Okay, my curiosity finally got the better of me and I tried out the beta last night. Played a few space maps, tried to play Utapau and it crashed to the desktop upon connect (twice) so I gave up. Here were my random impressions (scribbled these down last night so ignore any typos or bad grammar):
337 players, wow more than SWBF1!
There's a loading progress bar, yes! Tool tips between maps! One Flag CTF on the space maps!
Seperate control setups for turrets and Jedi!
HUD sucks. Chat sucks.. somehow hard to type, font too small, appears at top of screen where it cant be seen well (especially on space maps).
They made the weapons HUD larger and put it at the bottom of the screen.. okay that's good, but they nixed the mini map radar and put the chat text UP TOP (so you have to look away from what you're doing to see it, and it's too small anyway. Very annoying. Take a page from Jedi Academy here I say. Everything's right where you need it, easy to see, you don't have to be scanning your eyes all over the entire screen to keep track of stuff.
Rolling is now a seperate function. Good idea I guess, if you ever want to just leap to the side or roll forwards (no back roll apparently). Can't fire while jumping in any case.
Jedi have a MANUAL BLOCK (I haven't been a Jedi yet, but there's a block button). So apparently you're not blocking constantly like the Heroes in SWBF1. Force power is a button. There's a cycle force power thing, so you can have more than one power per character. There's also force jump (independent of regular jump?).
Fighter control still sucks. You continuously move forward until you hold "back."
Dog fighting is next to impossible. The people who die are the ones who fly straight for a long period of time. Haven't mastered the art of "locking on" yet.
No more cockpit view for starfighters? Maybe I just forgot to bind the key... I hope that's all it was.
Everything is still very arcadey, but...
Siege Destroyer is far superior in terms of fighter control (even though doing those little rolls looks cool, not sure how much it really helps avoid enemies). Targets are so tiny, move so fast and are usually so far away, that flying has a high learning curve. You've got two types of ships... slow, sluggish and big, and tiny and fast. I guess this was to encourage convoy type tactics, but I don't see anyone coordinating them yet. Once people learn how to fly... but seriously the fighters just don't have a good feel to them. SWBF1 they were just for hovering and firing at the ground, then weaving off and doing it again. Dumping them into space just exposes their flaws in design, unfortunately. I'm sure you could get used to them eventually, but for now I just wish they'd gone with a better system, like JA's.
Lots of lag. Everyone's "connection interrupted" icons were flashing like crazy so they would just turn them off.
Everyone uses Friendly Fire, which of course sucks. It's so pointless a feature in online play with humans.
No mini map on space maps! To see the map you have to click the button to display the large map which obscures your view of things.
Still no way to type once the map ends to say "gg" or whatever. No chatting again until the next map begins.
Graphics look a little nicer (rather plastic and cartoony feeling though). Space maps are nice, lots of room to fly, but the poor fighter control reduces their fun. It's mostly chaos now, have little idea what's going on, no teamwork.
You can take off and fly around inside your hangar, but you can't bail out once you've left the ground and you can't fire until you're out of the hangar. Interesting. I guess it's stop somebody from flying in, then just hovering inside blowing everyone up at their spawn points. Glad they caught that one!
Crashes when I try to play a ground battle map on connect...
No first person view for turrets?
I felt like I was playing SWBF1 again but with more chaos. The game felt a bit choppier and slower, but that could be because of Multiplayer lag (I didn't even check to see if there was an FPS cap on MP or not, anybody check that) and having accidentally cranked the settings up to 1280x1024 (I normally run SWBF1 at full settings on 1024x768).
Since it's a beta, I should hope most of the game stopping bugs would be corrected upon release (this is where you testers come in, pound that sucker hard!). A lot of 'sploits I tried had thankfully been fixed!
I wasn't able to bomb the inside of hangars, or eject into space for example. I could TK with impunity but that's because nobody knows how to vote and team damage is always on because hosts think it's "more realistic." I got told to "stop TKing" but that was it.
I really wonder about the chat though. I normally type just fine, but in SWBF1 and 2 I type like a little kid. The letters are so messed up sometimes it looks like I'm dyslexic or have fat fingers or something. Maybe it's a combination of the lag/framerate and the fact that I can't see what I'm typing? :P