Finally hit cap on the CBT1. Ran the Bastion dungeon which was pretty decent. Not a whole lot of drops on these things, but at least the spoils are tradable. Here's Arliman at 22.
Overall the game is fun. It was certainly lively and social with how many people were running around. I didn't find the story all that bad, just terribly cliche. The writing is actually much better than Aion. My biggest gripe was that the font was way too small in many places and the UI is just ugly. Still its a very solid MMO that hits all the expected points, and there's a ton of group quests 20+ so the impetus to group up is there, something I felt was lacking with TOR. Anyway I had fun - it certainly doesn't break any molds outside of the combat system, but that's a good thing imho. The inspection and enchanting system is a pretty neat way to encourage gear hoarding. The glyph and crystal augment system is equally well done, but i'm not a big fan of having crystals randomly break on death. Some of the good ones are hard to come by.
I'm not sure what they're doing with crafting though. It's very similar to Aion in that you require vendor materials, but the cost is so incredibly exorbitant, I don't see how they expect anyone to do it. The UI and setup for it are well-thought out and intuitive, if a bit small (the fonts and icons). Between all of these systems, in addition to the dyeing andappearance modification, you have probably the most robust customization I've ever seen in an MMO. I have yet to see any piece of gear in this game look bad. I'm really curious to see how much fidelity the HD textures will add to an already stunning game.
Would I recommend the game? It really depends on the kind of MMORPGer you are. If you're in lust with TOR, there's very little in the game to compete with Bioware's cinematic storytelling. TOR has a much better single player experience if that's your bag. Gameplay-wise, I think TERA trumps it pretty handily. If you're still playing WoW Aion or Rift, you should definitely check it out. The mechanics are very similar, the combat is really interactive, and the game is goooooogeous. TERA is not the second coming for the genre, but its a highly polished game that brings some new elements to freshen things up. I think it will do well when it launches.
Also for those who still think this game is a typical Korean grinder. I did 1-22 in just under 8 hours - the level cap is 58. There are more than enough quests - main storyline, side-stories and repeatables, to keep your progression chugging along at a nice clip. You even get your mount at level 11 which makes traversing this monstrously huge game much easier.