Much better to have a three or four-times better paying job being a code-monkey for financial or medical sector and not have to live on crunch time half the year at best.
Which is why pre-planning and feature lockdown is essential. If your development team doesn't know what they should be aiming to achieve (look at the whole economy thing in Bannerlord as an example), throwing code at it to see what sticks is not the best way to approach it.
Somebody who can't check their basic math or run a tooltip text over a spellcheck is not giving it a "good effort" in the slightest from where I'm standing.
Yeah, silly people expect something actually more elaborate than a reskin-of-a-reskin now that the company is such a large studio with such a large budget. All those dev blogs touting this and that feature that ends up either completely scrapped (seriously, the "building castles won't work because balance" is such a cop-out excuse) or a placeholder.
Hell, look at the situation with autocalc. Taleworlds went on trying to "balance" lord party composition long before they finally realized (not least because people kept drumming about it) that autocalc was a serious issue in the respect with its "throw digital dice, pick who dies" original form.
So, somebody got tasked to remaking it into something more usable. The end result? It STILL doesn't, last I looked at it, really consider anything like numerical advantage, unit types, or map terrain. It's complex enough in terms of "mano-a-mano" matchups, but completely ignores the fact that it's supposed to serve resolution of, at least, a party vs party conflict, not some gladiatorial "line up and attack one by one" fights.
And this isn't just autocalc, I've seen the same approach applied to pretty much every game element. If you don't plan ahead, this is exactly what you end up with - trying to "fix" the symptom, not the cause, and then throwing bandaids that completely ignore the larger picture because you're so fixated on "fixing" just that one problem you got told to resolve.
This game lacks basic elements that would tie it together into an enjoyable experience. Cities starve (because no pre-planning ensured prosperity was not a one-way street in terms of food consumption), so Taleworlds is fixing the interaction between villages and towns... completely ignoring that it's something that WILL get disturbed by (presumably) enhanced banditry implementation (or we're left with "whack-a-looter-lord" for final release), or even increasing party sizes in later game having a meaningful impact on marketplace offering in later game. Much less the end result of several in-game years of constant raiding and pillaging that villages can't recover from with current implementation, either. Or even the coming changes to lords' parties or kingdom campaign AI implementation.
My impression at this point is that Taleworlds are trying to put together a complex piece puzzle while obsessing on one corner, then realizing other parts are empty and going tunnel-vision on another.
And I'm sure a lot of people involved, at this point, are in the burnout stage as well - when you see limited progress, you end up disillusioned about a project no matter how enthusiastic you started.
It's not that WE, the customers, need a roadmap first and foremost. Taleworlds needs one (and not necessarily one with time schedule), if only so that they understand their own creation and what it should try to achieve.
(And yes, I have been a part of multiple gaming projects, large and small, both professionally and - for years now - as a hobby. Which is what a lot of my criticism comes from, because this is no longer the 1980s - or 90s - where people were still figuring out "how to gamedev.")
True, I've been of the "let them work in peace for however long and judge by the end result" crowd of former defenders. I didn't follow the dev blogs religiously. Didn't even know castle building (you know, the thing that individual hobbyist modders managed to get into Warband with all its engine limitations) was scrapped.
My bad, should've done my homework in that regard. Didn't know they went with the asinine "villages aren't individual entities, not really" change, either. Things like that.
Still would've shrugged and enjoyed the game if it a) worked, b) made it enjoyable.
Instead, I've had my fun with the field battles (at least small scale ones, because the mosh pit behavior and pathing on sieges pretty much makes them things to get over with, not enjoy). Nothing much else there to enjoy, anyway. Came over to see if there's any news of the supposed "big patch" that got delayed last Friday because "holidays," but at this point I'm just playing other things. I enjoy participation in EA, but as I wrote - this isn't one, and it certainly is not a "playable game" beyond the initial impression at this point. Taleworlds doesn't even seem to understand that they have tens of thousands of man-hours worth of testers at their fingertips, and to get the most out of it they SHOULD be directing people's attention to specific parts of the game they want tested. Which is something going back to a roadmap (or just simple EA communication), because then you can point at it and simply explain that Feature B is not really implemented yet, and won't work well, but you'd appreciate any and all feedback regarding the newly re-implemented Feature A.
Studio of 50+ employees (working from home or not), all these sales, and they couldn't have even bothered to set up somebody to organize the "testers" for most effective feedback, much less just "community management" in general terms. Meh.
I don't mind the $45 I spent, either. I'm just annoyed at all the wasted potential.