Ryzom certainly has a very shaky time-line, changing business models, being canceled and then saved. This sounds like a bit of a disaster, but in reality, it's proved that it can survive in the often-harsh MMO industry. A huge part of this resilience is the game's loyal fanbase, and in a recent first-impressions piece over at Eurogamer, it looks like the single server's community is still going strong -- in fact, it might be one of the reasons to give Ryzom a try.
The author of the article documented his first five hours with the game, reporting on each hour's experiences. He learned about the lack of restrictions with class choices, the stanza system (which allows players to customize their abilities), and discovered that Ryzom is definitely a lot more hardcore in terms of the hand-holding gameplay hints that most MMOs offer these days. Luckily, he found a lot of real people willing to help him out in learning the ways of the world.
This all sounds fine and dandy, but there are a lot of negatives too -- chief among these, the unintuitive crafting system, the grinding to raise different levels, and the harsh penalties associated with failure. These things are apparently bad enough to turn a lot of folks away, but for some, it's easy to look past them and enjoy what is there. We'd be interested to know where our readers stand on this title at this more peaceful stage in its life.