From: United States
And the fact that the record files took up so much HDD space put me off from using it as well.
This is the key point. Translation: the feature isn't complete, and requires more development. More development means more man-hours means more money. And commercial customers didn't much use it, while professional customers quite liked/needed it.
There's also a slew of reasons not to leave in the implementation as-is; ongoing changes to the code elsewhere would quickly "break" the feature, since it's not being actively maintained/updated for the commercial branch, it's bad form to leave a half-complete and officially abandoned feature in your program, etc. As Dimitris mentioned on that other forum that was linked, "several features were lined up for this fate," i.e. not enough developmentbux to keep truckin' on all features, so they had to pick one for "pro-only," i.e. where compensation would at least match the effort invested. Naturally they picked a feature that only the pros seem to want, which is definitely the right call.
What I'm driving at is, the devteam's not stealing away already-finished features to incentivize the pro version - they're moving a half-finished feature to the branch it should've been in from the start, basically. From everything I've seen it's consistent with Warfare Sims behavior as a company, too. They are in it to make a living, (as they must,) but I don't know if it's fair to say they're in it for the money. If you're in it for the money you go make Battlefield 7 - Revengence, not SON OF HARPOON - THE WARSIMS STRIKE BACK. Wargaming sims, well, uh... there's just not that much disposable income to chase, there. More than a few milsim games started life as a government targeted program that was later repackaged as a commercial game; CMANO is rather rare for making the leap in the opposite direction, and for good reason - only the government or major defense contractors reliably shell out for this kind of thing. This devteam really has a personal investment in making a good sim. On three separate occasions I found bugs that I suspected might be quirks related to abstractions - where rigorous simulation of this or that was papered over a bit. These are perfectly acceptable; tabletop wargames use them freely to keep the workload down, and yet they still accurately simulate real-world results enough that some pen-and-paper wargames are still used by the military for quick think-tanking. Computer game devs utilize them when it will similarly not impact actual results, and the man-hours to code "proper" simulation of it are unjustified by the meager enhancements they might bring.
All three times, the devs took one look at it, said "oh dear, that should be fully-functioning simulation, it's a bug, lemme get on that." They don't really embrace "abstractions." (I still can't believe someone took the time to code in the THAAD missile's Energy Management Steering Maneuver.) The most abstract-y thing is ground vehicles, which mainly exist as targets because they're the furthest away from the program's focus - and even that seems to be slated for a future re-work. Someone was asking about counter-battery radar a few days ago and the answer was "that's not modeled yet, but if you need it now there's always bespoke development." That sums up their approach to development; won't takes a distant backseat to can't, and their pro services are almost by definition as much service as packaged product. That's the nature of that kind of thing; when a big company (like BAE) wants to use the software as an analysis tool, they're going to have a laundry list of specific features needed to test their specific concepts, and they'll also have a slew of classified/proprietary data to be used in refining the model. That latter point is a problem unto itself; things like comms jamming are currently absent because all the data needed to simulate it is classified as all hell. With data in hand from a "pro" customer that's no problem, but implementing it in the commercial branch isn't easy if you care about accuracy (and they do.) Then, and only then, do the devs turn to acceptable abstractions. The implementation of the "generational" system for adjusting effectiveness of jammers versus radars based on comparative tech age is a perfect example; it's the kind of thing most wargames use all over the place, but the devs only used because 90% of the details needed to properly simulate it are simply classified and unavailable. So features designed for the "pro" branch are only unavailable to us because someone has to make a design decision about how best to abstract it so it's simple, robust, yet produces broadly accurate results, and that kind of thing is very hard. Hell, Mr. Bridge even says as much at the end of this interview, relating to the comms thing. Or just look at the effort spent on runway repair - they could've slapped together a simple equation centered on "average runway repair time as offered in repair kit brochures," weighed it by the damage amount, added a penalty if the munition was specifically anti-runway and then randomized it a bit. Would've taken ten minutes. And as an abstraction, it would've been fine. But instead they told us "this is rather complicated, we're working on it" and went digging for a while. The final result probably took the same amount of time to code, but it was the background research and design decisions that ensured the results were accurate.
So tl;dr, I really, really wouldn't sweat things like this, because the evidence overwhelmingly points to the dev team being on our side. They are wargame nerds - they are us, and they care about this thing they're putting their names on, and it really does show. The "pro" version is going to make these guys bank, and that bank will keep the commercial branch in development bux (again, as Mr. Bridge points out in that interview.) The only thing holding them back seems to be the lack of a twenty-fifth hour in the day and cash to pay for it.
So yeah, don't you worry. I once had my (public) doubts about them - and apologized to Sunburn personally when the next update fixed literally everything I'd bitched about and then some. And I never played it before WRA and Lua were a thing. So if anyone has doubts, just sit tight - they're not gonna outlive the next big update.
I'm curious, you state that you had your doubts once before, so I assume you are like the rest of us and not a developer or something related to that, how do you know all this stuff?