Man this brings back memories. I used to play this game a lot back in 2013.
I don't think this is just a mistake of a few misguided developers. Practically all developers of multiplayer (and often even singleplayer) games think this way nowadays. Developers have access to a truly megalithic amount of data about how people use their games, and there is a huge pressure to use that data to make their games more profitable for longer. The problem is that most of them aren't data analysts and often remove stuff they think isn't being used at all, instead of improving it so that more people use it, and so on.
A really extreme case of this is Total War, since after NTW released they suddenly had all this data about gameplay that they were collecting under people's noses, and ever since then they've been stripping their games bare and removing stuff that nobody is using, with the culmination being these strange, rigid robotic games like Total War Troy which hardly feel like they were made by humans.
I think with the sheer amount of easy data corporations have access to these days it's difficult for them to avoid just relying on analytics to tell them what the users "want". It's easy to focus on Taleworlds but it's a capitalism-wide problem that even affects Microsoft and Apple. Taleworlds just isn't very good at it.
I agree fully, though in the case of TW there's no way to know exactly what data they are relying on. I still remember when one of the devs claimed that they had data which showed an overwhelming percentage of players preferred the class system, before Callum revealed that there was no such data and the post was deleted. It wouldn't surprise me if TW do actually have data that indicates a majority of players have no preference between the class system or a freer gear system and decided that, since their data showed no preference either way, they would go with the "easier to balance" (although this is not true) route of using classes. There is no way to know what data TW have but the majority of their MP decisions do seem to be based around what they think would expand the potential playerbase and attract SP-only players. It's possible to theorise endlessly about what data could have led to the decisions which were made, and I don't entirely disagree with the idea that Bannerlord should have had some focus on accessibility for its MP given how inaccessible Warband's MP was, it just appears that everything was done to that end, using whatever data they had, and that there was no attempt to take the unique elements of Warband and expand upon them.
I have to agree with you that the negative-focus of Bannerlord's MP is almost certainly data-driven, and we have heard from TW that it is 100% driven by conceptual data, which is surprising and alarming considering how Bannerlord fails to cater to any of the three major categories of Warband MP players.
I knew you were going to answer Gibby because you knew this problems all along, and you're so right about Warband having casual people messing around. You were in the SA community messing around a little bit, well, I was a founder of the Jorrvas clan, and you know, we sucked, we were really bad hahaha, but it was so much fun, in fact, before our clan turned 100% competitive most of the players were just my friends and some other dudes that werent all about wining every competition and stuff, and some of those players we had were plain bad, or didnt cared to be good, and that is fine, but you know what is surprising, that most of them sticked in the game for like 3 years? more I think? But because they were having fun, because we joined battle and messed around, listened to music, played together in massive encounters, joined events, played PW when it was opened, all of those moments were so good and so special, and I barely care about not winning anything because it was a nice group, but in Bannerlord I doubt any of them would have the fun we had in Warband, and mostly, because Battle doesnt exist, because we dont have a private server we cant make (they refused to give SA even a lame TDM server). Warband was so succesful, and so good, and it was fun. The devs neglected their game and thats were it failed, what a shame.
I am echoing what many others said before and after me. From the very first few days of the alpha there were dozens of people warning about these problems and those voices grew louder as Early Access drew closer, yet they were ignored in exactly the fashion that Brandis' post describes. TW have a vision which differs from what the vast majority Warband players envisioned for Bannerlord. In Alpha/Beta it was impossible to claim that, because there was no guarantee that Warband players would overwhelmingly reject Bannerlord's MP, but time has proven that assumption to be correct and there is now no doubt whatsoever that Bannerlord's MP has failed on almost every account. Yes, it is still Early Access, but the issues which the MP has are deeply rooted not just in the code of the game, but in the design philosophies of the developers themselves. Without fundamentally changing many of these things I do not see how Bannerlord's MP could possibly recover from the state it is in now.