My wife has an Eldritch Knight and I have a Druid. Her EK has been played all of the way up and my Druid has been played up from about Lvl 8 or 9 (mostly GM credit up to level 8). Her EK is a hard hitter with spells. My Druid can tank and has a lot of good utility mix. Heal spell is a nice one too.
We have tickets to the special and are looking for a table.
I know from experience with Rivalrys End and Way of Kirin that faction specific scenarios can be quite frustrating for both players and GMs as everyone tries to line up character X with scenario Y to get a boon. It is doubly frustrating when players sit at a table to play the scenario and then realize they will never get the really cool boon since this character is the wrong faction and their correct faction character may not be the right level at that time to play the scenario. For a couple of retirement scenarios it was workable. If a similar format is being set out for an entire season then I foresee a lot of unhappy players when they miss out on boons and a lot of unhappy GMs as they struggle to accommodate players of correct factions and levels for specific scenarios.
Another issue I have witnessed is that even with a faction mission immediately in hand it is often unclear for players as to what their faction mission is supposed to be. As a GM I often look at faction missions and realize that some absurd assumptions by whoever wrote the mission have been made. Also, many GMs tend to make some of the simplest faction missions overly complicated simply because they don't think that players should be able to easily accomplish faction missions.
PFS missions need to be fun. They need to be designed to be played in a slot for Cons and in game stores. They need to not be unnecessarily complicated. They should also be fun for all of the players for various factions to play. Players and GMs do not want more paperwork before a game starts. It reduces game time which equals reducing fun time.
I simply ask for designers to not make this overly complicated. This new mechanic may work fine but it needs to be tested before you sink too much into it.
Once you get to certain levels, none of your Wild Shaping improves except for duration and # times per day. If you wanted to get faster access to the Bat wildshapes and you wanted that type of an RPG theme then I would suggest the Bat Shaman. However, that also means that your Bat Shaping abilites peak faster than a core rulebook Druid's does.
There are many groups that rarely exceed 7th level or so in their campaigns. For players in those groups a Shaman is a good way to get the most out of your wildshape before the campaign ends.
So, what about a monster with tentacles? They can potentially lift a lot.
In running my games I would probably use the same lifting/carrying rules as for any other appendage. As the tiefling is coming home from grocery shopping they could fish their keys out of their pocket with their tail but couldn't use their tail to unlock the door. They could then set one back down while using their hand to unlock and open the door. As they walked in, I would let them pick up the back with their tail and carry it in.
I'd say a STR 18 character can lift a lot more with their tail than a STR 8 character.
As a side note, a player wanted to use Sleight of Hand to pick the pocket of an NPC. She wanted to use her tail to do it. In game mechanics, it made no difference. In RPG style it was pretty cool and made the session more fun. I went with it but explained that other PFS GM's might not allow it.