Open Beta is here, here are my impressions...
A LOT of the lagginess has been fixed, menu and UI lag, it's a lot more smooth and seamless, it doesn't feel so 'clunky'. There is still a little bit left, but I imagine this will go away with time. There is no lagginess at all in cutscenes. I play with a controller so I don't feel any of the mouse/keyboard pain.
A LOT less crashes and errors, but there are some occasionally.
The only major issue that remains for me is that targeting needs to be improved. The XI system of autotargeting the next mob was good and bad, but I would say more good than bad. I don't want to manually target the next enemy, and I don't want to default target myself when I tab. I see this getting fixed.
The world STILL looks beautiful, and Ul'Dah and the surrounding area looks awesome, I'm in <3
So far, the game seems like a mix of partying and solo, party up for the leves, then grind it out a little bit on your own. In 5 hours (one night of gameplay) I managed to get to Gladiator 8/Phys 10, which is probably about the time it took me to get to lvl 8 in FFXI. Haven't done any party grinding yet, but I attribute this to not knowing where the XP "camps" are. There are also some still sealed off areas that you can't go to, i.e. "The Dunes". I still haven't touched another class, but plan on leveling pugilist to equal rank for Taunt and Second Wind. I haven't seen anything pop up that says surplus. Once I hit level 10, I can do the level 10 leves.
Doing a few guild eves, I met a great group of people (Mysidia). Everyone was friendly and most had experience with XI. Everyone was patient and waited for D/C's and for people to get their favor. It was so great, the people said "Let's start our own LS".
I've found that I have a LOT more gil this time around, in XI you had to scratch and claw in the beginning to make money. But, this could be just inflation.
Feels a lot like XI, but different. Big time graphics update. The class system and physical level system give more of a customization control to your character and make your character well rounded. Even though I started Elezan, I've stacked a LOT of points on Vitality and now have a lot of HP and defense. Music is nice, the Ul'Dah music is this sort of mellow/dramatic/dreamy piano score. Anything beats the Gustaberg music.
Where does the "Uh Oh" come in? I feel like I'm getting a taste of what could be a long term relationship... like when you date a girl the first couple times and think Oh Sh- this could last a while... haven't felt like this since XI. What can I say, I "feel" the immersion. Today at work I feel cracked out and tired from staying up too late, and I want me some more.
Don't cancel your preorder yet, I'd say give this one a shot and see where it leads.