The importance of Mount and Blade: Bannerlord factions may not be apparent to the newer player. It is often underestimated and just seen as a way of adding immersion in the game. But it is so much more.
Choosing the right faction for yourself can give you a keen edge when playing the game. So here is everything you need to know about Bannerlord and its factions.
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Bannerlord and its factions
The game itself is still in its early access phase. Even as early access, Bannerlord has already become the largest launch on stream this year.
This action role-playing game takes directly from its predecessors and has integrated factions into the gameplay.
At the start of the game, the player must choose a faction for themself, to begin with. This not only determines the player’s backstory and character but also provides the player with an initial passive ability and bonuses.
A feature missing in the game’s predecessor.
Each faction also comes with a set of disadvantages though. These can either make or break the game for you, depending on your playing style.
If you choose the wrong faction, you might find yourself in a rather tough position. Whereas, the right choice can make you flourish.
Moreover, players can choose to be a part of a different faction further on in the game. This, however, will not change the passive ability given at the start of the play-through.
The Vlandians originated from a group of mercenaries overseas. These mercenaries had offered their services to the Calradic Empire as warriors for hire and would be paid with silver, land, and farms.
During a period of instability, however, the Vlandians would start a revolt and claim the western segment of the Empire as their own.
“They came from overseas, mercenaries and adventurers, speaking the tongues of many lands, taking the empire’s silver to guard the frontiers against the unsubdued tribes…”In-game description
20% additional troop upgrade XP for each battle
The Vlandians are a very combat-heavy faction. The faction consists of a large number of military units which can be obtained very early in-game.
Special units of this faction are just as easy to attain as well. However, they lack mobility and firepower in the form of archers/archer-horsemen and rely solely on infantry crossbow-men.
The faction also lacks the resources to supply cavalry as the country owns a single horse-farm to the south. The only way to overcome this is to use the horse-farms of ally factions.
The Aserians comprise of a group of sub-tribes that have settled in the harsh desert climates to the south. They are tough people and make do with what little resources are available to them.
“Those clans that could secure a hold on the oases won an imperial subsidy to protect passing caravans and grew rich. Those who could not were pushed into the desert..”In-game description
10% less trade penalty, 30% reduction is Caravans’ cost
Aserian soldiers are weaker than other factions in the early-game. However, they are very versatile and use many forms of weaponry such as spears, bows, axes, etc.
To fully benefit from this faction would require the player to unlock the warhorse. The provided mobility paired with the versatility of the soldiers makes for an intimidating foe.
Aserians are also very beneficial for trading and can grant the player a lot of in-game currency early on in the game.
Battanian clans were one of the first to inhabit the continent. They have protected their land numerous times against the invasions of the Empire, Vladnians, and Sturgians.
Being a conservative bunch they believe in the sanctity of nature and their home. Battanians still regard much of the continent as theirs even though most of it is ruled by the empire.
“…Battanian clans, the original inhabitants of much of the continent. Their hilltop fortresses have born witness to countless wars fought to resist outside invaders…”In-game description
12% faster movement in Forest Biomes
Battanians are adept at using the forest to their advantage. Seeing that much of the playable map is populated with forest biomes, the Battanians are a good first choice for new players.
This Bannerlord faction is adept at quick and swift attacks. Their army, mainly compromised of light infantry that equips bows and falxes, makes quick work of the enemy, especially in forested areas.
However, the Battanians severely lack in heavy units. As such, any direct attacks against them are extremely effective.
The Calradic Empire
The Empire is currently the main ruling faction of the continent. However, they are facing an internal discourse and have split into three states: North, South, and West.
This, paired with the fact the empire is surrounded by enemy factions puts them in a very difficult position indeed. Still, the Empire’s well-trained army is more than capable enough to deal with these threats.
“By the year 1084, the Calradic Empire has descended into a three-way civil war…”In-game description
20% increase in construction speed for town projects, wall repairs, and siege engines.
The Empire possesses a large variety of soldiers, from two different types of archers to the specialized lance knights. Troops are also readily available due to the many imperial villages found on the world-map.
But most of these units are only available in the late-game stage. The units are slower to train than most others and take time to specialize.
Moreover, although having a large variety of soldiers, this Bannerlord faction lacks the defense needed against the specialized units of other factions, such as the axe and shield warriors of the Sturgians.
The Khuzaits were one of the prime targets for the Empire during the Empire’s expansion. They would be pitted against their own tribes and their leaders would be occasionally bought off.
This all ended, however, when the Khuzaits decided to strike back at the empire and regained their former glory.
” Urkhun the Khuzait led the clans nearest the empire into its eastern provinces, overrunning them and forming a khanate“In-game description
10% speed bonus for horsemen on a campaign map and cheaper horses
This Bannerlord Faction is a very cavalry oriented one. The combination of faster horsemen and more horses is a very lethal one.
Moreover, the faction possesses the most ranged troops in-game. Allowing them to not only reach destinations faster but also attack from afar.
But, enemies can make use of this and force the Khuzaits into difficult terrains. Not only decreasing mobility but making it easier to get close enough to attack.
The movement of the Khuzaits however, can also be very awkward at times. The horse riders march on ahead and the footmen are unable to keep up. This makes Khuzaits slower on longer campaigns.
The Sturgians occupy the north of the map. The region is extremely cold and unforgiving. But, it is extremely abundant with natural resources.
It was due to these resources that many trade routes opened up to the then Nordic villages. The state was blessed with great prosperity and eventually became the Sturgia we see today in Bannerlord.
“The Sturgian forests are forbidding and cold, but great wealth lies within..”In-game description
20% speed bonus on snowy terrain
Sturgian troops heavily really on their defenses and heavy-hitting power. This Bannerlord faction’s army comprises mainly of mid to heavy units.
The basic infantry unit is the best in the game, and can easily deal with any other foot unit. However, the rest of the units are sub-par at best.
As such, the Sturgians are, as of the moment of writing this article, considered the worst among the Bannerlord factions.
Not only this but, their passive boost of increased mobility in the snow is also of little use. The playable map has very areas with snow, and so the benefit of this boost is extremely limited.
Best Bannerlord factions for beginners
Although the factions are specifically designed to support specific styles of plays, here are the best bannerlord factions for some common playstyles.
Merchant playstyle: Aseria faction
If the constant combat system of Bannerlord is not for you, don’t worry. The game can be played in multiple ways and if you would rather accumulate money and rule through the economy, then Aseria is the faction for you.
With Aseria’s passive perk for trading then no doubt it’s a shoo-in for the merchant playing-style. Furthermore, the available troops for the faction are versatile and reliable. Providing a good amount of security for defense.
Offensive playstyle: Vlandia & Khuzait faction
A more peaceful play-style does, however, lack the thrill and glory that comes from crushing your foes. If you’re one of those people that craves that glory then these two factions will serve you well.
The more obvious choice, Vlandia, is a very combat-forward faction. With military groups’ growth boosted by the faction’s perk, your army is sure to excel beyond anything you could do with the other factions.
Subsequently, Khuzait is also a prime contender for this position. Warhorses will not only be much cheaper but will move faster than any other horse on the battlefield, allowing you to swiftly crush whoever stands in your way.
Defensive playstyle: The Empire
However, if your philosophy is “the best offense is a good defense“, then you should consider taking The Empire on as your faction in Bannerlord.
The empire already holds a majority of the continent in its hands and so has more resources available than any other faction.
This allows the empire to focus more on its defenses. With construction being given a substantial boost, it’s not only easier to build up fortifications, but also repair them in the aftermath of a battle.
This faction’s troops are also suitable for this playing-style. Although they might be unable to stop certain special units, they are, however, able to efficiently deal with 90% of the units in-game.
Versetile playstyle: Battania
If you’re still unsure how you would like to play the game, then Battania is a good place to start. This Bannerlord faction chooses not to focus solely on one area, and therefore, has the potential to flourish in all of them.
A jack of all trades.
With swift troops that neither focus too much on offense or defense the units can be deployed in any situation.
Moreover, Battania allows the player a speed boost in forests(on a highly forested map), making traveling for supplies/trading much much faster.
Wrapping up on Bannerlord’s factions
Will all that said, I hope you are more than prepared to lead a faction to glory, or to its downfall.
But I need to say that if you have a personal preference to a certain faction for whatever reasons, then it beats all the other best Bannerlord factions in the game.
If you’d still like to know more, we’ve added a youtube link to help you understand more about these amazing new factions added to the mount and blade franchise.
It’s your decision and ultimately the fate of all Calradia rests in your hands.