Here's some great news. Maxwell 3 is finally out, and it's a huge update. This new release includes new versions of Maxwell Render, Studio, and Mxed along with all new plugins for the host applications marks a huge improvement. I've been using it for the last couple of weeks and have to say it is much faster and way more versatile than version 2.
Obviously my favorite parts are going to be things that can help architects and designers do their job better. I haven't been able to test everything, so my picks so far are definitely scattering, which allows you to place as many duplicate (and randomized) objects on a surface as you'd like without any performance penalties, the speed updates to Maxwell Fire (the realtime preview engine) and volumetrics. Volumetrics allows you to add "thickness" to the environment. In other words you can have fog and particulate matter in air or water. It's very easy to use and produces some very nice results, especially when interacting with lights. You can even assign materials to it for other effects like creating clouds. I also have to talk a bit about Maxwell Sea. It's beautiful. I don't think I'll be using it as an actual ocean (you never know) but it's great for pools and smaller water areas too as long as they're rectangular. The amount of control over the look of the water surface is awesome. Again, it only generates at render time so there's no big mesh penalties in the model.
Here's a quick scene I rendered with volumetrics. Light rays anyone?
Here's a single billboard tree using the new scattering:
Here's a birdseye view of the billboard trees on a single NURBS surface: