I didnt bother to start the campaign yet but tried out each faction on land and in space. I want to test all the new units. Unfortunately the Executor is not available in skirmish. However, this game rocks. It is so much more improved than I thought. Even the AI seems alot better. The relatively minor changes and additions create very different game play overall.
The repair platforms are great as is the ability to repair your station.
A quick thought on the changes and new stuff:
Interceptors replacing TIES = Interceptors are double the cost of TIEs but eat Xwings for breakfast.
Phantoms= Not much more than a gimmick since they have low firepower and cant attack while cloaked.
Victory SD= Price dropped dramatically and now available at tech 3 - great idea
Defenders= Utterly deadly
Thrawn=Costs more than Piett and is avail at a lower tech (?) but kicks butt.
Dark Troopers= Utterly awesome. Vulnerable to plex but they slaughter infantry, heroes and 2 phase 2's took out 2 MPTLs in about 4 seconds!
The Imps get a few anti-MPTL devices which is great and not unbalancing because the rebs get their own new good stuff...
BWings=Obviously not as good as defenders but still great. Unfortunately they dont get the ion special ability which means Ywings are not redundant.
MC30=As i expected this ship is NASTY. Fires a 6 or 12 torpedo salvo (probably 6 for each functioning torp launcher) destroying any hardpoint in one go. Its also very fast but is expensive. This will be the Executors nemesis.
Ass Frigate=Like the VSD, price and tech dropped....good move.
Rogue Squadron= Very good but not as good without Luke's lucky shot.
Yoda and Luke=These guys are freakin awesome. Yoda is nucking futs. I thought the Empire had the advantage on the ground with Dark Troopers until I used these guys. This pair combined with Garm wiped out the Empire without any support.
As for the Consortium; the first few posts stated they were unbalanced but in skirmish I dont think they are. Their units have the potential to inflict huge damage but the PG devs werent kidding when they said they were not tough; given their units and upgrades are slightly more expensive and I think they are pretty balanced. They dont take much damage and you only have to knock out a couple of hardpoints on their ships and they have lost most of their bite. However Zann and IG88 were both quite powerful because of their special abilities. IG88 corrupted the systems of about 4 squadrons of TIE bombers and an Acclamator whose torps were headed for my starbase and sent the torps spiralling out of control!. It was brilliant! The Vengeance frigates are great to get behind cap ships then open up while they struggle to maneuver to return fire.
On the ground various aspects of the consortium impressed me. The destroyers and tanks are good and the ewok handler is great if you can get him to work...to use him effectively he has to be in the front line and can be easily killed. The nightsisters and witch hero are great since the rancors take out ATATs in three hits but are themselves not invincible which I was worried about. With the MDU, MAL and destroyers only able to fire when stationary I found the consortium great for defence but I had trouble going forward...not a criticism of the ZC but more of my limited XP on how best to use them. Overall they are pretty good but they havent been thoroughly tested yet as far as balance. Looks okay though. I was suprised when Urai Fenn defeated Vader in melee combat though! And the bombardments were very apt for each faction but surprisingly expensive; effective without being "instant victory" type weapons though.