As you can see (at the time of writing), I haven't played the game much, as such I can only write about first impressions.
Loading the game initially through steam, account setup is pretty basic (log in, verify e-mail, get to playing) except for one tiny detail... you can't choose your user name. The software generates a hash code for your name (around 20 characters in length including upper/lower case letters, numbers, and hyphens ( - ) ) and I have to say... the support team is *FAR* less than helpful (their response : we can't change unique user names)...
Okay, let me rant a moment... so what they're saying is their programmers can't use SQL? Can't use PHP? Can't... um... access their OWN databases? I think not... I think someone is too lazy to correct their mistake. Log in with an e-mail because "that's the username"... but tried logging in with my e-mail and it says "invalid username" but using the hash... all hunky dory.
There, that's out of the way, let's get to the game itself and not the customer service.
The game is old-school. The graphics sit somewhere between Fallout 2 and Fallout 3. The NPCs and "Monsters" are all standing around in one place, tethered to a spot (where they will chase after you for a predetermined distance before giving up and returning to their spawn) ~ a lot like EverQuest 1. The world itself is a little on the empty side, but I cannot honestly say if it remains this way (the internal zones and buildings are pretty cool, and for a game that is set in a wasted world, it's as desolate as it should be).
The story-line is thoughtful and creative, even if it's a little flat and tired. It is interesting, it is engaging, it's just that it's a bit 'old.'
The GMs are super helpful, and I've seen them online every time I've logged in. The help channel is busy, and responsive (I can't even begin to say how refreshing that is)! That said... they have the typical censored chat system that is pretty much par for the course... but don't bother censoring your own words (like: aw s*** that sucks) because a GM will threaten to mute you for language (a redundancy which borders on zealous). Hardly anything to complain about... keep it clean (and PG so you don't offend the super-innocent teenagers playing this game - note sarcasm).
Movement is a bit cumbersome and unweildly ~ but once you're used to it it isn't too bad (such as hitting tab or the middle mouse button to turn on targeting, and therefore a locked mouselook instead of free-look). It's pretty hard to get the camera around front of your character (but it's entirely possible I've just overlooked something).
Skills, stats, levelling, trades... a detailed system. A wonderfully detailed system. APs (which I may mistakenly believe to mean "action points") are granted frequently in small doses for everything from quest completion to simply levelling up your trade skills. Mousing over anything will give you a clear and detailed description of what that thing is for and what it does and what it effects - I've long desired that games did this, some do, but FE starts with this right out of the gate... they do NOT leave you in the dark (as long as you can read at a Junior High level, it's sweet).
Questing is a bit weird to get used to - the map (okay, the map... WOW... if you like detailed maps that don't hold your hand, but make some pretty obvious markers... then this map system is for you - detail, detail, detail... easily one of the most beautiful map systems I've seen in a game in a LONG time)... anyway, the map... shows a little red X on your radar that when you mouse-over it will show you the name of the quest it's for. There are no indications of distance on the radar or for quests, and some quests are a bit ambiguous (really, they just don't hold your hand there - read it... then figure it out ya lazy bums)!
Will I continue playing? You bet. What is the not free to play? Buying keys for dropped lockboxes. Unlocking your entire wardrobe. Paying for premium content (usually access to skills, timers, clothing, zones, etc) in three different monthly plans (from about $12 to $30), not so bad - but pretty steep considering you can get a great deal more out of a game like LotRO (Lord of the Rings Online) for about $15/month, with far better quality and content. Still, not too bad, save that it's comfortably on the expensive side (especially for what it is and offers).
Do I recommend it? Yes. Get past the opening stuff. Put some points into Intelligence and Perception (both of those increase your maximums for tradeskills), and READ THE QUESTS.
If you don't like reading, or actively engaging a game... this isn't for you. I, however, love reading the content in a game (I want to see what other writers and creative teams are doing with their work) and I enjoy a challenge. As such, I really enjoy this.
In short, a rocky start, some negative experience with the customer service and GMs, a bit unweildly and old-school, and expensive beyond the F2P... but a game that grows on you quickly and really eats up time (that's a mark of a good game right there).
Test it out. If you liked Fallout 2 and 3, then you'll probably enjoy this. I don't think it's a "long term" game (as far as playability) in my books, but that's simply my own opinion and nothing more. Plenty of players are really enjoying this game, and that speaks volumes about the overall content and quality.