Just finished my first game, all the way through, on a public server!
It started out 2v2 and ended up about 6+v6+. As has been reported, after about 6 players total performance started to drop fairly rapidly for all players.
Even though I didn't comm much on NS1, I figured I'd give it a shot. Overall the game was quite laggy (intermittent screen updates and random pausing), and this made some UI interactions very difficult. Here are my thoughts (apologies if some of these are duplicated in other threads)
1) Changing sentry gun facing is very broken. Sometimes it worked, most of the time they faced 90* to the left and never changed, and they were incredibly easy to flank and eat by the Kharra. It seems the way to change facing was T and then right clicking (this caused a particle effect), but most of the time I tried that, nothing happened. Sometimes the facings changed later to what appeared to be my last facing command when enemies appeared, but this wasn't usually noticeable. I tried to cover rooms with 4-5 sentries, but usually the kharra could find a blind spot and eat them all with no trouble at all. I wondered why other servers I joined had sentry farms.. now I know. They're mostly useless, but you hope that with a half dozen sentries pointing the same direction, kharra will run in front of at least one. It was very frustrating being in a CC surrounded by a half dozen sentries, frantically trying to reface them, and have no option besides hopping out of the chair and blasting the lone enemy (with a very low chance of success).
2) When a MAC building a command chair was killed, the comm chair could then spawn its own MACs, and I was thus able to finish building. bug or feature?
3) It was impossible for me to determine marine health without selecting them first. Since I could only deploy medpacks from a selected CC, this required me to select a rapidly moving and warping marine while dealing with my own low framerate, determine if they were low on health, then select my hotkeyed CC (hoping that through the lag it would eventually select from my single tap, since a double tap would warp me to the CC's location), then hit H or select the button, then click on the ground. I resorted to just spamming health packs near any marine with any chance of being attacked, in the hope that they would blindly stumble over one, and skipped selecting them at all.
4) The green message popups on the lower right often obscured the button grid (I was running at minimum settings in an 800x600 window). This forced me to do a lot of guessing and waiting.
5) It was very hard to determine where marines were on the minimap, since their green circles blended into everything else. 'A soldier has died' was usually a good indication of where players were fighting.
6) Build bots were finicky to manage due to the network problems, but eventually I figured out I should just pump out 2 or 3 from the nearest CC every time I wanted to build something, drop a few buildings, and babysit. Sometimes, when the build bots were wiped out, a few marines finished the in progress buildings, which was a nice touch.
7) I had no reliable way to spend my eventual stockpile of money/resources. By the end of the game I must have had 5-600 from holding 2-5 res nodes. Buildings were difficult to build, and research was a one-off expense. Medpacks and MACs were basically free so I created as many as possible, as often as possible. With a full tech tree and all buildings possible, I think I would still amass the stockpile before an eventual defeat or victory.
8) I ultimately had difficulty marshalling my team (I had little indication of how many marines were even playing actively, let alone what they were doing, as I was often busy fighting fires with macs or spamming medkits), and little way to inspire or control them, so I resorted to just building more CC's and armories, spamming health packs, using observatory ping occasionally, and hoping we could survive long enough for the players with the flamers to kill the enemy hives.
9) Because of the network instability, the flamer was basically the end-all, be-all weapon for marines. Figuring this out pretty quickly in a previous game made me realize the need to expand and upgrade the CC's, and secure my base. It wasn't immediately apparent how to get through the tech tree to flamers, so that took a lot of trial and error to figure out. (You need an advanced armory... advanced armory requires command _station_. Command station is the upgrade on the command chair upgrading it to T2, which is greyed out until you have 2 CC's, but because the tooltip on the command station upgrade doesn't mention what it unlocks, I wasn't sure which parts of the tech tree I was missing out on.) Once my team had flamers, we were roughly on par if not better equipped than the kharra.
10) I figured out how to put my marines into hotgroups, but not squads.. so the spawn-with-squad upgrades confused me. Occasionally blobs of soldiers would be highlighted with a red circle, but I had no idea what this means. Sometimes a popup that would say "Red Squad" would pop up on the left side of the screen. This made me think that squads and hotgroups were not the same thing.
11) I actually enjoyed the power node system, as in the game I played the kharra were not diligent about knocking out all power nodes at the start of the game, and I was able to build bases and repair nodes slightly faster than the kharra took them down.
Overall, this was the first game that I was able to complete from start to finish (without crippling lag), and that I actually enjoyed. It seemed like the game bottlenecked in terms of player abilities and attrition rather than being influenced by economy, so once our force was upgraded to the maximum amount, we slowly slogged through the alien hives burning them as we went. There was a lot of back and forth fighting over expansion bases and power nodes, but I felt like there wasn't much for me to spend money on to help that process out, other than heavily suggest that my team buy flamers. This made me miss the ability of the comm to burn all his resources on team weapons to get a qualitative advantage (using both the carrot and the stick). I did most of my fighting with the interface rather than the kharra, but by the end of the game I was satisfied with our victory. Can't wait for the network issues to be worked out!
My main gameplay wishes for a future version:
1) Fixed sentry gun facing (if this is a reproducible bug), and possible arc increase (120 degrees?)
2) Medpack deployment that doesn't require a selected CC (eg, a hotkey that can be pressed with anything selected). Having to select the CC first was one of my biggest frustrations, even using a hotkey.
3) A way to see soldier status (health and/or position) easily, whether through big, visible health bars on screen, a list on the side, better minimap highlighting, etc
4) A way to select soldiers without finding them in the main view and clicking them (Eg, TAB/Shift-TAB -> cycles through all troops, etc). Because I want to select/view troops by context/location/status rather than by name, I don't think hotkeys fully solve this problem.