Straight off the bat, I believe 6E is the best edition of HERO mechanically. I would not say it is the best it could be, but it is better than the previous editions. Most of the problems I have with 6E are not mechanical but rather with presentation.
Again, I will declare it from the start, I love the two big-blue 6E books. I find them beautiful and neat and as reference manuals, they are golden. When it comes to look at general rules though, Champions Complete or HERO Basic are much more convenient. Behold hindsight 20/20, with better production value (and completeness for Basic) they could have been the equivalent of HERO Rulebook and Champions BBB for 4E. I would have seen them both on glossy paper, full color and using the layout template 6E1 and 6E2 use while the two big books could have been softcover and black and white (what they now are in POD I suppose).
But my main presentation problems in 6E are on the character sheets. The wall of characteristics is horrible and with just a better layout could be easily avoided. Categorizing them like it was previously suggested in this thread would go a long way to make them look less intimidating. At the very least, grouping them slightly differently (example below but somewhat messed up) would definitely help.
STR 40 17- STR Dice 9d6, Lift 6.4tons
DEX 36 16-
CON 19 13-
INT 18 13- Perception Roll 13-
EGO 15 12-
PRE 13 12- PRE Attack 2½d6
OCV 10 OMCV 3
DCV 12 DMCV 3
SPD 5 Phases 3, 5, 8, 10, 12
PD 12 Total 12 PD/0 rPD
ED 9 Total 9 ED/0 rED
REC 10 END 40
STUN 40 BODY 12
Running 12m (24m) Swimming 4m (8m)
Leaping 30m (60m) Swinging 40m (80m)
Another issue brought up previously is how some powers were deconstructed and need now to be built from other powers. While I have no problem with the approach, I would have preferred if they would have defined and used a simplified nomenclature on published character sheets (basically what they did with Talents). A few basic write-ups would have benefited from it (Force Field, Instant Change, Transfer, Super-Running (you know, the one not built with Running but with Flight or Teleport), etc…). In short, I would have liked if they looked for a way to declutter the character sheets and make them look more appealing, more fun (and yes, I would be totally happy not seeing Real Cost per line item and the advantages and limitations +/- values).
Another aspect that clearly irks long time HERO fans is the loss of some legacy components. The two examples constantly referred to are Comeliness and Figured Characteristics. In both cases, I was initially against their departure but after the fact, my opinion is that the game is better without them.
Comeliness was not doing much mechanically and every attempt I have seen to give it a purpose were heroic efforts for sure but ultimately unconvincing. I much, much prefer Striking Appearance as a mechanic. That being said, I agree that adding Comeliness in a sidebar as a potential new Characteristic would have been a must. It is clearly important to some of us and we should respect that.
Figured Characteristics were a tougher nut to crack. The challenge is to balance a linear point cost progression per characteristics with what is fundamentally a breakpoint progression of abilities. Some benefits of characteristics increase every +1 but others only in +2, +3 or +5 increments. GURPS can balance its Attributes with its Secondary Characteristics by the simple fact that most benefits progress on a +1 for +1 basis. ST is equally divided in three components, Lifting, Striking and Hit Points, +1 in ST means +1 in all three components and the sum cost of the three components equals the total cost for ST. Trying to balance that in HERO was next to impossible and at best could have been better approximated than in previous editions (this is what I was hoping for while 6E was being developed). In the end, figured characteristics were not figured anymore and it suddenly became much easier to build any concept desired without worrying with point efficiency.
But something was lost. Call it guidance or verisimilitude but the fact remains that a deeply entrenched paradigm, the relation between Characteristics and Figured was erased. Again, a few solutions were possible. First, a sidebar re-introducing Figured Characteristics with better balanced costs could have been added. Second, and even easier, a sidebar could have introduced “suggested values” for Secondary Characteristics based on Characteristics (example below).
From a cost perspective, nothing would change. You would still buy STR at 1 pts for +1 and no Secondary Characteristics would be automatically recalculated. If you wanted to bring your Secondary Characteristics in line with the suggested values, you would still need to buy them up. Suggested Values would simply give an indication of how the Characteristics could influence the Secondary Characteristics and the player would still have full power to buy them up their desired values based on their concept, may it be the suggested value or something else. Unless of course a campaign strictly enforces them.
I haven’t touched on mechanics at all in this post. Hopefully will have time to do so later.