I guess it's time I gave my feedback also. I'll start with what I liked, and then move on to the problems I saw.
1. The new crafting. It's one of the better crafting implementations I've seem.
2. Gateways are great. Very convenient.
3. Lots of quests are good, to keep you busy. Without them, you really don't have anything to do in game.
4. Autopilot is fantastic. Can't imagine we had to fly through multiple solar systems manually.
5. Having abilities at the beginning is great. In prior tests, I saw those boxes, but don't have anything in them. Many of the abilities were very useful.
6. New mouse controls in global map.
Now, some of the issues. Though the features above are great, there are still room for improvements...
1. Even though crafting is great, I agree with sup's that we need a way to determine where to get the components we need. I felt like I was wasting a lot of time just killing pirates for random loot, hoping I get the right components. For instance, I wanted a medium laser. Throughout the whole test, I only got 1. We need a way to be more proactive in getting what we want, instead of depending on luck.
2. Gateways are very useful, so I think there should be lots of quests to find them. Especially early on. It helps progressing much faster.
3. Lots of quests are good. What's better is if those quests gave more than just IGC and Exp. In prior tests, I think the quests gave more rewards. Also, it would be nice if the quest gave pointers on how to fulfill it. E.g. some quests ask for components from miners and screechers. I just didn't know how to get them, so never accepted these. I went back to one of the news articles and found out about salvaging (using a salvaging module). Might have been useful if this was mentioned in the quest.
4. Concerning autopilot, I'm not sure if it's just me. Is auto-pilot engaged when I'm in the global map? It seems while I was looking at the global map, my fleet didn't move. I have to watch the fleet for it to move between systems. Also, it would be nice if there's an indication that autopilot reached it's destination. Sometimes, I see the fleet just sitting there. I don't know if I've arrived or it's just lag.
5. One suggestion I have for abilities is that for enable/disable of passive ability. Especially the 'reduce agro' ability. When I explore the galaxy, I have this ability "installed". But, when I see a pirate I need to kill (due to a quest), it was hell trying to catch it. I was right on top of the pirate fleet and the game wouldn't engage combat. We should be allowed to disable passive abilities.
6. Finally, I'm able to move the view port with a drag and drop instead of mousing to the edge of the screen (in global map). But I noticed this feature isn't available in combat. Why is that? Having to mouse to the edge of screen is annoying. I know some people like it, but there should be an option to use drag and drop, like in global map. And using the arrow keys isn't the same.
Here are some other issues and suggestions:
1. Lag. Yes, I think this needs to improve. Considering the type of game this is, lag is a major problem.
2. Combat controls. We really need a key-binding feature.
3. Combat UI. We need a UI configuration option. The combat status panel is taking a 3rd of my screen. When the pirate ship comes from the bottom, I can't even see it to attack it.
4. Shield changes. I'm on the fence on this one. Now that I know how to rotate the ship, it might be useful. We'll see on the next test.
5. Concerning the hidden locations; I've tried a few of them. But the loot doesn't seem worth the effort. I agree with sup's on this one.
If you want people to stop what they're doing and look for these loot, it has to be worth it.
6. Global map. It might just be my computer (I don't have the greatest graphics card). But the map sometimes wouldn't display the details. I see the system, but the name and the icons above it just disappears (moving the mouse makes it flicker). I have to exit to the main menu and re-enter to fix it ("Continue"). Also, does one of these icons represent a refueling station? Once the system is explored, all information about that system should be indicated on the global map.
7. I noticed that the Vargas rotates to one side when you ask it to attack a pirate. That's a nice feature. Is there a way to specify which side to favor? One side might have better weapons than the other. Having to turn to the wrong side and manually rotating it later seems like a waste of time. A minor issue, but still...
8. Path finding algorithm during combat. I noticed this problem still exist (anyone else seen it?). This is where when you select a few ships in your fleet and move it to a new location. For one of the ships, its destination is blocked by another ship. The path finding algorithm goes crazy trying to find a path to the destination, so the line that is drawn is just flickering all over the place. One acceptable solution is to relocate the destination to a spot that isn't blocked by any ship and is the closest to the selected destination that is the shortest distance from the originating location. For example, if my ship is at location A, and I want to be at location B, but it is blocked by another ship, then the new destination should be location C.
A --------------- - - - - - - - - > C
\-------------> (Blocking Ship) B
Sorry for the bad graphics.
9. Finally, "exploration". I'm not sure if exploring every solar system is necessary. I understand if it was for a quest and to find gateways. But for many systems, there are nothing there. Is it fun to spend at least 5 minutes running around this system? And this is 5 minutes per system. There are hundreds of them. We should only need to explore a system if it has a refueling station or a gateway.
That's it for now. If I think of anything else, I'll add an update.
Overall, I think the game is progressing really well. There are a lot of good new features. Keep up the good work.