Dough the game is awsome, it's designed as a money trap, more of a free trial then free to play. Read below the dots
The graphics are very good, recently they added options for dx10/dx11 users. It's a real treat, more then expected from a MMO. Weapons glow, shine and exibit vibrant colors, according to their current upgrades. Shields and armor feature reflections, bloom and all the works.
The sounds are right on spot - swords clutter, armor hits give a metal ding, spells whoosh, fire damage gives a satisfying searing sound. It's all there.
The dungeon master is voice acted and adds ALOT to the role play of the game.
The gameplay is fluid and well thought. The dungeons feel hand made, with deadly clever traps and nifty puzzles. The atmosphere is dark in dungeons and you'll get claustrophobic. Many times you'll get the survival/horror feeling, just because your mana and health does not regenerate. Potions are scarce and expensive. The outside environment is beautiful, you'll wonder around in open areas just to enjoy the scenery.
As expected from any D&D game, there are loads and loads of feats and enhancements for your class and race. The sheer customization is just awsome - for instance, a ranger can go into ranged specialization and follow the Arcane Archer path; or follow the dual wield class and go into Tempest class; or maybe none of the above and specialise in both; or maybe specialise in Favored Enemies and be the ultimate slayer of a particular enemy; or play it like a caster and use his spells to buff up then close in melee; OR multiclass into fighter (and use heavy armor), monk (and use kamas for awsome criticals), rogue (and become the ultimate scout/assassin).
With all this class customisation, it is very easy to botch things up and make a mistake. The game is quite unforgiving if you chose a bad feat for instance or if you put a point in the wrong stat. Not very friendly to those not versed in D&D rules.
The crafting is so complex and good I won't even go into details.
Now, all I have said above make it a 9/10 game. It is absolutely the best MMO I have played so far. People who are willing to pay around 100$ for a 12 months VIP will enjoy all that and more. Much more. But for people wanting to play it for free (like myself) there's a big disappointment and should definetly stay away from it. Ergo my low score.
First off -if you're a free subscriber, you can only post 1 item in the auction house. Money is limited to you and you are allowed to carry only a certain ammount, which grows with level. For instance at lv6 you can only carry a maximum of 40k pp. And most good items in the acution for that level cost 100k+. So yeah, pretty annoying, but can be circumvented by trading items for other items. Oh yes, and you are limited to only 2 maximum chars. If you want any more of the above, you'dd have to pay real cash.
The game will stop offering you free content after a certain level. By the time you get to lv8 there are only 2 or 3 quests you can do. You can theoretically grind those until you get to level 12. Then there is NO free quest you can undertake, you must BUY and unlock new quests. Granted, the game gives currency for "favor" (aka quest progress) but all that will suffice for maybe another quest to buy. Nobody feels like grinding 1 quest 3000 times to advance to lv20, so that is not a solution.
There wouldn't be any problem if you knew this BEFORE you start playing, but nobody actually tells you this. The producers actually deceive you into thinking you can hit the max level without paying a dime. Yes, you can, if you grind the only quest you have for months. So after 2 weeks investing so much time in the game, you find yourself forced into paying or just abandoning the game.
The forums are very unfriendly if you try to bring this up. No matter how mature and polite you bring this issue up, you WILL get flamed, harassed and mocked by the paying subscribers who find it very offending you might actually want to enjoy the same game for free. Once too often the argument "in a court of law, blah blah" is used to counter anything you might say -nobody wants to sue Turbine for it, we just expect to get what we saw in the comercials, a free to play game in which you can freely enjoy everything and get the max level and items without having to pay! There is a wide gap between legal cause and moral cause. And this game blatantly tears down any moral laws there might be out there.
Bottom line, this game offers just a glorified trial. It is longer then most trials, but it's nothing above that. If you plan on paying, by all means, go for it. If you are expecting a free to play/free to enjoy, better look someplace else, before you fall into the money trap that awaits.