I've been taking notes all through my playing of the Backer Beta and only now have I finally gotten around to sharing them. A lot of the stuff I wrote down were bugs, most of which have thankfully since been fixed, but here are some other thoughts I've had along the way.
First of all, this game is gorgeous, from the scenery to the sprite details to the UI. Well done, artists.
I absolutely love what has been done with scripted interactions in Deadfire. It's so much easier to go through that stuff now that I don't have to have everyone's stats memorized and companions can assist on checks. Plus, the scripted interactions now have even more of that great storybook feel to them. I really enjoy the watercolour art style and seeing everyone's portraits in conversations in that style also enhances the new aesthetic for this game.
Teāna the drummer is wonderful. The Watcher's interaction with her is so small, but so touching.
I was really pleased at the new spell animations, especially those for the cipher, which never felt all that dazzling or special in PoE1, but now they definitely stand out more and have more visual punch to them.
I noticed in version 4 that the voice sets have been updated and some of them have been renamed. I have no objection to this, especially since it keeps things a little fresh for me, but I am curious as to why this was done.
The ship battle system is quite fun, although it can feel a bit "okay, get on with it" after a while of circling each other and waiting for cannons to reload. I am happy that we get to do it as a scripted interaction instead of a real-time animated thing, because that would've shot my anxiety through the roof.
I like the ship management screen. I think it's very well organized and pretty. Nice job.
Some things that I wasn't quite so pleased about:
Friendly fire on Story Mode. Can we maybe not do that? Having Story Mode is about being able to not stress about combat so much and focus on relaxing and enjoying the narrative. Having to worry about impaling my companions makes that a lot harder.
I was really excited at the prospect of giving my Watcher a fancy hat instead of a hood in Deadfire, but the moment I achieved this goal, my elation was tarnished by the fact that the hat gave my Watcher a shaved head. I seem to recall the devs saying that that issue was going to be fixed in Deadfire (I could be wrong; please don't throw rocks).
I was hoping that we wouldn't have to choose to multiclass right away if we weren't sure if we wanted to. I was hoping it would be a little more like D&D where you can pick up another class at any point. This isn't a big deal, I'm just awful at committing to major character change choices and since I very often pick stats and things with a narrative mindset, being forced to decide whether I want to multiclass right away is a bit jarring.
I wish we could pick eye colour separate from face.
I could be wrong, but I think the footstep foley got louder in version 4 and I feel like it's bit too loud and doesn't fit with the volume of the rest of the area ambience.
Anyway, these are my two cents, for what they're worth.