I played the beta and liked it better than you did, apparently. The combat reminded me of EQ more than anything. I thought at first that was strange for a space game, but it grew on me. There aren't really any visual indicators of damage in EQ, either. You just see the melee swings and spell effects.
What I really liked was the zillion little upgrades I can make as I "level" in the game. I've always liked improving my ships in space games ala Privateer. E&B has a lot of this in it.
The big question mark I have is how long the game can sustain interest. Space is a rather boring backdrop.