this release has brought a small influx of new players and some of the old q3 crowd are showing up as well - now would be a good time to check it out if you fancy a busy game. looks like you can still see 0.48 servers in the in-game brower. don't know what happens if you connect to those - but if you can see a map preview then it's running 0.49 and is good to join.
no new player models. you still can't stab while running. free climbing is nerfed to the point of useless and ctf seems to have been thrown together as an afterthought - 'objective' mode on all maps is great but it's a bit too clear that it's the main focus of the game.
good (better anyway) stuff:
first impressions are good. the maps look fantastic and the features that are making it back into the mod (free-climbing, 'realistic' weapons) give it a bit more meat than 0.48.
the menus/ui have been given a major overhaul and the gamemodes have been redubbed 'mini-mods'. a server has to restart to switch between these mini-mods, other than that it seems like mini-mods instead of gamemodes are a definition only admins and developers need worry about, not sure why they've exposed it to users.
the game now runs in widescreen only, so if you don't have a widescreen monitor then you get movie style letterboxing. it takes a moment to get used to and not everyone seems to like it, can't say it bothered me either way. the extra fov makes up for the loss of screen real estate. it might be better if you had the option to put hud elements into the letterbox bars.
doubt that it'll ever be the same visceral fun that the q3 versions were, but it more than stands up on it's own. it definitely manages the essential tc thing of reminding you that guns have a right end and a wrong end and that you have to be careful where you point them.