Realistic mode in Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord – should you play it?

Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord has brought us many new features we couldn’t enjoy in Warband, one of them being the very unique Realistic mode.

What is the Realistic mode?

After creating a character in Bannerlord, you have to choose a difficulty level. Unlike other games which typically only have global options like Easy, Normal and Hand, in Bannerlord you will have to customize the difficulty level with multiple choices.

That means you get to choose different settings for different things. If you aren’t big on politics, you can choose to make it easy. And if you want the military experience to be as hardcore as possible, you can make battles as realistic as possible.

Should I play the Realistic mode in Bannerlord?

For new players who haven’t tried the previous Mount & Blade games, I’d say Realistic difficulty is not a good choice. You will likely feel overwhelmed by the game’s politics, battle formations, and overall gameplay intricacies. For veterans and other players who’ve had their fair share of the Mount & Blade franchise and get the gist of the game, I’d definitely say go for it!

I am myself playing at the Realistic difficulty, and despite feeling like the story takes way too long to develop, it certainly isn’t impossible to play.

Difficulty for newbies

As I said, newbies should not be playing in a full Realistic mode, but they can definitely choose some realistic settings. I’ve thought of a difficulty distribution that new players can enjoy. When you create a character and are at the difficulty panel, just pick the following options:

Friendly Troops Received Damage: Realistic
Friendly Parties Received Damage: Realistic
Player Received Damage: Easy
Recruitment Difficulty: Easy
Map Movement Speed: Easy
Enable Death: Off
Auto Allocate Clan Member Perks: On

Playing with these settings will make the game fun to play, while getting a taste for the real thing. Once you feel you are dominating with these settings, you can then adjust the difficulty to a harder mode.

Should you play Realistic mode in Bannerlord?

Difficulty for experienced players

As for veterans who want to play “the real thing”, it’s quite easy to set the difficulty: just pick realistic across the board!

Friendly Troops Received Damage: Realistic
Friendly Parties Received Damage: Realistic
Player Received Damage: Realistic
Recruitment Difficulty: Realistic
Map Movement Speed: Realistic
Enable Death: On
Auto Allocate Clan Member Perks: On

But, my friends, beware when setting on this path. You might think that realistic mode will be real life-like gameplay, but in reality I find it to be more of a pure hard mode, with a focus on throwing obstacles your way rather than delivering realism.

When you play with everything in Realistic mode, prepare yourself to move a lot slower around the map and get attacked more often. Lords won’t be quite as friendly, and recruiting them into your faction will be nearly impossible.

Plus, you won’t get to save your game and load back when you fail at something. The game saves automatically as you go, so there is no turning back: YOLO. For that reason you’d do well to get married and have kids as soon as possible. I advise this because dying without heirs means it’s game over.

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Bárbara Santos

Writer by day and gamer by night. I put all my thoughts and feelings in writing about things I like, A.K.A. Gaming!
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