Playing the game the way you want to (compared to AoC)
Well, in AoC you could really pick any class on any mode/map jump in and play that way. It just doesnt feel that way in this game.
First theres the classes. The Man at arms, my favorite from AoC, has been reduced to a dueling class that is only good with few players on maps that have alot of space.
Archers, with any weapons, are very underpowered.
Vanguard is overpowered.
Knight is just average. Honestly vanguard is better 95% of the time.
Then theres the weapons. But the differences between them are small. The difference between a MAA with a mace and a MAA with a sword is much smaller than the difference between AoC MAA and sergeant (not even counting the armor). This applies to all the others weapons as well. So in short the differences between weapon classes are smaller and the differences between weapons of the same class are miniscule (mostly a style choice).
So you have the choice to either pick one class and one weapon (vanguard with brandistock) and top the charts or another class with another weapon (archer with heavy crossbow) and dwindle in the bottom - assuming roughly equal skill. It is fundamentally a balance problem but it manifests as a feeling of linearity.