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 dangerous.
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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