I get the irritation at not having character creation, since it’s one of the features I love most in rpg-style games; but overall I agree with GOD that it’s not an important or useful addition to this particular game.
Being able to determine with any kind of specificity the attributes of your individual units undermines the feeling of being the head of a mercenary company, forced to deal with whatever recruits and difficulties come your way. In my estimation the fun and theme is not about designing any particular hero, it’s about managing a group of flawed grumbling men, and turning them into a fighting force. I would argue that, while the IMP system could be fun, it was actually damaging to the theme and consistency of JA2.
I think the actual problem that legitimately undermines some of the game’s fun, is that you’re getting a huge and completely random difficulty spike or drop based on no choices at all in the very beginning of the game. I think that a good solution (that has already been suggested in another thread somewhere) would be to have a wide choice over the ‘flavor’ of initial recruits, and a bit more connected backstory to exactly how your mercenary company was formed, and have that choice directly determine your difficulty. There could also be a choice of purely random recruits with the generic backstory.
Just for a couple examples, which I haven’t put much thought into:
“Holy Warriors” (Mid Difficulty) Monks and Flagellants – mid crowns – A group of clergy and zealots that have decided prayer is no longer sufficient to protect the weak
“Plowshares into Swords” (Mid Difficulty) Farmhands, Daytalers, Mill workers, Fishermen, Militia, Hunters – Low crowns – Upjumped peasants that have fled their lord’s land for a chance at glory and fortune
“Professionals” (Low Difficulty) Veteran soldiers, Deserters, Militia, Swordmasters – Mid crowns – Soldiers that have abandoned or mustered out of their units for a bigger payday
“The Guild” (Low Difficulty) Masons, Bowyers, Apprentices, Historians – High Crowns – Former craftsmen and tradesmen that first banded together to protect culture and the industry in the region from the devastation that surrounds them. Found the work more profitable than their former trades.
“From the Gutters” (High Difficulty) Beggars, Killers on the Run, Cultists, Thieves, Poachers – Low Crowns – The low and disenfranchised, turned to mercenary work out of desperation
“Second Sons” (Very Low Difficulty) Bastards, Disowned Nobles, Ambitious Nobles, Hedge Knights – High Crowns – Minor or former Nobility, striking out to make their fortune in the real world
Anyway, just my two cents on the issue. I trust the developer’s instincts so far, so I’m sure they’ll make wise decisions moving forward.