Following last month's Vlandians reveal, Mount & Blade 2: Banner has announced its latest faction: the Aserai. Based on the tribes that thrived prior to the Arab Conquests of the seventh and eighth century, a typically comprehensive blog post from developer TaleWorlds details their history, lore and combat capabilities.
Within, we learn that the Aserai are comprised of minor factions, much like all Bannerlord cultures. Their scale and institutions don't necessarily fit Bannerlord's political system, we're told, which ultimately means their southern desert homelands are "hard to rule and dangerous to traverse."
As I discovered at Gamescom last year, planning goes a long way in Bannerlord—which I imagine will be especially true here. As for how they approach confrontation, TaleWorlds explains the importance of mounts in the Aserai's offence.
Mideastern armies are popularly associated with horse archers, but in fact those only became prevalent about two centuries after the founding of Islam with the influx of Turks. The Arabs fought with short sword, long spear, and foot bow. Warriors prided themselves on their flexibility, fighting as light mounted lancers or heavy foot, in formed ranks or as individual champions. Javelins, a favourite weapon of the Berbers, made their appearance in Islamic armies fairly early, and we have the Aserai use them as well. All in all it's a mix of good troops, pretty well balanced across cavalry and infantry.
The Arabs were famously proud of their horses, and the Aserai breeds - produced by pastures in Aserai lands—will have unique characteristics. Middle Eastern warriors wore a mix of armours, often under richly embroidered textiles. Bannerlord's physics model gives us new options in bringing the pageantry of these armies to life, with banners, horsetails and robes fluttering in the desert breeze.
Check out the full rundown of the Aserai via this Steam Community post. Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord is as yet without a hard release date.