From: Boise, ID - USA
I recently finished a test PBEM with Rob (jrcar) he was Japanese, I was Allies.
I have actually never played Allies in a PBEM in stock - though I've played many PBEM as Japanese. Anyway, yes the Allied first turn or so was massive for me - maybe even more work than Japanese in stock - but I got down to 30-60 minutes per turn on average. The "immersion" is great. Everything seems "more important". I think your brain expands to encompass the expanded scale and additional bases and units. I remember when I first tried to play stock thinking I would never be able to really play it - there was just too much to do. I didn't actually have that feeling with AE - just more like wow - I have lots of stuff to deal with.
Ports, ports, ports.
In stock like Noumea is a level-6 and can quickly build up to a level-9. In AE Noumea starts as a level-2 and can slowly build up to a level-7. But you really come to appreciate your ports. Loading and unloading is much slower than stock, especially at smaller ports. Large invasions really need to load at multiple ports, else they will take forever to load up. So planning the use of your ports becomes another aspect of the game you don't think about in stock.
Air Unit Training.
In stock, the Allies probably mostly ignore and the Japanese bomb dots. The training mission is more effective in AE but you now have 12 skills to train on. You can pick one to focus on - or you can train on general skills (all skills with equal probability). You can make very useful improvements in your air units training level in 2 months or more. The highest you can get with the training mission is EXP 70, after that you with only increase by engaging in that type of mission. So transporting supplies will not make you better at ASW ... and bombing ports will not make you better at a2a combat. Managing your air unit training is at least as important as it was in stock.
We need to start a support group to help veteran and nooB players alike to get through the first turn! This is the only game I have ever played where I spend 10 or more hours on my first time, and thats as the Allies!
Once you get through that first turn, as you said Joe, its pretty smooth sailing from there. As the Allies, I especially found that after the first 6 months of the way, things ran like clock work and you could just focus on combat and not have to worry so much about logistics. You still have to deal with it, but by that point you have some sort of system (for better or worse) for getting it done.
I greatly look forward to AE just from an organizational point of view. All the new options for filtering units, leaders, ships and so on will greatly help with solving the mental 'wheres my stuff' moments. The ability to freely assign ships to any command is also going to be huge! As an organization freak that I will mean I will be able to keep track of the theatre responsibilities for all my ships and never loose track of who belongs where.
Add these improvements, not to mention the much more detailed combat reports, and I think that things will move along much quicker because you will spend less time keeping track of things outside of the game.
Again, great work Joe and the rest of the team! Cant wait!