Yes I got the mail. I'm not entirely sure what the point of a message saying "join me in Vanguard" is when I'm playing it already and you aren't but I did get it.
The devs believe that they are making the "next-generation MMO" which means they think they are taking all the good features of existing games and throwing away the bad ones, as well as adding their own ideas. Whether or not that's true is open to debate. What's certain is that there are things you'll recognise from other games and things you won't.
Like most games it's based on a class and level system. You level up and spend money learning your choice of new skills from your trainer. The combat is OK. Health, endurance and mana. Abilities with cooldowns. Special attacks that can only be used at a particular time, eg parry-riposte. The animations are reasonably cool. There's no combat queue. Mash button to activate when ready or autoattack.
I did find the autoattacking a bit annoying though. After initiating combat you start autoattacking which may not be what you want because as soon as the autohit move is ready it will fire; tough luck if you were planning on hitting a special move instead. You can toggle autoattack off but it will come back on again after your next attack. So my attack chain is something like: Special, toggle off auto, Parry, Special, toggle off auto, Special, toggle off auto, Parry, Special. Or you can just autoattack but that isn't recommended if you want to win the fight efficiently.
There's crafting and harvesting which I haven't looked into at all because crafting and harvesting are boring.
What I have looked into, and spent quite a while on, is Diplomacy. This basically involves running around talking to NPCs and engaging them in a card game. If you win the game you get Stuff, faction points, Diplomacy XP and plotlines. It's quite cool. A quest may, for example, ask you to find out what a person knows about something so you go and "parley" with that person to get more information. You play the card game with the NPC and each round which you win advances the dialogue. If you win the whole game you will get the full dialogue and thus progress the quest. You can also engage in conversation with random NPCs in towns. Victory then shifts the political alignment of the town and if enough players shift the alignment in the same direction Stuff may occur. Buffs for everyone in the city, spawns, loot and lots of other good stuff. If you lose the parley you forfeit faction and can't talk to that character again for a few minutes.
The world is quite big and the graphics are nice although you might not notice as the view distance is set quite low by default and resets to minimum every time you go swimming. Luckily there's a key to increase it and you can see a fair old distance without too much performance penalty. There's a lot to explore and at level 10 (in either fighting or crafting) you can get a horse to ride around on. I actually got a horse as a reward from a Diplomacy quest but I couldn't keep it because my combat level was less than 10. That was somewhat annoying. I did get to ride it for a while though. Long enough at least to learn that it's not much help in combat. Get attacked and you are bundled off your horse. Doh.
The game can be quite harsh like that. Indeed the devs want it to be a hardcore, challenging game. At one point I made my way to another city where, I discovered, I had no faction. I was promptly attacked by a skill trainer(!) and couldn't fight back because skill trainers aren't attackable. Didn't stop him chasing after me and killing me! If you die past level 7 you get XP debt and corpse runs to contend with although you can buy a (cheap) item to bind your items so they don't get left on your corpse when you die.
The servers seem quite stable. It was up and down in the first few days and mostly fine since then and it doesn't seem too laggy. The game is like SWG in regard to its zones. The continents are all in separate zones but within each continent everything appears to be seamless. Until you cross a server boundary when the game freezes for a few seconds and the camera resets.
There are some issues. Diplomacy can be frustrating with low ranked NPCs having unbeatable hands and the "Informants" - who are supposed to allow you to trade in the information (ie loot) you get from winning parleys and buy new cards, clothes and presence - not working at all. The word on the street is that crafting has some fatal bugs. Combat is mostly OK but I've seen people in broadcast chat complaining about significant bugs that only affect groups. The biggest bugs I've seen with combat are mobs warping away or becoming invisible while still fighting you and their health bars not diminishing when you beat on them, thus leaving you to guess whether you are close to defeat or victory.
There's a /played command which shows you the total amount of time you've spent in the game and mine is now showing around 30 hours. I'm quite enjoying it so far. In comparison I was sick of WOW within 30 minutes so the game does seem to have potential.