Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord now has a formation system and better siege AI

A lord on horseback inspects a small line of basic infantry units in Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord

Medieval sandbox game Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord just got a big patch, which finally adds the reworked battle terrain system, a new order of battle system, and some sorely needed updates to sieges in the Early Access game’s main branch. It’s a wide-ranging update, however, and includes a host of fixes, tweaks, and changes for just about every element of TaleWorlds’ latest medieval romp.

The most significant changes in e1.7.0, of course, are updated battles and sieges. The patch adds 23 new scenes for battles, making the total number of maps a whopping 72 – although TaleWorlds says it’s planning on continuing to add to the map pool. The map a particular battle takes place on will be determined by the armies’ positions on the campaign map, and that’ll also be used to set spawn positions for each belligerent.

This update also adds the new order of battle system to the main game branch. This will be extremely helpful once your army reaches a certain number of fighters: you’ll be able to organise your army into distinct formations and assign captains to each one. Using percentage sliders, you can set the composition of each formation based on troop type and other filters, too. Once you’re in a battle, you’ll see a card for each of your formations that includes information on how many troops it has, their remaining ammo, and more.

Sieges have the potential to be Bannerlord’s most impressive combat spectacles, but they’ve been pretty janky in practise. Fortunately, there’s a bunch of fixes in the latest patch for these encounters. The AI should have an easier time navigating around and climbing siege tower ladders and will no longer cluster around a single one. Your agents will continue trying to raise siege ladders even after they’ve taken damage now, too.

Once troops have made it up a ladder and onto the castle walls, they’ll stop trying to flee – from here on out, they’re locked into a fight to the death. Thanks to the addition of some new logic to siege scenes, defenders should now recognise the direction attackers are approaching more effectively.

If you decide to lay siege to a settlement, you’ll find that starvation is much more effective now, too. One big change is that garrisoned troops won’t die from starvation. That might seem a little counter-intuitive, but the key thing is that rather than dying of starvation, garrisoned troops will become wounded and continue to consume food resources. And instead of using absolute numbers to calculate the starvation penalty for besieged settlements, Bannerlord now uses percentages – the way it does for mobile parties. This way, a big garrison will have more troops wounded during starvation conditions than a smaller force would, which is pretty sensible.

You can read the full patch notes on Steam, or browse our list of the best Bannerlord mods if you’d like to change things up even more.

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