As for specialites, I am fine with the idea that they can do more than just what their names imply, but I am still in the boat that if they have a specific theme name, than others should likewise exist, such as scout (not a Weapon Specialist who spends his or her XP differently) or Officer (which, IMHO is vastly different than a sergeant).
As I said earlier, I havent read all the rules yet (saving a good deal of it for my flight to Germany tonight) but skimmed it enough to get some early impressions.
To me a officer has the big interaction talents and knowledge/lore skills while a sergeant has actual battlefield skills and talents. One has Air of Authority, the other has Double Team and so forth.
I would like to see the following specialites. Grunt (standard guardsman), Officer and Scout.
I think Storm Trooper should be +5 BS not Toughness.
Commissar should have a willpower bonus as well.
There should be a second way to get an aptitude for Willpower other than Psker.
I would rather have the characters built around 3 tiers of characteristics (easy, average, hard) that they get to pick, 3 of each as they wish. Easy is 100/250/500/750, average is 250/500/750/1000, hard is 500/750/1000/1500 or something like that, with skills directly linked to that. So if you have STR as easy, STR skills are likewise easy. I find that would be similar to how it is now, but less involved.
Talents would take a little more work, I dont mind the tiers they currently have but they should also be associated with a characteristic.
The talents and skills listed by the specialty would all be 100 or 200 point purchases, no matter your aptitudes.
Wounds should be based on regiment/homeworld, not specialty, and Fate should also be based on regiment/homeworld.
Not sure how I feel about regiment characteristic modifiers of +3/-3 degrees, +5/-5 seems more impactful, but barely so I dont see why they made it +3/-3. I suppose because if you doubel up form different sources, before you know it you are at +10 STR and so forth, instead of +6.
So far my biggest dislike is the comrades rules. I am not against such rules or anything, but I find them to be a bit of a cop out. For example, the Commissar's Summary Execution ability allows him to kill a NPC (Comrade) when a PC is severely injured to let the PC continue and to ignore his injuries until the end of the encounter.
It makes no sense. "Ah hell, Jennings stepped on a land mine!" Says the Commissar turing to CPL NPC Bouregard as he draws his bolt pistol. BANG! "Get up Jennings!" So as a Commissar I kill a perfectly healthy guradsman because another guardsman gets serious injured? I rather it work to increase morale because the commissar is allowed to kill you if you run. Such as a +10 or +20 to Fear/Terror/Whaterver checks as long as the Commissar also makes his or her check and have the bonus extend to everyone in the immediate area of the commissar because HE IS ALLOWED TO KILL Y OU. I mean what happens if only 2 PCs are left? Does the commissar kill one of them? Kill himself?
Maybe base it more on the wargame, with Stubborn (no penalty to fear/morale checks when lead by a commissar) or even oldschool 3E 40K version (which included summary execution and gave a +1 LD bonus).
As a Commissar serving the front lines in the wars against the enemies of the Imperium, you carry the authority to execute those found wanting. Whenever you are present when a NPC or PC in the Imperial Guard fails a Willpower test against or any other variaiton of morale in combat you can make an immediate reaction Intimidation test. If you succeed the target is permitted to retake the Willpower test with a bonus of +10 per degree of success you recieved on your intimidation test. If they PC or NPC fails the second time you immediately shoot him or her at point blank range with an automatic head shot.
Emperor, let Your undeniable light burn on the mishappen and twisted, so I can see them with pure sight, and purge them with righteous fire!