There was a run of things that happened to me in Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord that perfectly summed up my early-game experience with it.
It began with me finding a way to cheese the game. I’d discovered I could take down groups of enemies on my own, up to a dozen of them, simply by riding out of their reach on my horse and slowing down just enough to carefully aim my bow and headshot them. One by one, they’d fall. If it weren’t for the arrow limit – around 27 depending on the quiver – I’d have taken on entire armies. And it was beginning to be very profitable for me. I was finally threatening to make the dent in the world I’d been struggling to make.
But then Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord – the latest in TaleWorlds’ series of strategy action RPGs that’s just left early access – suddenly decided not to let me do it any more. It decided I needed troops to command, because that’s what the game is about: commanding armies in battle – think Maximus in opening scene Gladiator, where he’s riding with the troops through the forest. You can, in a Total War-lite way, shout orders to your troops, using the F-keys and a time-slow mode to command them (it’s fiddly). So, I bought troops.