Basic Mount & Blade was excellent as a battle generator with some RPG elements to build your character, companions, and an army. The problem was that you ended up "all dressed up and nowhere to go". There was no way up from "vassal". It was possible to play as a traveling merchant, but there wasn't a lot of depth to it. You could build up Relations with other lords, but ultimately there was no point in it. There were no kingdom options at all, since you couldn't form your own kingdom.
Warband allowed you to create your own kingdom, but the diplomatic and economic options were extremely limited. Once again, aside from generating battles and painting the map, there wasn't really much to "do" as king, and keeping your vassals from rebelling was tedious and unrealistic. Other than offering to do menial "quests" for other lords, there was very little interaction possible with the NPCs.
Now we've got a much higher-resolution game with even less "to do" while at peace, and keeping your vassals in line is still tedious and unrealistic. Rather than expanding on the options in Warband, we seem to have lost a few.
If this were more like a Paradox grand-strategy game, there would be ways to corner the market on specific products, or at least deny them to the enemy, and the enemy would suffer shortages of supplies or equipment as a result. You'd be able to utilize spies to undercut a rival's authority or sow discontent. You'd be able to entice lords of other factions through bribes, trade deals, offers of military support, or other possibilities. You'd be able to build up and improve your holdings, or provide economic incentives for your vassals to build up as well, in order to insure a decent supply of critical resources and manpower, while improving relations. In short, you'd be running a kingdom, not just leading an army.
If it were a Bethesda game, the world would include at least a few NPCs with unique dialog or quests, hidden things to discover, and an interesting "world" to live in, not just a battle generator. As it is, there's not much reason to visit the towns and villages after you've met the few merchants and the town leader. Basically, there's no reason to go there unless sent on a quest, such as to buy cattle or hunt down a fugitive.
At this point, about all I can hope for is that the game is moddable enough for someone to put a real economy, diplomatic system, and personalities in the game to turn it into a hybrid with working tactical, strategic, and RPG elements. As it stands, only the combat element is really functional.