Bravo! The pace at which you all have been accomplishing these huge milestones is pretty astonishing. It looks great, especially for an early alpha version!
I'd like to volunteer some comments on the power graphic fxs and animations, since you guys are still developing them -
First of all, the fire explosion graphics look phenomenal. So satisfying. The entire street sweeper power set, actually, seems really ready and satisfying to play as.
The darkness ray graphic ends a bit abruptly, and could use a sort of trail off or fade away at the end of the beam. The plasma beam, as well. I know this is because it's early in development, but just saying so because it's an example of a graphic effect that has a subtle, but definite (and cumulative) effect on the player. The ends of all the powers should probably be looked at to make sure they're not ending abruptly. I'm sure you guys are doing that anyway.
Along the same vein, I'd really try to make character movement animations and power emissions/strikes to be "heavy", and a bit slower for some than they currently are. One thing that really contributed to the CoH magic was its absolutely stellar animations - every power felt like it had weight; even a radiation hero leaning forward to shoot a beam out of his eyes felt strong and deliberate. The weapon strikes were savage and clear. Even the radiation eye beam's leaning forward animation was not rushed - all those little movements were accounted for and seemed to be "showcased". A big issue Guild Wars 2 has, in my opinion, is rushed ability animations - the characters movements are light, and the abilities are less satisfying.
That leads me to another point - duration of abilities. Guild Wars 2 had less satisfying combat, imo, also because many of its abilities would affect enemies or the character for only a few seconds. Slow for 3 seconds? Not enough gratification. This goes for the graphics, too - Eclipse, for example, could last at least a two or three seconds longer, and would be more satisfying, I think, as a result. CoH, as we all know, had awesome, lasting visual effects for aoe debuff powers.
I'd also not be afraid to have lasting graphic effects on the character - the second Dark Magic power, the shroud, is an example of a graphic that could be extended a bit longer. It's just more fun and more satisfying, imo, to actually see this effect on a character more permanently. The same goes for self-buffs - have them change the look of the character, why not? And I'd put them on a longer cooldown to avoid the GW2 problem of having ample access to very short-term effects. I know all these details are being worked on, and it's not fair for me to critique them now - but I feel it's better now than later! No disrespect intended - I'm in awe of your guys' expertise and ability to accomplish so much.
I also have a question about the fire aoe volcanic eruption graphic - it's cool, but it's hard to understand and it takes up a lot of visual space - especially since it can be used fairly frequently atm. Are we thinking this fire power is actually causing a little eruption in the ship? Is the whole thing summoned? It doesn't matter really, but slight little inconsistencies like that are just slightly irksome. Those little things contribute more than their component parts, I think, to how the gameplay is perceived.
I'm not a huge fan of the falling flaming boulders in Rain of Fire, for a bit of a similar reason - it's just a bit harder to accept that this is actually going on in the ship. Straight pillars of fire, though, wouldn't be a problem at all, imo. And I'd make that one a longer cooldown, too.
So that's basically all I wanted to say in terms of a critique - and it's only because I personally appreciate the time spent making those animations and power graphics totally smooth, unrushed, and complete. This was one of the things I liked most about CoH, as I dont think anyone would disagree their animations and power graphics were basically all very satisfying. I think that feeling of satisfaction has a lot to do with completeness of the animation - and that has a lot to do with every part being deliberate - no part of the animation or power graphic being too quick. Animations that are a bit too quick gives some subtle discomfort because, all of a sudden, the character does not seem realistic anymore. Maybe THAT is why I found the characters in CoH so satisfying - because, due to their animations, they seemed realistic. And that was due in large part to the "heft", the "purpose" behind the animation of every movement. And that often translated to the characters moving a little more slowly.
That became rambly, apologies! But I only wish to help in however a way I can. I think the fidelity of power graphics and animations, although counted as important, can be often looked at less critically when judging an overall gameplay experience. But I think the subtleties in that department contribute much more to the player's experience than is normally considered. We are seeing them over and over again, after all
Overall, I'm just appreciative you guys are making this at all! And I continue to be super-crazy-impressed by the work you all present to us!