Well, Live Update 16 is in the works and due to hit live shortly. You've probably read the notes for Test Update #16A
and Test Update #16B but I'll comment on them anyway. There's a lot going on in this update so I'm going to break this down into four posts (including this one).
Probably the biggest headline is that the SOGA models have finally arrived. I think I've discussed the SOGA models quite enough already. There's plenty of pictures and comments on the official forums if you're interested. There did appear to be some bugs but that's why they are on Test and not Live.
To summarize the SOGA issue:
Good: Options are good and some of the new models are very nice.
Bad: People may not see you as you see yourself, which is kind of weird.
Good: You will be able to recustomize your current character for SOGA.
Bad: You can't do so yet.
It's up to you whether you think the good outweigh the bad. I do. I also hope SOE continues to work hard on the non-SOGA models and I am fairly confident that they will.
One example of that can be seen already. Lotus informs us here that the much sought after Iksar scale patterns are due to arrive shortly. And sure enough, the 16B update notes inform us that there will be two additional patterns for each gender. However, like the SOGA models, they can not yet be customized by existing characters.
There are changes which seem minor but are nice improvements. For example, the ability to loot corpses from farther away and the ability to see distances on the revive window sound nice.
There is a note that, "UI windows have received a facelift: They are now more streamlined." I hope this is a marked improvement because right now the UI is a mess. I try to play with the default UI so I can play the game as SOE intends it to be played and comment fairly, but lately I've been very jealous of the gorgeous UI's I see people using when I look at screenshots. SOE really needs to invest some time into this and not rely on third-party sources to do their work for them.
A change which is buried at the bottom of the #16B notes may seem minor but I think it's a great idea. I'm referring to the introduction of chat channels based on level range. I think that's a great way to build a sense of community. I know some of the players who have been around a while may be annoyed to find themselves in a new channel but you can leave it, of course. I think it will go a long way towards helping new players figure out what's going on and perhaps make finding a group easier at various levels.
I am happy to see Arena access will be available from Qeynos and Freeport, but I will have more to say about the (deserted) Arena issue at a later date.
You can also check out Quylein's Live Update 16 commentary here. I'll be back with round two tomorrow.