Drifters are epic now. Probably the single best implementation I have seen to the alien commander yet. I have something to do now as comm! Microing around drifters is insane fun and now the commander can actually work together and effect the combat real time with his team. The tweaks to jetpacks are good as well.
Now for the bad....
1. Energy cysts are a good idea to keep expansion slower, but now alien TRES is abundant as with previous imbalanced builds since you don't need to spend tres on them. Placing cysts is a lot more mindless now. This surplus of tres makes it so killing harvesters on marine side is very difficult and even if marines take one down the aliens have plenty of res to replace them (Wasn't like this in 207). On previous builds killing harvesters would seriously cripple the aliens if they didn't use teamwork and defend their RT's. Aliens have the mobility advantage afterall. The aliens are getting too strongly buffed again. I like energy for cysts since the khamm won't be able to spam them (Only about once every 5 seconds in early game). Instead the starting tres on aliens should be lowered to allow aggressive marine play to be viable.
2. Harvester health is a tad too high now making it extremely difficult for marines to cut off res from the aliens (Which is the only way to slow down the alien tech explosion). Even on 2 RT's the aliens can beat a marine team that has 5-6 RT's and weapons upgrades at level 2. I would say decrease the overall build time of the harvesters but also leave their health lower when not fully mature. This way aliens can still get res quickly but have a much greater responsibility to defend RT's. Like I said earlier, since cysts do not cost tres the aliens can redrop harvesters and even hives all day long due to removing cysts from the res sink. The TRES system is completely broken on aliens again. It was almost perfectly balanced in 207 then I guess people complained about losing more on alien. Alien required thought and teamwork in 207 and games were LONG and fun and back and forth. Now the entire game is decided over who wins the first engagement on either team (More or less).
3. Marines are teching up too slow now. By the time the inevitable alien tech explosion happens it is usually VERY rare to see a team equipped enough to actually take down fades and maintain a strong map presence. You need shotguns, phase tech, and weapons and armor 2 to effectively counter an alien tech explosion. Does this usually happen? No.
My team has played many scrims on this build and we played one where we killed 8 hives and over 15 harvesters. We had every possible tech available. The aliens couldn't put a dent in us but every time we killed an RT or a hive the aliens had a gigantic bank of res to keep dropping hives. It's impossible to kill 4 hives at once when you are trying to counter onos and the aliens have an infinite res pool. The aliens simply have way too much TRES again even when a marine team is playing extremely aggressively AND winning all of their engagements. This may sound like a whiny complaint but my team did everything right and had complete map dominance and killed hives and rt's constantly WHILE killing all of their lifeforms. We took down 2 fades at the same time and killed their first onos as well. When aliens suffer losing a 2nd hive and 4 RT's and 2 fades all by midgame the marines should be able to win.
All the aliens have to do is camp 2 RT's to win now.
4. Bombard. I just built a 20 arc train in mineshaft last night. 1 whip with bombard was able to kill half of them by the time they could even get a shot off. The whip was cloaked so I wasnt aware it was there at first (Clever alien? yes until i realized how OP bombard is). I didn't realize 1 whip could decimate 20 arcs in 5 seconds, but it happened. Try it out for yourself and let me know if the 300 TRES I spent on 20 arcs was balanced compared to the 20 tres the alien comm spent on 1 whip. Incredible that this was able to make it into the build how it is currently balanced. I have taken out entire marine bases with 3 mature whips with bombard. Spam cysts (Since they are free) and move 3 whips close enough to bomard. Everything in their base will be decimated in seconds. Seriously, try it out sometime and you will have a good laugh.
6. Catalyze looks really corny compared to the mist effect, and seems only useful for speeding up evolves / hive maturity now. It seems a bit redundant but I guess gives the alien commander more to micromanage.
Until this build I was getting extremely excited for the game as it seemed both teams required tons of skill and coordination to win. Now playing aliens has gone back to the COD leisure-fest where no teamwork or guarding of RT's is necessary. Alien's can completely dominate a marine team with only 1 tech researched (carapace), while the marines can have 5-6 different tech's researched. The imbalance is just sitting there screaming at everyone in the face. Hopefully a little more in depth playing and thought will get this balance set straight again.
Other than that I want to say the balance is great and coming along well. Performance is better now. I think the game is coming along amazingly well. Just a couple tweaks need to be made on the alien side to keep the game balanced for now.
I am getting more and more addicted to this game the more challenging and rewarding it is becoming.