DA wiped out 1000+ categories with this update. If you never used them, then yes, Eclipse is probably not much of a deal to you. To me however, it's huge. I can no longer browse the galleries I used to visit regularly, because they simply no longer exist. Couple that with the horribly inaccurate RFY being the default browse mode for everybody and the search engine being borderline broken, and it should be easy to comprehend why I have zero interest in browsing DA at all anymore. Why would I visit galleries of pictures I'm not interested in? The only way I can directly influence anything anymore is by muting a handful of tags. Seeing how many deviants are experiencing a significant decline in views/favs, I'd say other users are experiencing the same lack of interest as well.
They did remove the categories selection when you submit art. I assume that is what you referring to. I never browsed image on DA, so I have no idea what happened there. From what I heard, the tree categories are completely replaced by keyword, but I agree with you they don't have to take it away.
There were more than 1000 top- and sub-level categories plus optional tags/keywords. With no more than two or three clicks you could browse any of these categories:
With the introduction of Eclipse all those categories were scrapped. Tags didn't replace them since those had already existed for years and still aren't mandatory. In essence, a lot of images are no longer being categorized at all or are instead being miscategorized now. The moment you're looking for anything specific on DA, you're basically screwed.
This was the categories selection before submit. I did notice it no longer in the submission forum. This is the first time I learned its real use, I don't know the exact reason why they have to obsolete this, but from my experience it could make a much faster upload. I thought Eclipse was only a window dressing, never realized the removed something so important. Saw many Eclipse complains but they are missing the point.
The commissions widget keeps throwing errors when people try to order from me, where I never had a problem with it before :/ It sets up and displays just fine, but people try to pay and get an error. How am I supposed to work that
Finding pictures I like with the old UI: Go to the front page -> Digital Art -> Paintings & Drawings -> Landscapes and Scenery / Illstrations = 3 clicks
Finding pictures I like with Eclipse: Go to the front page -> Realize categories no longer exist -> Use the search engine -> Try to narrow down the horrible search results by subtracting certain search words or using hashtags only -> get frustrated with the whole damn thing -> go to google instead = not available on DA
In summary: Eclipse has definitely made things a lot worse. DA is basically just an Instagram clone now.