I’m in agreement with the pro-customisation guys.
I don’t think it’s going to have a too much of an impact on the early game, where equipment is key and you’ll still have your heads lopped off if the RNG decides to throw a party of fully grown Orcs at you in the first mission after the ‘tutorial’ (as I’ve experienced in two out of my three games so far!)
I did find it odd when I saw that my ‘shield-brothers’ were a Miller, a fisherman and a bumbling idiot all whom didn’t know the pointy end of a sword or spear. Personally, I think that the founding members should at least be reasonably competent at fighting going by the introduction history. I guess the simplest way to deal with that is to change to the introduction a tad to remove mention of them being previous shield-brothers, particularly if we’re planning to throw in a weak street beggar and a chubby mason.
I also agree with the idea of having the PC be in the background when stuff like blacksmiths are made available. I wouldn’t mind seeing perks and stuff for the PC either, maybe things that can be selected after total completions of missions that can add flavour to the mercenary band, either in the way its run or the way it fights. Penalties or bonuses to recruitment, types of contracts (like a specialisation) or even bonuses to methods of fighting (shieldwall turtles, or fast mobile scouters) but that’s just a bare idea.