After logging about 5-6 hours in the beta, here are my first impressions.
The game is freaking gorgeous. I'm playing at 1920x1080 with everything on maximum and the only hiccups are lag related due to beta version. I scored a 4800 on high on the benchmark. The combat animations look smooth and detailed.
It reminds me a lot of XI, but with some tweaks.
For example, put away your weapon and you start to regen. No more kneeling on the ground! If you want to log out, you log out, no more kneeling on the ground!
Save up 2000 TP, and you can do back to back 1000 TP weaponskills as long as you have the stamina. I expect stronger weaponskills to take up more TP later, but I thought that was cool. You can also use weaponskills from a different class.
I just like looking at when my char does a weaponskill, the screen gets all dark, there is a spotlight on me and the enemy and then the WS. After the WS, my char takes a step backwards to "regain his balance". Awesome.
Another neat thing in this game that they added was that you can choose between slash strikes, piercing strikes, heaving swings, etc. In XI polearms were piercing damage, swords had slash damage, fists were blunt damage, but in this you can CHOOSE. And there is a DIFFERENT animation for each type of attack. And if you crit, the animation is different also. Ex, your slash attack shows an animation of two sword slashes in an X pattern, when you crit, you slash 3 times. Anyway, combat animation is just awesome.
Little things.. like when you're bazaaring, your LS flag doesn't go away, like it did in XI, but both the bazaar bag and the flag are displayed.
I think it's cool that you can allocate STR, DEX, VIT, etc. manually instead of having the game automatically do it based on your race.
Character creator is a lot more detailed than it was in XI, there were a lot of clones in XI, but you can put highlights in your hair, wear a goatee, etc.
UI works fine, but I'm using a wired 360 controller. You can map all of the actions on the buttons you want. I don't have any complaints with the gamepad UI, it's very much like XI, but now you can press buttons 1-9 on the keyboard to do things too.
There are menu glitches and some lag and other things that are still an issue, but these things are very fixable. For example, mobs that are claimed still have a yellow name, so you think they're still available. SE will probably make names purple like they did before, but that's not the case yet.
I'm having fun so far. If you were a fan of XI, you'll like this game. If you never played XI, this game will feel different, but give it a shot anyway.
A couple of other things...
No zoning! Yes, when you walk around the large island you don't have to zone. Wonderful. Which also reminds, when you want to turn tail and run, you take target lock off, put your weapon away and book it... and you can actually GET AWAY from the mob you have aggro from. In XI when you tried to run, somehow the mobs would always have 150% their normal speed and catch up to you and kill you, unless you used flee. Again, wonderful.
Edited, Aug 21st 2010 7:58pm by Oenos
Edited, Aug 21st 2010 10:02pm by Oenos