The main questline might as well end about 2-3 quests in (lots of spoilers)

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First off, I want to say that I'm really enjoying this game after a very long break from EA where the game just felt empty. While I still am disappointed in the lack of developed campaign mechanics after several years, I'm at least having fun (sometimes / 1.6 still for me).

I say sometimes, because for a sandbox game with very complex systems that you need to either study or take a long time to understand how to utilize/manipulate - as vassals or rulers, we are constantly dragged into wars that we are essentially forced to participate in in order to prevent a very long and tedious game of whack-a-mole - which tends to happen anyway much of the time. I would much prefer longer, drawn out campaigns where winning the war means a more permanent affect to the balance of a game so that your focused efforts actually equate to something long-lasting. This is why I am really hopeful and excited about the new mechanic of factions turning minor after being fiefless for 20 days, as this will allow players to focus on one campaign at a time even if we have to sacrifice fiefs on the other side of the map. Much applause for the decision here TW.

I have a lot to say about this game but I'll do my best to stay concise and on-topic to the main questline. It's widely known and commented that the main quest is not worth doing passed the sibling part so you can grow your family/clan more quickly. I am in my favorite playthrough in either BL or WB and for some reason decided to proceed with the quest. I figured that maybe after 2-3 years of development since my last campaign it would be more thoughtfully implemented. Unfortunately not much has changed and the surprises are almost all just trivial and annoying rather than beneficial. In fact, other than having more people in your clan earlier which happens within the first few weeks of the game, everything that the player does regarding the main questline is actually detrimental to the playthrough. I mean this with love, TW: what was the thought process here? Was there one?

Below I will try and give people a TLDR list of why the main questline is not worth anyone's time after about quest 2-3. Unfortunately it made my current, favorite-of-all-time playthrough an annoying slog-fest even when I took the time and patience to unknowingly prepare for what was to come.


- Finding your siblings is basically where the quest should end right now. I was curious about how it's been developed since EA and can see that it's not only a giant waste of time, the player is actually worse off participating in it than we are by completely ignoring it.

- Receiving more siblings/people in your clan is a huge benefit. This happens extremely quickly in-game. It can be done within the first few days/week of a playthrough, and is a huge benefit over just playing sandbox where at minimum you are waiting 18-20 years for your first kid(s) to grow up. That is a wonderful reward for a very tiny amount of effort.

- Shortly after, the quest involves putting together this legendary banner which is actually hot garbage. Using it yourself in most cases is pointless because you can randomly find better banners just by fighting as a mercenary. The input is not that taxing, but the output is still not worth that minimal effort.

- Then comes the choice of giving the banner to a lord you serve or starting your own kingdom. The text implies that you will receive a bonus to recruiting lords to your kingdom, perhaps that they will even seek you to join. This is not the case. As a vassal I received nothing (tbf my relation was already 100 with Monchug, so not sure if it gave a relation boost which is pointless either way). Also, as a vassal I am the one who is paying .5-1million to recruit lords into the kingdom because the leader is not doing a good job of this, and I (nearly myself) am expanding too much for the current set of clans to handle. So I decided to recruit other lords myself. The dragon banner has no impact on this and absolutely should. Very big opportunity missed here.

- FF to where I'm at now. I waited almost the max amount of time to start this quest thinking it would be a good idea. It was. However, while it may prevent a layer of difficulty it does not prevent any tedium - which imo is far worse.

- Siding against the empire (Khuzait playthrough), I am now at the godforsaken "so and so's plan" quest where every 5-10 days in game I am sent across the map for another nonsense quest that feels like it has little to no impact on the campaign. I am already at war with most of the other factions in the game at any given point, and peace never lasts long (another very annoying feature of the game imo), and the last thing I want to do is run across the map to clear a hideout. This is mostly because, based on the other "payoffs" for the main quest, I'm fairly sure that the reward for this will be non-existent because the devs had to rush it into the game and don't have time to put sufficient thought into input/output.

- Overall the unfortunate realization I have personally is that the gameplay feels like it's almost entirely focused on punishing the player by presenting constant annoyances (very different than challenges) in order to make up for a skeleton of campaign mechanics. The big 2 that I hope TW can do something with are diplomacy between factions and richer implementation of trade (even if just fleshing out caravans and workshops) which could involve your entire clan and perhaps even kingdom as an economy-focused or trade kingdom (seems like they were thinking Aserai for this originally but it really doesn't seem like they did anything special.)

I apologize for the long-winded post. Kinda wanted to vent as my favorite campaign just became an annoying slog of running across the map to clear hideouts while I'm at constant war with every other faction. Just not fun. Not fun at all. Especially knowing the reward will probably be nothing but a text screen that says "congrats you beat the campaign everyone loves you" when nothing regarding the mechanics of the game will change.

Please TW. The battles in this game are great. Please devote some of your staff to fleshing out the skeletons where we are looking for campaign mechanics. And thank you for all the work you have done this far. It is still a good game. I think many of us are seeing how close it is to being great that makes people frustrated and say sometimes fair and sometimes unfair things about the state of the game. Overall I just hope you eventually turn this game into what it could be, or at least fix it to a point where modders don't have to work for free in order to make it feel like a finished product.

Anyway, happy holidays and cheers.
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