YES, I know, this will shock many of you, but I think skill lines should be flat removed. Don't get me wrong, not the skill themselves, but the fact that you have to level one skill up to go to the other.
On the peaceful tab, every skill should be independant. But, to prevent people from mastering too much, skill cap should be lowered to like 400, even 300. Imposed skill lines are stupid, I think. Why ? Because I don't want to be a chicken farmer to process leather, for example, or I don't want to be a miner to be a blacksmith.. skill lines will create themselves amongst communities, mainly depending on the population in one group of players who do trade : little communities would have to be jack of all trades, so they can provide their own wood to saw into planks, or they would have to provide their own flax to make their own basic cloth.. that's what will happen. Large communities who manage to run a city with a lot of specialised workshop will be rewarded by the fact that they should be amongst the only ones who can manage to make Q > 60 ~ items. Cities would be collections of people mastering their own little profession. That would bring a huge amount of trading, and cooperating. I see two drawbacks about the current system :
1 - People have to know how to more than decently make the basic materials they need for more advanced skill. That will make "lower" profession a lot less valuable, because, basically, you clients know how to do it too.
2 - Dumb lines. Chicken farmer to process leather ? People were making basic clothing out of leather before agriculture itself !
Now, you may think "Yea, but everyone is going to go for the high tier skills"
Well, if they wish, let them. But they will quickly see that it's not a good move. Why ? Because too little people would produce basic goods, the prices would rise, and there ; you make a lot less money for a profession you thought more "advanced".
Having this system would, as I said earlier, bring a lot more trade in the game.
Now, for the combat tab. It is a bit different. Yes, still remove all the skill lines.
I know, skill lines kind of make sense for some skills, like warhorse handling -> mounted combat. But since you will have to get up on a horse to practive mounted combat anyway.. And, again, "virtual" skilllines would still be there : a master mounted fighter with very low horse skill would be.. useless. But ALL the other lines should be removed, for a lot of reasons :
- It makes no sense you have to know how to use a particular kind of weapon to use a type of armor
- It makes no sense you have to know how to use a particular kind of weapon to use another
- It makes no sense you have to know how to use a particular king of weapon / armor for skills like warcry, battle preps..
- Being able to train in all kinds of weapons would facilitate new players arrival in a developed world.
- Being able to train in all kinds of weapons would make early game warfare more about axes and spears, and shields, and make the kind of
"technology" advancing make a lot more sense, and be a thing.
Oh, yea, NO, it would not allow to create "OP" combos. Why ? Because if there are OP combos in a realistic game, it is either a flaw of the game balancing (not the skill system), or it is a very costly equipment with a very hard and long training required. For example : archers in plate armor : they are already possible btw, but plate should give a malus to using bows and crossbows.. or even ranged weapons. helmets could hide some of your view, and gauntlets would make you take a lot more time to load in an arrow and shoot it.
As for armor skill themselves.. personally, I think they should be removed. Why ? Because.. you do know when you put an armor on a stomp, it gives it the same protection as it would give to you, right ? Armor skills should be removed and replaced by a unique skill : armor handling. it wouldn't have to be skilled up to unlock tiers of armors or anything, but having a high skill in it would take less stamina to move with it (a LITTLE less, it would still be more about strengh), but mainly would make you faster to get back on your feet after a fall if you're wearing heavy armor, it would diminish the animations / action speed malus.. that skill would be trained by doing combat, or even everyday action, wearing a more or less heavy armor.
To prevent people from too easily making tier 3 armies, higher than tier 1 armors should take a LONG time to make, and cost more, so when you see someone in tier 3 armor, you know he's not a nobody.
If you have any questions or want more details, don't hesistate to ask !