I never did go all the way through Vanguards trial, instead starting all my main characters in their homelands. I did start a Rikoo Rakoo after the real one died, mainly to just hold his name in case I ever felt like rezzing him.
Well, I'm so glad I did.
The isle of Dawn is such a blast...it's compact but feels epic. A small download that only takes up 2 gigs, it is a great leaping off point for new players, and feels refreshing to old players like myself. The quests are organized to take you around the island, although pretty much on a railroad track. But I don't mind how linear they are, because they were so fun. Also, you "leave" the island and never see it again, so it feels ok to do a series of quests that end in such a spectacular way.
The last few quests put you right into one of VG's famous open dungeons, meaning that players can come and go, help you out...also they can benefit from YOUR killing of mobs, and I did this a few times. I would land on my flying mount (they introduce you to flying mounts early and I'm sure a new player would feel plenty of awe) and stealth my way past a group of adventurers like a rude golfer.
OF course, sooner than later I found myself not being able to do it alone, so I just asked a group for an invite. They invited and we started killing things left and right, and grabbing quests. They must have seen the content before being that they would not pause long enough for me to read the quest text, let alone understand it (one of my biggest pet peeves.)
But that was OK, I caught up rather quickly, and we stuck it out until the end. I ran out of ammo near the end and had to using my swords, but I enjoy being in the thick of it occasionally.
Afterwards, new players get some good gear to start out with and I can only imagine being teleported to the "main land" for the first time. I remember seeing Khal for the first time, QA Riverbank, Tawar Galan. Such pretty places, but some of them felt a little empty because I felt literally like a stranger in a strange land.
But the Isle of Dawn sets you up to feel as though they have requested you, and it gives you a good base of understanding to start with. Of course, this doesn't take away the epic feelings when you first arrive on the mainland. Such a big place...what to do first?
It was especially strange to do this with Rikoo. It seemed like a decade ago when he hung out in Khal and swam around the river. I even went to the docks and looked down at the water, I remember pulling up the anchor on my gift-boat, the "Raki Fortune" for the first time.
When you play like I do, you sometimes feel left behind. After all, everyone else seems like they are being pulled out of reach, and quickly. I just don't go that fast. I think what happened to Rikoo, and my involvement with the community, was that I got pulled along a little faster than I was comfortable with.
The Isle of Dawn brings back that original feeling, though. That feeling of awe. Whenever a new patch comes out (like the recent one) and everyone is just bitching and whining about every little bug (as though a nice bug report or thread wouldn't bring the bug to the dev's attention) it's hard to believe they are playing the same game.
Here's the deal: one day this game and it's technology will be laughed at, as will all things technological. But for now, it serves it's purpose: to make you have fun, and to show you adventure. The Isle did just that...it felt like I was playing through a good book! One day, while hanging out with an adopted grandchild on a holo-deck somewhere, I will tell him how much fun Telon was. Maybe I'll even program a Isle of Dawn for him to experience!