Let me first say hello to the community as this is my first forum post. Secondly let me say this game looks awesome and I am super excited about it. I want this game to be awesome, and I feel that I can give some valuable insight in regards to making sure this doesn't become a MP flop. No, I don't want to talk about combat systems, weapons balancing or game modes...yeah that stuff is all important, but I am sure that you guys at TB will work that all out. That stuff isn't what is going to make this game have a growing and thriving MP community who is engaged and invested its continued success and longevity. The things I want to talk about are servers, clan support and level editing. Wait....what?
I find that so many games these days just throw a player into a random server. Sure...maybe they let you join these random servers with a group of friends, but they give you no choice into what server you join. Back in the day our intelligence wasn't insulted and we had to search a list and choose a server which we wanted to play on. We looked at the server name, game mode, player count and ping and went from there. If we found a server we liked, we would go back again and again...we would end up meeting players who played there and perhaps got to know the regulars and clan members who's server it was. This fostered two things... 1) a sense of community an rapport with other players and 2)a consistent and reliable level of play. As a clan leader for 6 years in Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, I relied on the "regs" to fill the servers and for potential recruitment candidates. Players would play on our servers for months before we would even consider recruiting them. This is the kind of dedicated server play which I feel games are missing these days. I really hope clans will be able to host their own servers and players will get to search for an join these servers.
This leads me nicely into my next topic clan support. It would be nice to have a built in clan support for the game. I feel that most games lack great clan support and I think this something which would help make this game stand out from the crowd. What would this good clan support consist of? Well for starters if you run a server than you should be eligible to create a clan. The server owner (clan leader) names the clan (for example: Kingdom of Heaven), creates the clan tag ([KoH]) and defines what custom ranks the clan will have (for example: Grand Master, Lord, Captain, Lieutenant, Knight, Sergeant, Man-at-Arms, Footman, Squire.) The clan leader should be able to define the privileges of these ranks such as who can extend clan invites, admin the server etc. Back in the day we did this by giving the server console password to select people but I don't see a reason why this shouldn't be built into the game. For example I could define that captains and up can admin the server but only the GM and Lords could throw out clan invites.
It would be nice if the clan could define a custom banner or sigil which would be on their castles and tabards not only on their own server, but also when those clan members joined other servers.
Level Editor, Modding & Skinning
The reason that games like MOH:AA lasted as long as they did is that the community got involved making mods and new custom levels. I don't think you should underestimate the coolness of making your own levels...CASTLES! I mean I personally would probably end up making a series of maps based on real historical castles.
Another aspect of MOH:AA which gave players a long term reason to play the game was custom modding. In MOH:AA admins could open up the game files and change the damage values of weapons which lead to things like realism mods, rifles only mods, and a whole slew of entertaining mods that kept the game fresh over many many years.
I think the empowering the community to produce/manage content will pay off in the long run.
Now that I talked about these three things lets tie them all together in context. If a player could search for a server to play, (hoping to join a clan) and can rely on a server which is well admin'd by a clan who run custom content (which should be able to be DL'd through the game), if players could feel engaged with other players by becoming regulars on these servers and developing a social connection with these players, then you would have what game that would not only be awesome because of its great weapons, mechanics and game modes, but because it has the social infrastructure foundation to provide a long lasting and rewarding game play experience.
I know these things probably aren't very high on your priorities, but before you even worry about things like adding more siege weapons and the cool flash things that draw players to the game, lets worry about creating a game which will last long enough to implement these things later by creating a solid MP foundation that fosters community, clans and long term player growth.
Keep up the great work.