They are indeed mostly glorified map markers at this time other than perhaps sieges, comedy of errors that they are, where they can feel a bit samey and give the world a small lifeless vibe after seeing X castle or town so many times not counting the other plethora of issues with them.Yes, but this also won´t add any real gameplay value. Sure it´s very nice to have unique scenes but there still isn´t anything to do in those scenes.
There are supposed to be other major features that take place in said scenes and I imagine it is why they wanted to go full unique for every center this time as a premise to explore and find those things. I think they are holding onto this idea that they need to do X before Y but I'd imagine many would be quite pleased with Y without X. I suppose it would just be too embarrassing for the studio if players went through the same town twice while playing through a functioning inner-city gang system?
That said, when done right a good variety of scenes does a lot for world building but it is very intensive and is quite time consuming, the work, the attention to detail required, all the issues that will pop up like with pathing and collision, the requirements are immense. Even at the end in vanilla Warband there were still issues with sieges having some guy fall into a wall or something and making the siege never end. In total conversion mods scene work was by far one of the hardest jobs to get right. The notion that so much of it and many other promised features are in such a poor state, it is certainly going to be years before final release. But we all know that.
But I do not think they are going anywhere, it is going to take forever, it has taken forever, but they have enough funding from EA sales to keep the lights on and pathologically sludge onward for quite awhile as by their own admission it really isn't about success or completion for them, to quote Armağan (IIRC) from an interview where he was being pressured about a release date: "we just like to go to work everyday and make video games", adding that "we have no internal timetables for completion", paraphrasing.