It's starting to seem like Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord (opens in new tab) might actually launch one of these days, what with some lucky players getting to test the skirmish mode in beta and the game's impending appearance at Gamescom later this month. If you didn't get into the beta and need a fix, you can watch some raw footage above.
The skirmish is from last week's test and it's the mode you'll want to hit up if you're just looking to batter people in duels. Captain mode will give you soldiers to command, but skirmishes give players only their own character and their human allies to rely on.
Skirmish is the mode I'm least excited to play, as it strips out most of the RPG and strategy elements that make Mount & Blade such an interesting series. This is just straightforward combat, which I do still like to look of, despite being graceless and a bit messy. Skirmishes let you pick characters with particular loadouts, so it seems like it might be a good place to get to grips with different weapons.
TaleWorlds showed off some more of the larger Captain mode last year, which you can watch below.
If you're attending Gamescom, both of these modes will be playable, but you'll need to wait a little longer to see more of the sandboxy campaign mode.
Mount & Blade 2 Bannerlord still doesn't have a release date yet, but I'm still predicting it will be announced this year.