I've really enjoyed bringing you good news all the time, so it's up to me then to tell you the less pleasant ones today. We are not going to finish a game version of proper quality by November 12th. At this moment it still requires some more work to be done, and after that - a small series of tests in the studio. That's why I have to postpone the start of early access for 1 week, and launch it on November 19th.
Now I'm going to answer several questions of yours about the early access and announce our decision on the R7 exclusiveness issue.
1) Damage model
It's 60% complete. Technically it works already thou some fine tuning must be done.
2) Visual effects
Some of them have been added. FX will be added one by one by the start of beta-testing.
3) About AI
AI will be added to the early access sessions 2-3 weeks after the start. First weeks will be devoted to solo flights.
4) Gift skins on early access
Yes, Founders will have them from the start
5) Quick Mission (Quick Start) mode availability
It will be ready by the New Year, and then brought to you ASAP
6) Making own skins
Of course we'll offer you necessary tools and templates but later - we don't want to distract from more important tasks
7) Handguns/flare guns in early access
Not sure about those, the decision will be made the next week
About the gun pods for Bf 109 F-4 issue now. Considering the results of the polls on all forums and according to our own vision the following decision has been made: R7 will be available to ALL pilots in IL2BOS, however Founders will access it instantly while other players will need to unlock it. This mod will be harder to obtain than other unlockable items.
Note that November 11th is the last day when the Pre-order program is still active - with its special bonuses and at the old price. So there's still a couple of days when you can join the Founders program by pre-ordering Premium or Standard editions. After that, on November 12th we officially enter the Early access stage.
And now we are completely concentrated on current tasks, so unfortunately we have less time to spend on the forums than usually. Actually the entire teams' top priority now is preparing for the early access. And considering its' importance one extra week of waiting is not that much, is it?
You can discuss the news in this thread