After a few hours of gameplay, these were my thoughts:
I like how I can put XP towards specific items to get to what I want to unlock, instead of "Oh you want this? get to level 49 and you can have it." It makes sense that if I play a ship I'd be unlocking items for that ship, and also working towards the next ship unlock. My biggest gripe however, is that the tech lines in T3, T4 and T5 ships (T1 and T2 hardly have any customization) make only a little sense to me, and even then in only a few cases.
Looking at the Vigo (T4 Jupiter Arms Destroyer), I have to unlock a Torpedo Salvo, a Nuke, and a set of Anti-Nuke Lasers before I get to the Nerves of Steel briefing, which has nothing to do with any of those. I think the tech lines should be grouped based on what they are. I.E, the torpedo's are all on the same line, and may interconnect with the tech line for missiles, and Rocket turrets might also connect to both. The Pulses would have their own tech line (maybe an offshoot of the perimeter module line?), and might link with the torpedoes/missiles with status effects. This would make the tech lines flow nicer and be easier to understand, while still offering connections between individual lines for other options. This way if I want to unlock say Missile Repeater, I would get it through unlocking other missile (or torpedo, if it links) tech instead of the Thrust Amp and a Ram that are its prerequisites now.
Initial gameplay has been changed a bit without the trader ships. Starting with a Tac, a Destroyer, and an Artillery Cruiser, but no Corvette or Dreadnought leaves the artilleries free to do whatever (assuming an all T1 battle). Tactical cruisers wouldn't be able to approach them effectively, and if one of the destroyers attempts to go for the artillery cruiser he will likely be left without a medic and it will take some DPS away from the main front. Artillery v. artillery can be difficult due to how narrow they are and the distance at which they engage, and why shoot at something you might miss when you can get guaranteed damage on another ship?
(To be fair, the above argument is nullified if you include T2 ships. There are T2 Dreads and Corvs, thus filling out the two missing ship roles)
Ship progression feels a little odd, but maybe it's because we don't know exact stats for each ship, all we have are the bars. If one wants to obtain the Koschei, they have to play through 4 artillery cruisers, which have a completely different playstyle to tac's. Granted, this may come from our tunnel vision and remembering the koschei to be the best healer, not even considering that the Harwich (J.A. T4, takes 3 Destroyers and a Tac) and the Aion (Oberon T4, takes 3 tacs) seem to have quite similar weapon effectiveness. It's hard to say if any of them are better since we have no raw numbers to compare them to each other. Just a couple of bars.
Battling and squads seem to have suffered a poor fate. No longer do we even have the option of 5v5 battles, and the squad sizes of 3 aren't even a factor of the new team size, which is 8. Why is that even a thing? Why would the squad sizes for small teams not be factors of the full team size? Why do we not even have the option for 5v5? I can understand allowing for larger battles, but 5v5 has the unique factor that if you double up on a particular class you wont have every ship class.
While I am unsure if a tiering system is the way to go for Dreadnought, I believe that if you wish to stay with it, you will have to find the fine line between taking dedication and flat out grinding to progress. As well, organizing the tech trees and tech lines differently will help the flow and logic of said parts of the game in my opinion. This update seems to be a step sideways, maybe a little forward in my opinion.
Hope this feedback was useful!