First of all, benching: This is good for the game, I guess. People have been clamoring for the ability to bench companions you don't like and now you can. I never had this problem myself, but I know people were threatening to quit over it, so there you go. The fact that they limit the number of crew you can bench based on level is a good compromise. We'll see how this one works out in game. I would have preferred to see my crew member mission solution implemented instead, but it would have required significantly more programming, so I understand!
It's great that they are giving Bonnie Anne a healing ability. Since she is mandatory for every class, it means that every single player in the game will now have access to a healing spell. She is now far and away the best companion in the game. Perpetual first mate . . . until they give something better to someone else.
They fixed Ratbeard's hat!! That's really the only update any of us need. :-p
Now, the buccaneer improvements:
The Turn the Tide ability seems like it will help in some of the situations I often found myself in: sole survivor, unable to hit anything. It also gives you some incentive to not worry about dodge as much as stacking armor, since you get a bonus if your health gets low.
Increased debuff duration for the mighty charge line makes them all a lot more attractive, so I'm all for that.
Heavy armor for heavy armor wearers is always appreciated.
Leviathan's call reducing damage from ranged attacks is another cool change.
Over all, I'm a bit underwhelmed by the changes. They are positive, but I'd still prefer to see some more aggro management. I guess that's not the direction they want to take the class.
Improved Power Management!?!
You can now prioritize your powers by putting them in order, similar to how you arrange your companions. Brilliant. This is exactly what I would have wanted for the last 30 levels or so of my Witchdoctor. For my Buccaneer, this doesn't make too much difference, but for Witchdoctor's especially, this is quite the boon!
Summoned minions will scale with caster power. Good. Glad to see this implemented.
Buffs will now work with stat modifiers instead of just base stats. That's a buff to everybody.
The loot tables have been updated in favor of diversity. That's good. We'll have to wait and see exactly what comes of this change, but any time they are adding more loot, I'm cool with it.
Flashing yellow arrows around special victory conditions is a great idea. This should keep players from making poor strategic choices.
All the quest changes seem like good ones. Making sure things show up properly and what not.
New rare ship battles with rare equipment sounds promising!
The monquistan ships did seem a little bit weak, so I'm glad to see they are raising their level.
Glad to see that ship armor will get additional stats. It did kinda seem like a waste to only have a health bonus.
New housing vendors is good I guess. I don't really get into decorating houses at this point. To many other things to get done!
All in all, positive changes and I look forward to hopping onto the test realm tonight and seeing for myself how much of a difference it will make. I'll most likely use my buck since she'll be the subject of the highest number of changes. Enjoy the test realm and here's hoping it goes live soon!