On the ocean issue, we are not exactly talking pre b1.8 ponds here. Playing on large biomes, I have an underwater base. I have explored part of the surrounding ocean, and it is some 3000 blocks north to south, and I have yet to see continent in east and west directions, where I also have explored some 3000 blocks. I would still prefer continents surrounded by oceans, but I find the new terrain, including the oceans, vastly superior to both pre b1.8 and b1.8-1.6 terrain.
I haven't had much trouble finding suitable oceans in pre-release; the first new world I created spawned me on a small island in the middle of nowhere.
Can't wait for the final version! I'm digging the dark oak wood, and the new flowers make everything so vibrant now. The one thing I miss is now it's harder to find cold taigas, or maybe I'm just unlucky.
Finally, the new trees are complete! With beautiful new wood. And maybe I'm seeing it wrong, but I have the idea that the stained glass is also a little bit more bright. Minecraft 1.7 is now not far away anymore... I hope. Then we will also finally know what those secret settings really are.
Dude...You are way behind in snapshots. The secret settings are shaders. You click on the button, and it turns on a random shader.
So I was working on this really cool resource pack a while ago, but bad progress nonwithstanding, I think I found something much better... I'm probably gonna release a couple of maps soon as unrelated well.