I only have 24 hours played, I used to play back in the day, but I really couldn't get my friends to start playing so I ended up quitting.
Now - My friends that do not like the game, are the same type of people downvoting Heavy Metal Machines on Steam. They simply do not like (or understand) the controls. Anyone who thinks they can play this game with WASD, is wrong, because you have to "aim" your abilities when they shoot from the front of your cars. Since some people simply do not like the mouse movement, you simply lose those players. Nothing you can do about that, the game is honestly really good.
I never really played the characters that you had available in this combat test, I mainly played Photon (basically every match) so I had to learn a new character. Which is fine. I played support all of my Combat Test Matches. I also read the feedback given by other people on the forum, and I agree with some, and disagree with others.
Some people are REALLY passionate about this game, they love it, and it makes them say things like "The new Respawn Mechanic feels like the game just kills you, and there is no way to dodge it." -- This is just false, since it takes quite a long time to Respawn after you place your position, and everyone can see the position and the timer, it's VERY easy to dodge every single time.
Now to my feedback on the combat test.
Starting Boost - This needs to come back. Every racing game has the little mini-game at the start to get your initial boost. It just feels good to get that maximum boost at the start every time.
Removal of Nitro - I didn't really feel that I missed the Nitro much, and I kind of like that everyone has their own "movement" ability.
Ball Pickup - When I first played, I just ran smack into the ball. I also often also spammed space-bar too much and picked it up and instantly dropped it. This is just me being a noob and not knowing the game mechanics, but it still felt a bit "off" to me. I believe when I used to play, you just ran over the ball to pick it up, that felt better in my opinion.
Car Physics - This time it felt like other characters running into you and blocking you was a legitimate strategy, I often blocked people (even as a support) so my team could get the few shots in they needed to secure a kill. I also yelled at my monitor a few times when teammates blocked me by accident, but that's all part of the fun.
Overtime - I agree with an idea that was presented in another thread. The moving of the goal should only start if the ball(bomb) is on one side of the map for an extended period of time. If you are unable to get it out of their "base" then you eventually should lose the round.
No Upgrade Shop - I definitely missed the upgrade shop, having a unique build and being able to make slight changes to your playstyle to help you in a round was a good feeling. Even if it had balance issues.
Respawning - The new respawn mechanic is good, but maybe it should be a "Buyable" once you add in the upgrade shop. Instead of waiting to respawn at the start of the game, you can spend a bit of money and be "launched" into the match, this would make it so you could kind of "quickly" get back into the battle at a cost.
I really like Heavy Metal Machines, it is a unique and great game, and this combat test shows you not only have great programming skills but you are great developers. You were able to think of many new ideas all at once that completely changed the game. And after this combat test, some of these features might make it back into the original game, making it even better.
I do not think the entire game should change to be more like the combat test, I would say that the "combat" felt better before (because battles seemed to last longer and it felt more skill based and less spammy), but I do like the addition of the fast-respawn (but maybe not having it be free), the car physics (I liked just about everything about the new car physics and friendly collision), and the overtime (but maybe make it so the goal only moves if it is stuck on one side of the map for an extended period of time).