It's awesome. Leveling is a bit tedious, but what RPG isn't? Kinda sucks that creating additional characters is another $1 / month, BUT you can switch to any class at any time, so if you're not happy with the class you picked to start with, switch. Or if you just want to play other classes for a while, switch. About the only reason one would have for making more than one character (as is common with other MMORPG's), is to play another race. You can also get support classes after you reach level 18. I just hit 15 last night. Going to shoot for 18 this weekend, so I can start working on either a white, black or red mage subclass.
Graphically, it's gorgeous. There's different phases to the moon, and I believe there's season changes too, as in that last shot in the highlands, the leaves on the trees are turning orange, and falling to the ground. Where as last week, in the same location, the leaves were green, and there were grasshoppers jumping around in the field. I haven't seen snow yet, but I suspect it's probably coming. 1 day game time is about 72 minutes real time, so a week is about 2 months in game.
There's as much, or as little as you want to do. You can do piddly little quest for various people in town, you can take part in missions to go up in rank ... which in turn earns you fame, which gets you recognized in town, and shopkeepers offer more items, and also reduce prices. You could simply play the game, and never do a quest or mission ... of course you wouldn't be able to ride a chocobo, or on the airship ... or get a subclass ... or get one of the advanced jobs.
I've heard there's over 100 areas, and each one is huge. The smallest area I've been to so far, still takes a good 30 seconds to run from one side to the other, but you could spend an hour there and not see or do everything there is to see/do. The largest I've been in takes about 8 - 10 minutes to run from one end to the other ... if there are any larger, I haven't been to them yet (have only been to about 20 different areas so far). The original trip to Windurst, from my home city of Bastok took about 4 hours, because we stopped to fight, and talk to various townsfolk. The return trip was no frills, just straight running (and a ride on a ship), took about an hour and a half.
Unlike most MMOG's, there is an actual story to the game, and there is a definitive "end", a final battle, if you will. The game doesn't just exist to be a glorified chat client with a video game wrapped around it, like most other MMOG's I've played.
I think what I like most about it though, I'm a huge Final Fantasy fan, have been since I got the original for NES back in '91. They've taken a lot of little things from the previous games, and put them into this one. Such as the character classes, and armor/equipment, etc. If you've ever played any Final Fantasy's prior to VII, you'll recognize some or all of them instantly.
If/When you get it this weekend, if you want to join up with us, get on the Cerberus server (the servers are assigned randomly, but there's a trick to get the server you want), and start in Bastok (regardless of race. If you're anything but Hume or Galka, you won't get a ring, but the ring doesn't do too much (+3 HP, and +3 INT I think) so if you want to play a different race, feel free)
Here's the trick to getting the server you want:
1. Make a new character
2. Select all the attributes, race, job, etc etc
3. Select starting town.
4. ***The important step*** When the screen comes up to associate a handle with your character, press Escape. This will take you back to the main menu. Go to character select and check which server your new toon is on. If he isn't on the server you want, delete, and when you go back to Create Character it has your previous settings memorized. You can literally spam the enter key through the options, get to the handle, escape, and check again. It typically only takes 5-10 minutes to land on the server you want, as each attempt only takes about 10 seconds on a fast computer.
While it isn't as good as, oh I don't know, actually selecting the server you want, it does make getting your friends in the same spot a lot cheaper. Hope this helps!
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