After spending so much time over the weekend trying out features specific to exploration. There were a few other features that you just can't avoid. Several of which I had disdain for, even before I had tried them. Starting out I hated them just as much as I thought I would. Strangely enough the radial menu that is being introduced in Odyssey started to grow on me after several hours.
Normally radial menus are implemented on systems that don't have a lot of control options. You look at consoles or touchpads where there is a limited number of buttons and it begins to make sense to add a radial menu to increase the amount of available actions that are available to you. Enjoying PC games I always looked at the radial menu with disdain. I have 104 keys on my keyboard (more if you're sporting almost any type of keyboard with extra options), just give me the ability to make key binds and I'll be on my merry way. Eve online already provides key binds for some regular functions and I tend to use them as often as I can. Even after I got used to the radial menu I still would use my key binds for most if not all the options that the radial menu can provide.
But ignoring my disdain for the radial menu in general. Let's discuss how the Eve radial menu works. It's really quite simple you left+click on something and it pops up. Only thing is that it is instant, if you want to change targets by clicking on them, as far as I could tell, is nigh on impossible. (I'm not talking about targeting something else, but switching to something you already have targeted.) Luckily there is this nifty option in the options menu, that allows you to change the delay on how quickly the radial menu appears. I found that turning the delay for three clicks, (or halfway) solved that problem entirely. I can now click on stuff in space or on my overview without having a menu pop up and impede my progress.
The only other problem that quickly presented itself was the lag associated with the menu (of which I think is a bug) in that your mouse cursor moves slower. Not by much, but enough to make you wonder if you're going crazy.
After pushing through those two issues I was actually able to explore the different features of the radial menu. Which is pretty much everything you are able to do now with key binds or right+clicking. Now I couldn't get the radial menu to beat key binds, but in various areas it was a lot more efficient than the right+click menu. Take looting for instance, you click on target mouse up and you have selected the open cargo option. (I hope this is a bug, but you don't approach the target to loot it if it isn't in range.) You have various features that work through this type of efficiency, but one thing where the radial menu really shines is the orbit and keep at range options. With the right click menu you are presented with a set amount with no in-between, while with the radial menu you can go in 250m increments at some of the closer distances. This makes it a lot easier for smaller ships to find the right distance for which their modules will work at. All you need to do is activate the radial menu, mouse over the option you want, and then drag the mouse away from the radial menu until you get the desired distance.
Setting up default distances can be even easier, you just left+click on your ship and all the normal options like keep at range, orbit, etc...are for automatically setting the default distance. This makes changing your defaults when switching ships easier and more straight forward.
The radial menu is also good looking. It doesn't have glaring colors or cause distraction with flashy animations. I find that the way something is presented and the graphics that go along with it can make a big impression. Now I know graphics aren't everything, I do play Dwarven Fortress but they do have their purpose.
Overall the new radial menu is not intrusive (once you change the delay) and if you don't want to use it, you don't have to, all the options on the radial menu are still available through the right+click menu. I know I will use the radial menu to do some things now and again, but I'll switch right back to key binds.
There are tons of other changes which I probably won't cover, but as of right now these are the main ones that concerned me. Overall I think the Odyssey expansion will be a success, in my opinion there are several tweaks, major and minor, that should be changed to improve certain aspects.
But a success it will be. I'll just have to ignore doing exploration sites for awhile until the novelty wears off for everyone. But with how things are currently implemented, I might be able to snag more pilots too busy trying to figure out what the heck is going on with the hacking mini-game to notice me coming up behind them.