So now that I have spent a few more hours with the game, I thought I would write down some of my impressions. This is obviously not a full review as I have only played a total of 3 or 4 hours worth (partly due to servers being down last night until I checked back at 1:30am), but rather just my thoughts on what I have seen so far.
First of all, I like the idea of the combat at this point a bit more than the combat itself. I imagine part of this is due to the fact that I can only move and attack. From what I can tell, each special move can only be used once during each combat and at this level (lvl 4 Buccaneer) I only have one special move. That is a bit annoying and doesn't lead to a great variety of strategic choices. I would imagine that once I and my companions get more options and also once the buccaneer class starts to feel like a class instead of default warrior (i.e. lvl 5 i am able to upgrade to light armor from, well, no armor? I'll get back about this one once I see it in action). Anyway, jury's out on this aspect. It has a lot of potential, but seems to have a slightly bigger learning curve than most MMO's. It's not "tough" but it is a bit more complicated than things usually are at this low a level. Maybe I'm over thinking it.
I also got to try out ship based combat a bit, but didn't really get a good sense of what was going on. This is in part because I have, essentially, a raft, but also because the only ship battle I have been in (outside of the tutorial) there was a glitch with the HUD and I couldn't see my abilities or any info about my ship. Then I was boarded by the enemy vessel and would have been wiped out if another higher level player hadn't show up and killed them all for me, more or less. More later on this aspect as well.
Haven't seen much of the social aspect of this game, but if it's anything like Wizard 101, communicating will be difficult given all the restrictions Kingsisle put on interaction in attempts to keep the game family friendly. I have no problem with that, but it does make it tough to get anything across when seemingly innocuous words are censored.
The story of the game so far has been pretty strong. At the least, not boring and at best kinda funny. I did laugh when I realized who Fin Dorsal was supposed to be. Again, haven't seen too much of this yet, but it looks promising. I already like it more than the story to Wizard 101. Much more engaging, even at this early stage.
I signed up for a subscription at $7 a month because I hate seeing pay-gates in a game (the lower rate was because I had forgotten to cancel my Wizard 101 sub when I stopped playing and you can get a multi-game rate). Since I still had around 26k crowns from Wizard 101 and they are good for both games, I used them to buy a lobster "very fast" mount. My play time is limited, so I try to only buy things that help me get more done in the time I have. I don't like paying for weapons with real money, but we'll see if it becomes necessary or not. The in game bazaar has not been set up yet, so no way to test that, and there is no direct player trading and, according to what I read on KI's site, there won't ever be. I spent a fair amount of time gearing up from vendors, but we'll see how this goes. If there is anything else I may spend real money on, it would be a better ship or maybe a pet, as I understand pets have a chance to join you in combat. Again, more on this when I know more!
So far, so good. As I discover more of what the game has to offer, I'll post it here, not always in full review format, but if I have enough to say or feel I can make a better evaluation, I'll do another review that will be a bit more comprehensive than this one was. At this point I can see that the game has a lot of potential and I look forward to finding out if it lives up to that potential.