Overall experience feedback: Mostly a newb.
I know this is not even close to the finished product. But it's a heck of a lot closer than the last time I logged in. And I was thankful ( thanks LOTD ) for the group support that I got.
Even with a group to level up in, it's kinda grindy. To explain. I understand that mob ai #1, isn't a priority and #2 is in an unfinished state. So mob behavior is predictable. I get it. Doing the exact same thing - to kill the boredom we amused ourselves. So at this point Mob AI isn't what makes it grindy. With a full group TTK is fast enough to be fun yet slow enough to where you can get a couple good moves or spells off in a fight. TTK is good. Not that.
IMO, it's the amount of mobs or the respawn timers. I'm sure that will be tuned but for right now? Leveling wise, it seems - off.
This next point ties into leveling because as the overall experience goes: Going from 1 to 20 in your white vessel in nothing than your starter no clothes/character model is not fun. No visual change is boring. Boring = grindy. You can purchase a tunic, boots and gloves for about 240 gold. But barely anything you can hunt in those levels, in white vessels give you gold. Nor have I seen any armor drops. With very little gold ingame, it seems like crafting is the way to go. But... Take from my experience what you will.
Day 1 of my experience. I log in and find an old buddy who is in LOTD now. He walks me through the basics of how to get to gods reach, I join with him and some other folks for some leveling action. They were fighting R5/6 stuff in Gods Reach. Levels 1 - 10 went by pretty fast. A few hours in, I had 2 characters at or near 20. Cool. 1 guy had been master looting and everybody in the group got a pig pack saddle. The group slowly disbands and eventually I go to bed.
About me. Right now I run a pool hall and bartend. My hours as you can imagine, having me playing very late pm to very early am, pacific. A timeslot when not a lot of people are on.
The next day (a Sunday night when I get home at 2am pacific), I log in and nobody I know is up or ingame. I decide that I want some basic armor. Something other than the nothing I have on. I eventually find the trading and crafting stations in Gods Reach Chaos temple. Yay! I find a newbie chest/boots/gloves for my fessor to wear. But all told it costs well over 200 gold. And I have exactly zero. It's all good. I'm sure there is stuff I can hunt How hard can it be? I go out hunting. I'm a level 20 confessor at this point. I hunt everything I can (die to a pack of R5's at some point) but at the end of a 2 hour long killing spree I have exactly zero gold and lots of hide (because I've been skinning too)
"Hmmmmm" I think. I go and drink some of my favorite thinkers drink (whiskey, neat). Properly thinking now, I decide that maybe crafting is the way to make newbie stuff.
So I try it out. I have hide, I have the dust. I need a leather sheet. I find the recipe. I put the leather in and.... nothin. No way to progress. Every button except abort is grayed out. I'm forced to abort and lose the leather. Frustrated - I quit out and got on the forums and ..... a workaround!
I suspect that the experience I've had is somewhat what the developers want (up until I got frustrated and quit out )Now I know that I'm probably doing something wrong and a whole "How To" set of guides will be written before launch. That's not the point. The point is that when the economy is crafting based and I am pretty sure it is; then money should never be an issue. It shouldn't be an artificial barrier to progress. I should have been able to buy the most basic set of armor. Mobs under rank 5 or 6 or wherever it is, should be able to drop a little money. I'm not upset that an exploit was patched out. That being said - they made it even harder for new players.