I haven’t played Pillars of Eternity yet (waiting for the expansions ;) ) but from what I know the game is not comparable to Battle Brothers. Part of this is because it has real time with pause and lacks a grid system like Battle Brothers, meaning that you have much more mobility and speed. As a result of this, factors that limit this mobility stand out more, since they contrast with the expectations that the previous freedom created. Battle Brothers does not have this problem, since it is clearly turn-based and there is a distinct divide between the strategic map and the tactical map. Another important difference is that Pillars of Eternity is heroic fantasy with long term party members. This means that you are not supposed to let your party members die, so you’ll never be inclined to sacrifice troops for tactical purposes. A party member getting ganked is therefore a big deal. This is not the case in Battle Brothers, where you can send a mercenary to his intended death in order to gain a tactical advantage (like tying down the enemy flank on his own, so that you can roll up the other flank more easily).
Furthermore, even without perks you have plenty of ways of disengaging in the early game. In fact, the most used item in the game comes specifically with two disengagement abilities. That being shield bash and shieldwall, which offer different odds and different ways of disengaging. You can also stun, pull or just kill, to name a few others. It has never been unreasonably difficult at any point in the game to disengage. There is therefore no real need to make it even easier and doing so would mean sacrificing more than just memorable moments. You also remove tactical depth, like I have outlined above, and diminish the flavour of the game in return for something that you can already do.
I also think people are overstating the lack of realism in multiple retaliations. A quick slash or stab when someone tries to get away is almost a reflex and barely takes effort. It’s a reasonable abstraction of how fights go, seeing as it is something that people instinctively do. An attack like that is also much easier to do than to attack a readied opponent and it’s really effective at keeping someone from getting away, so you could even argue for buffing them up. However, that would make death almost a certainty when retreating, even with a single disengagement attack, so I’d rather not see that. On the other hand, it seems strange to me to at first accept that everyone’s waiting their turn as people move around and attack, but think it is unrealistic when several units get slashed as they try to flee – because now the mental image shifts to them fleeing at the same time, rather than actions happening in sequence.
Granted, I would like to see the AI make better use of the different perks and abilities in order to reposition themselves. They already do to some degree, but I think this is an area where improvement can still be made.
As for the bandit, an outmatched enemy picking a fight with your bros isn’t related to the zone of control system and actually has to do with how the enemy cannot currently flee the battle. As a result of that, the choice is to either have him continuously run a way until you catch him (assuming he has no ranged weapons), or have him engage and finish the fight already.
Guidon – the randomness really adds a lot to the replayability. If I wanted to know the outcome of a match beforehand, I’d go back to memorising chess moves. :P
Sal – situations like that are why I like the disengagement system. There’s also the tense choice you have there of hoping the Orc misses and waiting for help, trying to hit the Orc and killing him, or gambling on the disengaging and the Orc missing. None of the factors at play are a certainty, which makes your choice there much more meaningful as there isn’t always an ideal solution.