Here's my two cents on the matter, from a perspective of very little if any play with EoS or KoE:
The Empire of Sonnestahl (if it is like its equivalent in the previous game) seems to be more advanced, or at the cusp of, perhaps, a revolution to break feudal relations, while the Kingdom of Equitaine is most definitely not. Vast majority peasantry, strong feudal relations, a true commitment to feudal "ideals" (vows, prejudice against peasantry, etc.) and so on. I think this is where a differentiation could be found, if the difference is to be found in the background, or, perhaps rather, if the difference is to be grounded in the background (no matter which way it would causally go, if the gameplay difference is made before background difference or background difference made before gameplay difference). This might be a trivial note, and I am sorry if I wasted page space, but I'm sure some people more historically knowledgeable might be able to build on the idea. What are the advantages (and disadvantages) of a strong, "peak feudal" society over a society at the cusp of a (perhaps bourgeois/liberal) revolution?
Flails and maces, morning stars, etc. for example makes PERFECT sense for a KOE knight! The lance is the symbol of KOE, but not the ONLY weapon they would use. They would certainly have some knight in the ranks choosing hand weapons while others chose the lance. A charge of heavy horse isn't only effective with a lance. The sheer weight of the charge and impetus of the speed of the horses crashing into the enemy doesn't REQUIRE the lance to be successful. To me, it's the charging formation in the lance SHAPE that is significant, maybe even more than the actual use of the lance as a weapon. It's that arrow-shaped formation of horses knifing into an enemy's battleline that makes a charge of heavy horse work. It's like an ocean tide force that moves all before it. Using lances as weapons is one way they would deliver a charge, but not the ONLY way.
And that is precisely the reason that the devs. gave KOE Realm Knights the options of weapons! It is yet another piece of the story that HR simply doesn't grasp. He looks at the lance like it's their symbol so they wouldn't use any other weapon? Ever? Makes no sense.
I want some grounded realism in my factions, not cliches. Lances are not glued to knight's hands, they WOULD choose alternate weapons at times to charge with!
Agreed... to a point. If you want to talk about the item of military gear a knight would always have in hand in a battle, it's his SHIELD. The simple fact is, historically, armor was not strong enough to outright stop a killing blow from at least seriously injuring the target until the advent of plate. A shield, on the other hand, COULD stop that blow cold. So a shield was an absolutely NECESSARY piece of kit for any non-plate armored warrior.
Except... to use a morning star, KoE knights have to surrender their shield. Insanity!
Fairly simple awnser from me:
- I do not think the game should be moved much farther away from the foundation it was build upon.
Instead improve where many agree the game lacks depth, feels too random or generally speaking generates more 'un-fun' situations as fun situations.
What I love about the ninth age is the depth it offers for creators of armies, meaning the hobby will always be on the first spot and ninth age will be an incredible set of rules to work for ANY model your heart desires to play with.
I think the game is so far past the foundation it was built upon that clinging to what remains of that foundation for nostalgia's sake risks T9A never becoming the game it SHOULD be. Especially when clinging to that foundation disrupts balance as badly as it has.