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Mount And Blade 2 Bannerlord guide: top tips for beginners

How to play Mount And Blade 2: Bannerlord

Featured post A lord mounted on a horse is ready to battle in Bannerlord.

Mount And Blade 2 Bannerlord has been in early access for a while now and it’s clear that it’s got a long way to go before it gets all of its features.

But if the first game is anything to go by, the sequel will have some very alien concepts for a lot of people. Not to worry! We’ve spent a lot of time globetrotting across every region in Bannerlord, battering skulls and taking land for the good of our kingdom.

With our Bannerlord guide, we’ll teach you how to get significantly better at combat and amass an army that will have the local bandits and rival armies quivering in their boots.

It will also tell you how to install mods because a lot of the mods available now for Bannerlord are pretty great.

Fighting in an arena team battle in Bannerlord.

What is Mount And Blade 2: Bannerlord?

Mount And Blade 2: Bannerlord is the sequel the original Mount & Blade that came out in 2006 and its various expansions that followed since.

Developed by TaleWorlds Entertainment, the player takes on the role of a customised character as they roam the open-world with their recruited followers and fight everyone standing in your way to global dominance.

You can do many things along the way, such as appease or usurp the local lords and monarchs, do favours for the townsfolk, and command your army in many, many skirmishes.

Is there a campaign?

It’s no surprise that Bannerlord has a similar approach to the previous game, but there is now a campaign scenario to get you started. Bandits have kidnapped your younger brother and sister, so it’s up to your customised character to rescue them.

This quickly becomes less of a focus however, as you’re let loose not long into the campaign. You’re then free to build up your armies and decide the fate of every small village as you see fit.

Bannerlord features two distinct modes: singleplayer and multiplayer. Singleplayer has you command armies against AI controlled players, while multiplayer has players join forces or fight against each other.

In both game modes, there are parts of the game set in a world map and parts set in simulated battles. In the map, you ride to towns, trading with the townsfolk and improving/ruining your reputation with various deeds. Battles pit your army against enemy forces in tactical battles where players can use ranged or melee weapons. You’re not just limited to soldiers on foot, as both you and your army can be mounted on horseback. Siege weaponry also comes into play later on when storming settlements.


Where can I buy Bannerlord?

You can purchase Bannerlord on Steam or via the TaleWorlds website. Note that the TaleWorlds website link is just the Steam code anyway and that they’re the same price. As an Early Access game, not all of the game’s features are in it at the time of writing, so do bear that in mind while deciding if you wish to buy it.

There is currently a promotion shaving 20% off the price, lasting until July 9th. We’ve put the current special price in brackets, alongside the retail price, for your region:

  • UK: £39.99 RRP (£31.99)
  • US: $44.99 RRP ($39.99)
  • EUR: 44.99€ RRP (39.99€)

Before you slam your hard earned money onto that digital purchase button, it’s worth asking if your PC can even run it. The minimum specs seem achievable for quite a few older PCs, but here is the full breakdown as seen on the Steam page:

Mount And Blade 2 Bannerlord Minimum Specs

  • OS: Windows 7 (64-bit only)
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-8100 / AMD Ryzen™ 3 1200
  • Memory: 6 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel® UHD Graphics 630 / NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 660 2GB / AMD Radeon™ HD 7850 2GB
  • Storage: 60 GB available space (Install is 31.1GB)
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Additional Notes: Integrated GPUs require additional 2GB of system RAM. These estimates may change during final release.

Mount And Blade 2 Bannerlord Recommended Specs

  • OS: Windows 10 (64-bit only)
  • Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-9600K / AMD Ryzen™ 5 3600X
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 3GB / AMD Radeon™ RX 580
  • Storage: 60 GB available space (Install is 31.1GB)
  • Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
  • Additional Notes: These estimates may change during final release.

For more on how to get the best performance out of Bannerlord on your PC gaming rig, I highly recommend you take a look at Katharine’s Mount And Blade 2 Bannerlord PC requirements guide.


How do I install Bannerlord mods

The base Early Access version of Bannerlord has quite a lot of stuff in it already, but it can always be improved. That’s where mods come in and there are quite a few of them available. We have a list of the best Best Bannerlord mods that you can have a look at and see which ones take your fancy.

As for how to install them, you’ll need to complete the following steps:

  • Install Vortex. This is the open source mod manager for Bannerlord.
  • Log in with your Nexus Mods account and authorise Vortex to use the site.
  • Set Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord as your target game.
  • Find the mod in Nexus Mods and click the “Vortex” button to download the mod to Vortex.
  • In Vortex, click Mods in the dashboard, then where the mod appears, click “Never Installed” to install it.
  • Click the drop down button next to the “Installed” button and select “Enabled”.
  • Also install the mod Fixed Launcher. This is done via Nexus Mods and Vortex with the steps above.
  • Open Bannerlord and click the mods tab in the launcher.
  • Check the boxes for the mods you wish to enable and click Play.

Mount And Blade 2 Bannerlord tips

We will have a whole host of Bannerlord tips featured here in time, but for now here are some for the first few hours of play. Note that this is a list of ever growing tips, so if you have any top tips to get started, do leave a comment in the comments section.

I highly recommend watching the video above from RPS video special guest Chris Bratt, particularly the last section regarding formations. He explains very well how they work and how to separate your troops into position, ready for the enemy assault.

The rest of these tips will be split into two sections: combat and world map. The tips for the combat section will only really apply if you participate in battles, while the world map tips are for how to build up your armies, improve your renown, and for keeping morale high.

Combat tips

  1. Think about a few skills that you’d like to build your character around. You can build up skills later through gameplay, so you don’t need to fully maximise a skill. You can check out our Mount And Blade 2 Bannerlord skills guide for more details on how skills work.
  2. Use Focus Points gained through levels to increase your maximum skill level for that stat. You can check out the character skills in the character sheet at the bottom of the screen in the world map.
  3. When you reach a certain proficiency in a skill by performing certain actions enough times (attacking enemies with one-handed swords to increase one-handed sword proficiency for example), one or two perks will be highlighted. Click the icon highlighted, then click the perk you want to choose to unlock that perk. Make sure you confirm with the button at the bottom of the screen to lock in the perk.
  4. Spend a lot of time practising in the tutorial area. This is how you can learn the ins and outs of firing arrows, striking enemies on horseback, and fighting soldiers in armed combat. You’ll know when you’re ready for ranged combat if you don’t miss any targets while on horseback or firing arrows from the shooting range. If you beat the veteran soldier without getting hit, you’re good enough for armed combat.
  5. Defending with swords and shields relies on you pointing your mouse in a certain direction by default. Since there is currently no auto-block, you’re going to have to train in the training area a lot to get used to it.
  6. Try the arena as much as possible too for more real-world combat experience. Pick up items while you’re fighting to replenish your arrows or javelins. Landing the final hit on an enemy will net you the kill, so poach easy targets when you can. You’ll get a small amount of gold for achieving certain milestones per practice session.
  7. When using bows, the reticle will shrink, then expand again if you hold it down too long. Try to time your shot as the reticle gets to its smallest point.
  8. Get used to riding a horse as soon as possible and learn how to use a lance. They’re good for keeping distance in melee combat.
  9. Don’t charge into battle on your own. You have an army at your disposal, so make sure you use the function keys to command your troops.
  10. Having some ranged troops and some melee troops in your entourage makes for the ideal balance.
  11. Double tap W to get a kick start when riding your horse, or double tap S to slow down faster.
  12. While riding a horse with a lance, instead of using the left mouse button to attack, conch the lance with the X key and build up speed. You’ll do much more damage.

World map tips

  1. Save often. You never know when you’ll lose a fight and are held prisoner, losing all of your followers.
  2. While on the world map, the game will pause when you are not moving. You can use this paused state to plan ahead.
  3. Movement on horseback through forests will be slower than on grassland.
  4. Don’t waste too much time pursuing looters if your horses can’t catch up to them. You’ll just tire out your army and get no progress.
  5. Keep the morale of your party high by winning battles and maintaining food supplies. If you have low morale, your troops may desert you.
  6. Food variety directly affects your troop morale. Your army likes variety in their food, so don’t just buy grain if you can afford it.
  7. Ask around in villages, towns, and castles for quests. They’re a good source of income should you complete them.
  8. Building relations with villages and towns will increase the number of people they can permit for you to recruit to your army.
  9. Lords are a particularly good source of income if you complete quests. Lords can occasionally be found in castles.
  10. Beating a lord at a game of Tablut will increase your renown by one point, but battles increase renown by much more if you slay larger armies.
  11. Swear fealty to a lord’s king as soon as you can or, y’know, pick someone trying to usurp a crown and gain favour with them instead.
  12. Upgrading your armies is vital to making them strong. They gain experience in battles and you can spend gold to upgrade your army.
  13. Upgrading your troops when they have the necessary experience requirements will make them cost more to maintain, but they come with better equipment to use in battle.
  14. Recruiting people to your army and looting horses from bandits increases your carry limit.
  15. Sell your loot to get a small injection of cash. Look around for the best price on high-value goods.
  16. If you want to find a certain character, press N to bring up the Encyclopedia and type their name. You can then track the settlement they were last spotted at. This is useful for if you’re trying to find nobles.

A barbarian warrior in Bannerlord trudging through the snow.

Mount And Blade 2 Bannerlord guide series

Thank you for reading our Bannerlord guide. We hope that you picked up on some tips and are able to make some headway into understanding this mammoth of a game.

There are plenty more guides in the works, but for now you can check out our other guides for the game, including details for character creation, as well as the bugs that are unfortunately in the game. Here are some guides to get you started:

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Who am I?

Dave Irwin

Former Guides Writer

When Dave was guides writer for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, it was his privilege to understand how to play certain games well, so that newer players can understand the more complex things about them.

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