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... this game is shaping up to be incredible. I believe we're allowed to share all but videos and audio at this point.
I started as a Mi'qote male Gladiator. The character creation isn't crazy robust, but it gives more than the original, and it suits my needs perfectly fine. The combat is really fun, with the auto-attacks adding a bit of extra damage, but your skills providing most of it, and they are very flashy and fun. The animations for everything your character does are just outstanding. Some of the best I've ever seen.
There are a lot of introductory quests, and so far that's all the majority of side quests. They might feel pretty generic and boring to those of us that have been playing MMO's for awhile, because it's all about features that have been in MMO's before, and not a lot of new stuff.
The main story, however, compared to the original, I'm already awe-struck. I'm assuming you could only start at Ul'dah since I didn't see any option for other places. The first major quest involves finding a Lalafell girl, and upon finding her, a dude with white hair, who was present in the original game and redone, comes to find her as well, and after some talk, we're attacked by a large gargoyle in an instance. I like how the story has you interactively participating, and a central theme right off the bat, rather than some little bitch on the side who is completely useless for most of the story, as I felt with the original. So you suck at this point, and rather than doing major damage to the main boss, you are expected to fight off the adds that show up instead to allow the other guy time to finish off the main guy. Then treated with a cut scene, which I won't spoil at all..
It was pretty epic for only being level 7. As a Gladiator, I had 4 skills at this point, A "Fast Blade" or whatever attack for some DPS, a buff to lower damage on myself by 10% for a small amount of time, an attack to increase enmity (aggro) that did more damage than my initial fast blade attack (also on same cooldown, so you need to choose which is best for the situation at any given time), and one other I can't remember off hand. The combat isn't feeling in the least bit slow or boring so far, and from what people say, it only gets better from here.
This game also feels as much like Final Fantasy as I could expect from an MMO. Way more than FFXI. They have the "victory theme" play when you level up, they have the "prelude" play at many occasions, they mention "Crystal Bearer", "Warriors of Light", yada yada. You get the picture. It's Final Fantasy to its core.
The graphics are also amazing, there's no lag whatsoever, and in general, it's just very smooth, crisp, and responsive. Even during Closed Beta.
I am going to play the game some more tomorrow and see how things continue, though I don't plan to play too much, 'cause I don't wanna spoil too much before launch. But so far, I'm very impressed.