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I though I too would share my experience with MO, trying to be neutral. I start a new topic in order to not derail the others. My PC specs are the following: win7 64bit, i5 750 @ 2.67GHz, Nvidia GTX 460 1gb, 4gb ram.
So, took me about 10 hours to patch the game up, with 20mb/sec net. Once patched, I asked some friends to help me with character creation, resulting in halfbreed mellee fighter (they just told me to put everything in size). Once in game, I looked around, noticing some newbies running around, about five or seven, and a red "training" bow skill by killing newbie NPC. First thing I noticed, is that despite my character being 23 years old, he not only can barely run or walk fast but also doesn't know how to rest, so much for the realism. Graphics, however, surely improved, game looked quite good on max settings, even if a bit laggy.
I saw no skills I could use, so I figured I had to talk to someone, which was right. After talking to few NPC I received resting, taming, mining and wood cutting skills, but also noticed some NPC called mushroom vendor. Intrigued, I spoke to him, to find out he was giving me a "task" (for the lack of better description) to go collect some mushrooms and sell them to him, so I can afford to buy something else (so much for no themepark quests, eh?). Well.. fair enough, I went off picking mushrooms. Was a bit buggy, if you were just a tiny bit further then you should, game tried to pick mushroom anyway, without giving you any kind of error message.
Oh well, with 100 mushrooms in my bags, I went back to the NPC and sold them, receiving about 100 copper coins (which I had to manually add to trading window.. this is just plain poor). At this point, game froze on me, so I had to kill the process and relog. When I came back to the game, it started getting dark, but some nice player handed me a torch for free (cheers!), so I could continue exploring. I decided to chop some wood, but before I could do so, server went down.
After few minutes, I could log back in, and started with wood chopping only to discover that the animation still makes you seasick, so I left the character whacking at the tree and went to make me some tea and sandwich. When I came back I had some wood and my stats have gone up, so I figured I'd explore around a bi, but before I could do that, server went down again.
I figured I'd try running the game in windowed mode, for easier alt tabbing, but going windowed resulted in me having two mouse pointers with no way to fix it, so I switched back to full screen and tried logging back in.. With no avail, server was still down.
I guess I will just leave my char whacking at the tree over the night, and hope for the server to stay up long enough so I will have decent stats tomorrow. To sum up my experience.. it was not horrible, but neither was it good. It is a disaster of a starting experience having to collect mushrooms and whack at trees to grind up stats, but I guess all MMOs feature such tedicous tasks, even if one would think that a "sandbox" would try a different approach. Graphics surely improved a lot, despite looking a bit raw. I have not tried combat yet, or any crafting, so that's for sunday.
I was a bit surprised however to see any starting NPCs at all, which were decent at introducing basic stuff to the player. It did look like last minute work, with them just standing in the middle of the forest, but it's better then nothing.
Server stability however is a disaster. ~9 months after launch, and it crashes 4 times a day, specially considering how important it is for SV atm to impress new players.