Used to be great but nowadays is mostly pay to win with boons which are required
for making newer, obviously superior, races and guilds work. They also sell game
currency and occasionally 'unique' game breaking items. Task points which
are used to buy game advantages (boons) currently cost around 0.5e per one.
However, if you are ok spending real money to advance there is ton of varied
content and hundreds of areas to explore. Also great many varied guilds with
newer ones having complex set of quests, rules and mastery skills which you
learn only by playing and might take months or even years to maximize.
World itself is divined in five continents to create illusion of distances and
is as annoying as one would think ( http://jeskko.pupunen.net/gmap2/ for map).
To overcome those distances you can buy or make ships which are essential for
playing the game. In fact making those ships is mini-game in game which requires
months of questing and preparing. Crafting is big part of the game though there
is only few usable items you can create.
Areas, especially newer ones are relatively well done with lots of secrets,
quests and somewhat varying themes. In practise though new players are
discouraged exploring those areas by having lots of equipment destroying npc's
present. However newbie and solo friendly areas usually don't contain anything
Gaining new equipment is the major goal and you have player run and
built cities to store it. Note that gaining worthwhile equipment is very very
hard and requires you to either farm days for gold or having connections
to secretive clans which usually don't take newbies.
New player experience is ok with nice introduction and possibility to use
graphical java client for playing.
Conclusion: Playable (with real money)
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