Not everything will work correctly in a video game. Sometimes, things fall short, and that’s bound to happen in Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord, mainly because the game is in early access. Players in the game are likely to wind up finding little issues and bugs with it, such as problems with quests, speaking to NPCs, attempting specific combat scenarios, or even laying siege to a castle. A notable problem some players are having in Bannerlord is getting their archers to fire while in combat.
The first thing you want to do is try to line them up with the proper troop commands. You want to make sure you toggle the fire at will command, which you can do by hitting the F4 button. All you have to do this click this button a few times, and you want to make sure you set it to ‘fire at will.’ If you don’t have that, your archers will refrain from firing during a combat situation, and you can find yourself short out of luck as the melee combatants dish it out, potentially ripping them apart.
For those who double-checked and are not experiencing this minor issue, there could be a different problem at work, which is these archers do not have a clear line of fire. An archer in Bannerlord will not launch an arrow if they don’t have a clear shot, and a friendly troop in front of them can prevent them from firing. To make it easier for them to see players have moved their troops to the ‘loose’ formation. You can do this by clicking the F3 key twice, changing your troop’s overall structure.
Players have reported attempting these fixes, and they still experience archers not firing as often as they expected. Veteran players of the Mount and Blade franchise have noted that archers in Bannerlord have significantly reduced range than they did in a predecessor game, Warband. If you’re expecting your troops to fire at the same range in this game, unfortunately, that’s not the case. Make sure to try spreading out your troops, fighting in an open field, or try placing them behind a wall of shields maybe to make it easier for them to fight during an encounter.