voice lines (also the incessant yelling during battle).

I think that the music in Bannerlord is good, although it lacks variety. What made Warband so much thematic in my opinion however is its music being so unapolegetic: The music is loud, the pieces are very distinguisable, uses many instruments and projects a wide range of emotions. Whereas in Bannerlord, the music is just a background piece that repeats itself, has no emotional range (is there sad sounding music like for example town neutral in Warband?). The music in Bannerlord is so faint and meek; it's just "there", it doesn't make you feel anything, it barely adds any personality to the factions. Even the most distinguishable piece in Bannerlord, the title screen music feels so weak compared to Warband's title music, where a full assortment of brass instruments assaults you within seconds.

Npc voice lines will be added to Bannerlord soon™, but if the added voice lines will be a robotic "Hello, I am a lord of the Empire. Nice to meet you." sort of thing, it's better to not add them. What made Warband as such iconic and memeable game in the first place was the game not taking itself so seriously. "Away with you vile beggar" spoken with a very nasal voice is much more memorable than a lord greeting you like you greet your english teacher in the 2nd grade of primary school. Things like "My men would like a word with you about your purssse-onal belongings" which contains a pun within itself is much more memorable compared to something like "Give me your money".

I can stand to live without the men constantly yelling in Bannerlord tbh, although the death sounds in Warband were 10/10, the devs should bring the death sounds back. The things listed above were certainly not the only reasons that Warband has more 'soul'. Things like companions reacting to your actions and talking about a nearby place that relates to them as a person for example are also things that gave Warband its soul. Some of Warband's glaring issues also gave it soul, like Harlaus feasting with the lords 24/7 while his kingdom is being torn apart, so I'm not going to suggest such things to be added (also Derthert is Harlaus's spiritual predecessor by taking every fief for himself). I hope that the devs read this post and at least decides to hire people to add new pieces to the soundtrack.
yes, atmosphere does give a significant boost towards the entire experience (this same rule applies to any media format - including film - in fact, films rely on it heavily) yet I wouldn't deposite all on that and that alone...
To me the key differences are wide and shallow - leveling, progression and character builds felt much more fluid and rewarding in WB. Memorable uniqueness applied to all Lord NPCs + Companions made it so we would immerse into the setting properly. Finally, finishing touches like having wider variety of choices of how to proceed to achieve the same objective + atmosphere made it quite a piece.

BL lacks questing (we have way more narrow quests and exceptionally scarce "spawn-rate" of the useful ones - and I count random encounters from WB as quests too), it has completely abandonned training fields (except for the tutorial one) where back in BL we could manually train our troops through it (which could possibly save a lot of time on garrison quests & train troops quests), the entire progression system's really poorly executed and has a really bad pacing while also lacks RPG elements which WB had the most aggravating being attributes in BL doing nothing other than adding irrelevant skill cap + learning rate (we basically have 2 pts systems doing the same thing - it's very wacky). There are no more deserter parties nor men hunters.... Idk, somehow BL has much less on almost every aspect - and where it adds, it adds in a very whacky way like the new perks and smithing...
Than we have the loss of atmosphere and detail regarding narrative and setting. BL feels like a very generic world and currently if someone says that the place's an fictional island on real world we wouldn't even question - there's absolutely no immersion into the setting and the world they've established for the series with companions being mute and overall interactions with NPCs being generic and limited to game mechanics. All of that on top of what you mentioned, so the issue's both much more complicated to solve and cannot be solved by fixing a single or a couple of the affected spheres.

I think you'll find not everyone agrees with this statement.

I find Warband quaint and simple, but no matter how many times I've tried, I just can't bridge the graphics gap. I feel like it's 1998 whenever I look at it, and I can't deal with that.
you're probably too young and addicted to graphical reliant games - most of the best games are actually exceptionally dated rn... The best releases I've witnessed are all prior to 2010 - that's over a decade ago so there's no escaping the tech difference.
The most recent 7/10 ones are also relatively old, like TW3
To name a few of said best games (on a game design level) we had GTA San Andreas; Dragon Age Origins (all other titles from that franchise are actually crap); Baldur's Gate; Mass Effect (the first, the 2nd and 3rd are debatable among most gamers); TES Morrowind; TES Oblivion (already a significant dumbdown from Morrowind); the list is actually very extensive, but there you have it.
 
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Antaeus

Squire
you're probably too young and addicted to graphical reliant games - most of the best games are actually exceptionally dated rn... The best releases I've witnessed are all prior to 2010 - that's over a decade ago so there's no escaping the tech difference.
Ironically... songs were written about this back in the 90s. My dentist wishes I was too young.

Beware nostalgia. It is toxic stuff.
 

xdj1nn

Knight at Arms
WBWF&S
Ironically... songs were written about this back in the 90s. My dentist wishes I was too young.

Beware nostalgia. It is toxic stuff.
It has absolutely nothing to do with nostalgia, these titles I mentioned were objectively better in Game Design... They had wider variety, choices and depth - I still can play most of them without issues, I always said a thing about games and I still do: Although I like pretty graphics, if I was bent on just that I'd rather watch a movie than play a game - games must challenge my problem solving abilities, quick decision making and creativity - if they don't cover all three I get bored and ironically shut down the game and go watch something :lol:
Some genres are better at flushing specific spheres of what I mentioned. I should explain the theoretical basis on this to make it crystal clear, but I'm feeling lazy to actually go search for these specific chapters on my GD books. Maybe tomorrow, idk

And my guess towards you being too young's not an offense nor is it a jump into conclusions, it's simply that normally those who can't stand games due to graphics are younger gens heavily influenced by more recent tech. It is, however, totally possible to overcome such prejudice / aversion.
 
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I certainly agree that other things such as dialogue, good npc behaviour, world reacting to your actions, etc. are more important, but they've also been talked about quite a bit. I wanted to talk about some less talked on and lacking aspects.

One thing I can't and won't accept is saying that Warband's character building and skill progression being better than Bannerlord's. Warband's level progression is utter ****, it's unimmersive, uninspiring and straight up bad design. It doesn't even let you roleplay properly due to its horrible design forcing you to battle nonstop. Bannerlord as a game far surpasses Warband in many core gameplay aspects such as the economy, battles and sieges. One core aspect it falls short is its atmosphere and immersion (also half baked implementation of core game mechanics such as crime and imo tournaments).
 
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100% agree with the superiority of the simple voice lines. I cannot understand something like it wasn't included in EA.
Another issue making the world and its characters feel empty are the still unfinished dialogue options. (even after 2years in EA)
I agree with most observations here about atmosphere and immersion, but i had to commend on the skill tree and the progression.

I much preferred the more simple character progression of warband. I actually dislike the current skills and perk system.

There are some useful skills there, but just trying to build the best governor NPC, requires a database to figure out.
(check strat gaming videos)
And then you have to choose if you want a crisis manager to fix loyalty or a governor that gives the best wages reductions.
This is further hampered by the fact that all these perks are distributed all over the skill tree.
The skills and perk system can definitely be streamlined in my opinion. I also dislike the fact that you have to pick between 2 perks.

The biggest problem i have with it are the insane bonuses a captain can give to a formation he/she is just assigned to. I don't like these magical bonuses. This makes me also worried about the implementation of the banners. These kinds of magical bonuses feel more right for multiplayer.
I think things like combat skills should come only from a unit specific skill set, experience and equipment.
The only things that should come from banners and captains are a morale boost and the ability to form curtain formations.

With every character having the potential to bestow all kinds of different multipliers on units, balancing troop trees becomes even a bigger challenge
 
I understand and agree with your gripes about BL's perks and skills. Notwithstanding companions levelling up too slowly due to not surviving and only having access to 9/18 skill trees at a time, I agree that some perks are not interesting enough (ahem, 2% bonus damage buffs), some are too powerful, belong to an inappropriate skill tree and/or needs to be unlocked at a different skill level, etc. Captain bonuses can especially stack to insane levels (although they probably won't be as insane in reality even if levelling companions is made easier unless you min/max a lot). I still mostly prefer being able to level up skills without it necessarily depending on combat. It is also more fun and immersive to for example level up trading by actually trading rather than standing still in a siege defence for 10 minutes, whacking on an enemy's head. I agree with things like +5% damage for captain perks being uninspired and unimmersive, although I don't exactly know how they can be changed or fixed without scrapping formation captains altogether (and I don't want them to scrap captains).

I understand your point about simplicity in warband. And while it's true it was simple and straightforward, some skills (all intelligence I believe) like surgery, training and path finding were just insane in Warband. At max level of 10 + 4 of surgery you had like 96% survival chance for all units or something ridiculous. I do prefer Bannerlord's level up system despite its faults because I find it more interesting, but I understand why people would like Warband's.
 
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