I found kits a missed blessing. I liked the basic concept and the idea behind several (perhaps, even most) of the Fighter kits, but the implementation left me cold (with the exception of recommended proficiencies). I felt they suffered from the hodge podge nature of D&D and the lack of GURPS 3e and Hero System's advantages/disadvantages.Kits, however, left me somewhat cold. My eyes quickly learned to shift immediately toward the end of each listing, where it outlined what mechanical benefits you gained and what drawbacks you had to accept in exchange for them. I also quickly learned to glance at the proficiencies section (both which ones you had to take in order to use the kit, and which ones it gave you for free), but the rest of it was quite secondary to my mind, and not just in terms of skills…that’s a pun, y’all (since each kit has a “Secondary Skills” section, in case you used those instead of proficiencies; both were technically optional under the AD&D 2E rules, but the former were quickly forgotten by almost everyone, while the latter kept inching their way closer to being mandatory parts of the game).
When 3e came out with feats, I thought 2e Fighter kits could be better implemented under 3e. Unfortunatly, we got a deluge of PRCs, Jame's Drisoll's adaptations of the Complete Fighter's Handbook to 5e and his implementing kits through quickbuilds with recommended skill and tool proficiencies and recommened feats (some newly created for his document) worked much better for me than 2e kits.
I gave the associated charts a look and, while they were simpler and, to me, more user friendly than their 1e counterparts, I was very disappointed. They might have been my least favorite part of the bookI actually did make an effort to learn this book’s “punching, wrestling, and martial arts” maneuvers, absolutely none of which has stayed in my mind through to now. I can only assume I did this because my younger self saw “martial arts” and immediately dove in. As it stands, this was nothing like the wuxia-flavored fighters, ninjas, or monks that we’d see later (or, for that matter, in AD&D 1E). Even so, I eagerly lapped it up.
I remember being ok with the hit location rules, but I don't recall us using them (or, maybe, they came up once or twice). The tournament rules and jousing, however, were welcome for our group as we had moved out of the dungeon for much of our game. There were short dungeon crawls, but as much time was spent above ground and in villages, towns, and courts as was spent fighting both invading hordes (often undead) and a pissed of wizard's guild hunting the party.The same couldn’t be said for things like the hit location rules or the outline for tournaments. The former struck me as too cumbersome even then, and the latter just seemed boring. Why would my fighter be winning a jousting tournament instead of exploring ancient tombs and battling goblin hordes?