Personally I would like to see weaponmaster come back.
Yeah. I thought the new perk (Overwhelm) was going to be the return of Weaponmaster. The trouble currently (especially with fatigue made more of an issue) is that you want to select the right weapons for dealing with each enemy, but you really need the fatigue efficiency that comes from mastery as the game gets on, and that in turn forces you to specialize too narrowly.
Before, when you could be more of a generalist, people wanted more specific perks that would give the feel of the mercenary gradually becoming one with the weapon used. But you don’t always want to use the same weapon, and weapons aren’t so different that skills learned using one would not be at all transferable to others. What tends to happen now, with the more specific perks, doesn’t actually give off the feel of evolving with the weapon used. Instead, you tend to use more accurate, less fatiguing swords and spears until skill and energy levels have been bulked up adequately, and then suddenly switch them over to a more devastating weapon.
While it doesn’t seem authentic for a mercenary to always carry around four different big weapons at the same time (without any additional fatigue cost) and switch between them at will (without any action point cost), it also doesn’t seem authentic that a mercenary would face up to a massive variety of deadly enemies while always relying on just one weapon (with none of the skills developed with that weapon crossing over into the use of other weapons).
Another factor is the availability of high-quality weapons. You might have looted some good-quality standard axes, and so you decide to make your merc with the best melee skill an axe master, but then in the next battle you loot a rare sword that has 40% of damage ignoring armour and a +15% chance to hit the head, and you think “oh shit”.
Although the weapon masteries are weapon-specific, they aren’t very specific to the particular physical skill that’s used. Riposte and Split/Swing are very different skills, for example. In reality, there’s much more crossover between Split/Swing and Round Swing and Shatter than there is between Split/Swing and Riposte.
What I think should happen is that:
— Polearm Mastery should be altered into a mastery of 2-handed weapons (polearms, longaxes, great-swords/axes/hammers and any other 2-handed melee weapons) that reduces the fatigue costs and increases the accuracy/damage of all the relevant attacks (including Split Shield when using any 2-handed weapon that has that skill)
— All the other melee weapon masteries should reduce the fatigue costs of using any 1-handed melee weapon, but should confer accuracy/damage bonuses specific to the weapon chosen
— Throwing Mastery should also reduce the fatigue and action point costs of net-throwing, and (since throwing weapons are 1-handed weapons akin to spears and axes) should reduce the fatigue costs of using any 1-handed melee weapon