What I remember I liked about Lightwave was the SubD's and the integrated renderer - which was very good. The modelling tools suited me quite well as well, but after learning the Maya tools I really didn't look back.
|Head model courtesy Dance Macabre @ TurboSquid|
Lightwave 11, as of today, has a free 30 day trial. Registering gets you a serial that unlocks all functionality and removes water mark - which is nice.
The layout is pretty much the same as I remember from Lightwave 6. You still have two different programs, modeller and layout. I must admit I'm a bit rusty not having touched the program in 10-12 years, but I managed to assign some shaders, add fur, light and render a small test.
Although 999 free render licenses are tempting I don't think I'll be jumping back.