Second impression: Okay... so it's installed, taken three hours to patch, and now I have to 'request a content key' and then attach four more 20-character product keys to it... ugh... wait, I only get one character?! Oh right, you can switch jobs at will.
Well, the only reason I was even playing the game (aside from 'finding it in the bargain bin') is that I've been reading Fred Perry's Level Up webcomic about it, and it looked kind of neat. So, I decided to go with 'Kijji', a mithra red mage. Sorry, 'RDM'. The hair/face selection interface was obnoxious as all hell, but I finally get into the game, and...
This came out *after* final fantasy X, right? So why are the graphics worse than final fantasy 7?! Seriously, they give Everquest a run for their money. The *first* everquest. The interface doesn't -- it's much worse than everquests' was. Yes, still talking about the first everquest.
So I ran around for a while, killing 'ding bats' (which true to their name, were worth a ridiculous amount of xp for their difficulty) and 'giant hornets' and 'tunnel worms', and before I knew it I was level 4 and still had the 50 gil I started out with. Oh, and one insect wing. The cheapest upgrade equipment wise was several hundred gold, and even the spells I'd levelled up enough to use were 70 gold to 240 gold a pop. WTF?
Oh, I was supposed to be doing quests. Just like in final fantasy games, you need to run around the city talking to *everyone* and they'll give you quests. Unlike Everquest -- in a good way this time -- the quests get added a log that vaguely tells you what to do, although for a lot of them I probably wouldn't have been able to figure out the details without going online to read the 'getting started in Bastok' guide on a wiki.
Oh right, I started my Mithra in Bastok, because it sounded cool and had the best looking flag. 'City of Industry', right? Only it turns out:
(1) Since I started as a mithra in a non-mithra city, I didn't get the stat-boosting ring that most characters start with
(2) Bastok isn't really a good city to start a mage in. It's got tons of weapon and armor stores, and exactly one magic store. You can get spells, but there's no mage equipment for sale anywhere. Well, there's RDM equipment because they can wear armor.
(3) Duh, Industry + Final Fantasy == EVIL. It's the city of evil. It's fucking Freeport. I managed to start in fucking grey, dingy, cement-based, unfriendly Freeport AGAIN.
For all that, I can kind of see why someone might like this game, once they'd gotten to a higher level and figured out all the crap. I really don't think I like it, though. Although I'm still playing it occasionally for some ungodly reason.
And the graphics are *ass*. It's not the graphics engine -- the engine actually looks like it has some potential, but the level design is... um... extremely perfunctory. And the spell effects are silly-looking.