Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord completely revamps the skill system of the original game, switching from skill points gained on level up to a more Elder Scrolls-style system where you level up abilities by actually using them. Lead designer Armagan Yavuz broke down the details for us at Gamescom.
There are eighteen different skills, Yavuz says, and “the player has to exercise each skill individually. If you want to increase one-handed skill, then you have to fight with a one-handed weapon. If you do a lot of trading, and profit from that, the trade skill will increase.”
You will make skill choices when you level up, distributing focus points into particular abilities you want to emphasize. “Basically, that doesn’t make you automatically learn that skill – you still have to practice that skill in order to learn it – but it determines how fast you’re developing in that aspect. So you can say ‘ok, I’m focusing my character on riding,’ for example, or diplomacy, or trade, and then you learn your skills much faster than the other skills.”
Leveling up your skills will also have you gaining perks, with over 20 different choices within each skill. “At most points,” Yavuz says, “you’ll have to choose between different perks. For example, if you’re learning the one-handed skill, you’ll at some point have to choose a perk that gives you a bonus on horseback versus a perk that gives you a bonus on foot. You can’t take both of them – you’ll have to do one. All through the game, you’ll have to do those choices, and you’ll end up with a great variety of different character builds.”
We’ve been getting a drip feed of details on what to expect from Bannerlord for years now, but yes, there’s still no release date. Gamescom has provided a new campaign trailer, which offers a tantalizing taste of what to expect – someday, when Mount & Blade II finally launches.