Edit: Forgot to mention that I did not use elite-status.
After reaching two of my current four milestones I decided to post some rather lengthy feedback. I will not address bugs and do not feel that I can provide good feedback regarding some parts of the update, as I am playing since alpha and have thus played the "endgame" already for several hundreds of hours. My personal goal for this test was to follow the way of a new non-paying player, thus I did not convert any free XP and did not use hero-ships or bought elite-status.
First milestone I set for myself was to reach T3, precisely the T3 Akula Vektor Dreadnought, the "Chernobog". I queued exclusively solo and was not buying a lot of modules on the T2 ships and primarily played the T2 Akula Vektor Dreadnought the "Nav", using other ships only to unlock their next version to progress through the techtrees.
It took me 64 battles with a match-time of 10h 46m, with a winrate of 1.37. This equals ten minutes per game, thus if we add five minutes per game for pre-match, post match, queue and loading times we get a play-time of 16h 6m. Someone playing every other day for two hours would thus be able to reach this in two to three weeks.
In my opinion the default choice of modules for the ships are fitting and the researchable ones well selected too. The recruit bracket seems to be a good starting point for new players to learn the game, but it severly lacks what I like about the game, several playstyles and specialised ships, it gets dull pretty fast as the options are very limited. That this is not the final Dreadnought experience should get emphasized as it may alienate new players, who might get a wrong impression of it. So for me as a long-time player it was not very enjoyable. I wanted to get out of it fast, but I had nothing to learn, so my opinion is not very valid, as its biased.
I decided to skip the recruit bracket, if possible, once we had the final progression wipe and use the Hero Ships and convert the Ship XP. So keep in mind that if this will still be possible, the part of the community that thinks like me will create a matchmaking problem on release.
My next milestone was to unlock the two T3 Dreadnoughts, gather some Officier Briefings (Slow and Steady, Feedback Loop, Module Amper) and get the prerequisites for the T4 Dreadnoughts, and then finally unlock a T4 Dreadnought. I started to play in squads, but most of my matches were still solo-queue. The two T3 Dreadnoughts were the ships I played almost exclusively, only using other ships to get the XP to unlock the ships that followed them. I bought modules only for my two Dreadnoughts and as I already know what they do and how they function, those that are fitting my playstyle.
I reached this milestone at 500 matches, thus it took me 500-64 = 436 matches to progress through my plan. I hit 72h 36m of match-time and thus 72h 36m - 10h 46m = 61h 56m of playing games was needed. My winrate, thanks to secondarys and squads, increased to 1.46.
My experience with T3 is that the game starts to be more what I was used to, it was a lot more fun for me personally, especially secondary guns made a huge impact as the 5.62s of reload on the mainguns for the medium Dreadnought is very annoying and the primary guns of the Dreadnoughts have les DPS than their secondarys. Having only the Corvettes and Artillery Cruisers with acccess to disruptor modules gives them a temporary support role for this tier which is an interesting thing.
The power gap between T3 and T2 is huge, ontop of the usual 20% stat increase per tier there are the basisc 101 Officer Briefings each ship has and then some extremely strong briefings like the "Module Amper" get introduced.
Some T3 ships although have issues, this is the spread of their guns, the Gravis and Dola are the ships that I played and noticed this. They are still viable but in a way more specialised role as their mainguns are very inaccurate at even "medium" distances like 2km. This turns the Repeater Gun secondarys of the Dreadnought into the primary guns for the Gravis, as they will hit targets consistently up to their maximal range of 3.4km and deal more damage even at close ranges when the Plasma Cannons of the Gravis start to hit. The Dola has similar problems without the possibility of secondarys that compensate for this, but stronger mainguns, so it can function pretty well even without secondarys, but has to get rather close.
Summed up the change of the guns for those ships and the tier-mixing made the game annoying, it got closer to the "old" situation, but I am still not happy.
Outside of those two milestones I noticed that the gap between T3 and T4 is pretty huge, as some very specialised ships get introduced that are not avaiable earlier. I would thus vote for a limited "reset" ability that lets a player refund a ship, xp and credit wise, if he realised that the ship is not what he thought it would be. As several people that were not familiar with them followed some side-branches of the techtree to ships they then did not like. Ontop of this ships like the Koschei and Vindicta change the balance of the game, so people have to get used to the new situation that there is a ship that will outheal their damage and do this longer than they would have thought, and that there is a Destroyer that can use rams or hit and run tactics a lot better than the earlier ships. While other people may realise that the Jutland is not very versatile and thus prevents them from scoring consistently. Players following the Oberon line of tacticals will probably get annoyed a lot by the fact, that starting with T4 their healing is not even half of what a Koschei can deliver. (800 hps vs 2000 hps, or 2.5 Aions = 1 Koschei).
A class-following tech- and tiertree could be used as an alternative, so you have to unlock the "medium" version first and then unlock the more specialised light and heavy subclasses for each tier again.
I am not sure if I like the T3 step, maybe I will skip it with release too.