OK, I've been playing this game for about 3 days now. So I thought I'd post about a little on the newbie experience. This isn't an attempt to try and say anything new, I'm just giving a new guy's observations.
First the game is pretty dang gorgeous it's obvious that this is a FF title because everything just "pops" visually. This extends to the cut scenes as well. They're well done and expressive. I'm also surprised by the number of them. I don't know if this continues but in the low levels cut scenes seem to be as common as they are in SWTOR. I also find the story tied to them thus far fun and interesting. My toon's not the "chosen one" but I enjoy the everyman adventurer feeling. Sometimes it's nice to just a be a "dude" in a fantastic realm.
The Leve system. I actually kind of like it. I realize it has a downside in that it can allow a player to really just solo all the way. However, I don't see that as so huge as to maximize its affects partying up would be a good idea. Still it likely needs to be adjusted to encourage grouping as that is technically what being in an MMO is all about. However, the "task" aspect of it is something I enjoy I like having a "reason" for my grinding. It might totally artificial but somehow it helps at the psychological level.
I like that they tried to make crafting a mini-game. It's nice to feel active in crafting. However a tutorial would have been nice as honestly when I break out my saw I've got no idea what I'm doing lol. At a personal level I don't mind that. There is fun in discovery. However having something that just takes a moment to really explain what each choice does and so forth would be nice. Still at this point I have to say that I like the crafting system. I also like that it can be a full time occupation if one desires.
Classes I'm still playing around with them. Which I think is kind of the point. Like in FFXI I enjoy being able to roll one toon and focus everything on that character. So I'm glad that carried over. Being able to swap out between classes on the fly is also nice.
Feeling lost. At times I have felt like "I'm not sure what to do now." I have mixed feelings on this. At some level I like the old school idea of figuring out your own adventure. But as many of you know when you're a professional with lots of responsibilities sometimes you do want to just have a simple direction to take. Which brings me to another thing. I don't necessarily know what the point of all of it is. Not meaning the point as in "why am I playing this?" I mean the overall point of my character's story in this realm. So do I just stay in the starting towns and keep doing leves or is there a reason to branch out?
A silly aside is sound. Having played several MMO's since my sojourn in Vana'diel I found that I was a bit surprised at the silence of the game. MMO's now have all this ambient noise, and some verbal queues from NPC's. Seeing a more quiet game again was a little bit of shock. It's not necessarily a bad thing, I'm just bringing it up as a talking point.
Finally, something that really surprised me with the game is that the developers obviously worked hard on the game. Its visuals, the cut scenes, dialogue details, and its systems all took a lot of effort and thought. What surprises me is that with that much effort why some of the more obvious aspects of an MMO got left out. To me it seems at odds. The developers obviously didn't just phone it in. So how did some things get left out?
Anyway, so far its been interesting. I see many things that would suggest great potential in the game. So I hope that 2.0 can capitalize. I'd like to have another AAA FF title to delve into.