Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord

Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord Beta Patch 1.5.8 – A Review

Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord’s beta patch e1.5.8 just dropped on Steam, presenting a slew of additional features and, of course, the usual bugs. We’ve tried it out, and though it looks promising, there are way too many issues. It would be smart to play the stable 1.5.7 version in the meantime and wait for the current beta’s future hotfixes.

Before that, let’s look at what it offers and see what it means for your future campaigns.

Devastate, pillage or show mercy?

The most significant addition in the current beta patch is the pillaging mechanic, which enables players to Devastate, Pillage, or Show Mercy to successfully besieged settlements. All options have their benefits and consequences. For example, if you devastate or pillage: 

  • Damage the property and projects of a settlement. For example, if you use devastate on the town of Epicrotea, you might reduce its wall level by 1. 
  • It will cause a relationship loss with the former owners and lords who took part in the siege, depending on their traits. 
  • You’ll earn a certain amount of gold depending on the settlement’s prosperity, and your party’s morale will rise. 

Meanwhile, showing mercy means you’ll end up taking a settlement relatively peacefully, with little harm to the inhabitants. 

  • You’re expected to show mercy if you take over a settlement of the same culture. For example, if you’re a Northern Empire lord who just took over a Western Empire town and showed mercy, you’ll suffer relatively few consequences.
  • However, if you’re part of an Imperial faction and took over a settlement belonging to a foreign culture, like Battania, you’re expected to devastate or pillage. Doing otherwise will cause a party morale penalty, and certain nobles, especially ones with the cruel trait, will disapprove.

This feature adds a large degree of depth, especially in army management and noble relations. If there’s a certain noble you’d like to marry, it would be a good idea to check their trait first and see which abovementioned action would be the most appealing to them. Moreover, you have to watch your party morale, since showing mercy may cause some of your troops to desert.

Battle formations

The battles are Mount and Blade Bannerlord’s primary draw, but before e1.5.8, units weren’t arrayed that well. All foot troops (archers, skirmishers, infantry) stood in a line facing the enemy, while horse archers were on the right flank, while the melee cavalry and mounted skirmishers sat on the left. 

Today though, all troops are automatically placed in a more natural formation before set battles. They now spawn in this order: 

  • Skirmishers, Heavy and Light infantry at the center
  • Ranged units (archers and crossbowmen) and civilian companies at the rear
  • Heavy and melee cavalry are at the left flank.
  • Light cavalry and horse archers are at the right flank. 

This feature saves a valuable bit of time, considering the AI rushes forward when they outnumber you. Moreover, if you’re an F1 > F3 player, this will make sure your archers won’t run ahead of the infantry when they charge. 

Track besieged and raided settlements

A tiny yet significant quality-of-life addition, the game automatically marks attached settlements. Players no longer have to open the encyclopedia and find a village on the other end of your realm. You can disable this or use the “Only Leader” option to activate it if you’re a faction leader.

UI additions and fixes

The patch introduces a few other QoL and UI fixes. One of the first you’ll see is the “Continue Campaign” button on the intro screen. If you’re leading a double life as a blacksmith, they have added a lock feature on the smithy, which prevents players from accidentally smelting valuable weapons. So yes, the chances of smelting an expensive javelin are now relatively low. 

In battles, you can now attune the casualty report option that appears on the top right corner of the screen to no longer include unit names. Moreover, the player party’s scoreboard now sits on top after large-scale army battles. This ensures you won’t have to scroll down to find how many casualties you’ve suffered and enemies you and your friends have taken down. 

Character development

There are more perks for your character, particularly in the engineering aspect, although many of these haven’t been implemented yet. For example, there is now a perk that adds more HP to your battering ram. Moreover, there are fixes in Athletics, Riding, Throwing, Polearm, and One-Handed skill trees. For example, the Duelist perk no longer hands out 300 renown when you win a tournament. 

Bugs & Issues

Unfortunately, the Mount and Blade 2 Bannerlord e1.5.8 patch is pretty much unplayable at this point because of a bug where armies spawn baby soldiers. And yes, they are invincible since you can’t hit them with anything. I’ve installed no unit-altering mods, disabled everything, and tried to launch a new campaign, yet it persists. Even if it’s still hilarious (and mildly disturbing) to see infants riding armored horses trying to stab you with a couched lance, we hope TaleWorlds will fix this soon. 

Apart from this, there’s also a bug where item icons infinitely load. It happens when you access a shop and whenever you check your inventory. Moreover, there’s a nasty bug where the cursor disappears when you talk to an NPC, forcing you to restart the game and lose progress.

Finally, there’s also the ever-persistent issue with bandit parties, too many for NPC nobles to handle. Whenever there’s a war between factions, their domains are sure to have dozens of looter and raider groups terrorizing villagers, ensuring towns will suffer from food shortages. 

Overall, there are just too many issues in Mount and Blade 2 Bannerlord’s patch e.1.5.8. The new QoL, UI, and siege features are fantastic additions, but the current bugs are too much to handle. There’s no reason to start a new campaign using the latest patch, and it would be better to wait for future hotfixes and play an earlier version. 

So, what do you think of the new patch? Have you encountered any of the bugs mentioned above, and did you try out the siege mechanics? We’d like to hear from you down in the comments!

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