I popped into this and grabbed my 45 days. I had forgotten what a great pve game this is. The minigames for crafting and diplomacy are very well done. The character classes are distinct and interesting -- Bards assemble their own buff songs! The world is huge, multi-faceted and dangerous. No instances. You can see for miles (/setfog 9999999). The macroing system is solid and useful. Combat can be both challenging and make you feel incredibly powerful. There seems to be no end to content. An explorer's dream.
I also love the attempts to give it a rich, old school rpg feel (D&D-like at times). You'll notice this when you talk to NPCs -- great dialogue, rich story -- and move through the world -- each new area gives you some text description of your characters feelings towards it, ("a chill runs up your spine as you move into the murky marsh"). VG is very colorful textually.
Of course, it has none of the QoVL (quality of virtual life) upgrades from the WoW generation which can make it bewildering and annoying at times. The maps don't show much, for example. The terrain can be VERY flat and uninteresting at times (though the views are great). Quest descriptions can be vague, requiring you to tramp around for ages finding the right spot. You leave belongings on your corpse when you die and lose xp. Leveling is much slower than we've grown used to with offerings such as WoW, AoC and Rift. Combat feedback can be sluggish and lack viscerality. Sometimes I'm reminded of Galaxies when I kill something and it hangs there for a couple of seconds before turning into a corpse.
I wish more people played VG. Some of the most interesting content requires groups and it's hard to find them right now with such a low pop
I fired this up as well for the free 45 day period. While I do think VG can be a fun game I wasn't quite as glowing in my opinion as Hotfreak. While all of his statements are true the niggling issues really start to lump together for me. Some are minor annoyances like zoning while traveling across the landscape others can be downright fustrating in todays world of MMO's. Had a quest location on the map which "as the crow flys" was fairly close, due to terrain restrictions it took me a good 20 minutes of real time traveling to get there, died about 10 minutes after arriving and respawned back on the opposite side of the mountain range again which meant another 20 minute run to retrieve my corpse and the huge chunk of XP I lost for the death.
Speaking of death's, having not played the game in a while I chose to start out on what I thought would be some easier targets. I was fighting mobs 6 to 7 levels lower than my character and they were kicking the crap out of me. I did not realize at first that even though they were trouncing me they were too low level to gain XP from and after several deaths in my frist 2 hours of play I went from 87% in to my current level to 72%.
I've fallen through the world a few times, gotten stuck moving up and down steps (this seems to be a particular problem for some reason), had a few CTD which kept wiping out my custom UI changes and resetting everything to default etc. etc.
Now to be fair I've been playing solo the whole time and I definitely think solo play sort of puts minor issues under a microsope at times, I do think being in a group would sort of gloss over some of the issues as your engaged in conversation, banter and what not.
I would definitely be interested in getting a group together, for those playing as well, Im bouncing between a few characters all in the low to mid 20's, you can stick Jiunfan, Ythgar and Zarixx on your friends list. If anyone wants to post their character names I will also put them on mine.