I have progressed a little in RoM over the past couple of weeks and gotten my main, Silfain, up to Knight 26/Warrior 25 and she is a fairly sturdy tank. Seeing as I have reached the half way point (in levels, if not in absolute time), I figured it would be a fine time to talk about advancing in RoM.
First thing is questing... the early levels of RoM are full of quests. From the moment you start your adventures in the newbie village, you will be innundated with quests. There are quests to kill mushroom guys, quests to kill wolves, quests to post messages on a town bulletin board, quests to get gift bags of starter equipment from merchants, quests to harvest wood and herbs, quests to talk to other quest givers who are standing 5 meters away from the original quest giver.
Sarcasm aside, the point is that there are a lot of quests and that they generally don't stray too far from the tried and true, step, fetch and kill quests that have become the meat and potatoes of mmos nowadays. The game boasts over 1000 quests (though a couple of them literally last the time it takes you to rotate your character and click the next guy over) and overall, they do a good job progressing you through the "story" of the game (though I have to admit, I don't read quest text in most of my MMOs), of guiding you from area to area, and of providing a few pieces of nice gear to keep you motivated.
Most quests are soloable, and quests are one of the main ways a new character will gain experience, gold and stuff. However, even early on, a few of the quests will "Bump" you into encounters with elite creatures that will require you to outlevel the quest somewhat, or group, to complete them. This isn't a bad thing though, as there are normally players on chat continuously looking to group for these bosses -- help is often only a quick "lfg" away.
Another item of note is the concept of Daily Quests. Scattered throughout the world are bulletin boards from which characters can pick up quests. Each day, a character can pick up 10 quests from the board. The quests are all to kill x creatures and gather y drops from them, or to kill a specific roaming boss monster (there are several of these nasties wandering every zone), so they aren't particularly exciting. However, they offer decent xp and gold and tokens that can be used in the cash shop, so they are reasonably rewarding. More importantly, the items you need to collect drop from mobs even if you don't have the quest in your log. That means, you can collect items as you are exploring, grinding, or completing other quests and when you find you have the requisite number of teeth/tusks/eyeballs/mountain oysters (ok, I made that one up) in your inventory, head to the local bulletin board and sign up for the quest, which you have already completed.
Of course, as you complete the boatload of quests you are given, you will naturally gain experience and progress in the game. The early levels come very quickly, as they seem to do in almost every MMO now, and an experienced player can literally bang out the first 10 levels in under an hour. Once you reach this "milestone", you can head off to the city of Varanas and sign up for your second class (remember, all characters in RoM are dual-classed)... at which point, you have to level up all over again as a member of your new class.
This isn't as bad as it first sounds. You are given lots of help to start your second career. First, you get a new set of starter gear for your second profession. Second, you are given a teleport spell that takes you to your original starter village, where you will find that a few new quests have opened up since you first arrived. Alternately, you can teleport to a new newbie area where you can interact with a whole new race of goat-people? and do new and painfully similar quests to the ones elsewhere in the game -- still it is new scenery (though I have only gone there once because I am a dirty powergamer). Finally, the way the quest turn-ins and daily quests work, you can level your second class pretty easily. Heck, you never even have to PLAY your second class if you don't want to.
Let me explain...
The quests available to you are based on the level of the class you are playing as your primary at that moment. When you turn in a quest, you get experience applied to the class you are playing at that moment. So, if I am playing a newly minted Knight 10/Warrior 1, I can make sure I am playing my Knight primary, take a level 10 quest and complete it, switch to my newbie warrior and turn in that same quest for the level 10 experience reward.
My standard procedure with a new alt is that once I hit level 9, I will take quests and complete them, but not turn them in. Instead, I will grind from 9 to 10 on kill experience only. Once I ding 10, I will get my second class, then head back and do all my turn-ins. This gets me somewhere between level 5 and 7 in my new class with no effort. The same concept can be applied to dailies too. You can take and complete daily quests as you higher level class, then turn in as your lower level class to catch up.
Now, not everyone does this. Since every character in RoM is essentially two separate builds, I could easily see wanting to play both to see how they perform. I often take breaks from my K/W with his defense-oriented sword and board play to the W/K with his whirling two-handed sword of doom. Still, it can be daunting leveling two separate times and collecting two separate sets of gear and it is nice to have strategies so that doing so is unecessary.
Another feature of RoM is that each class combination has a set of "Elite" skills that are gained when both primary and secondary classes hit level 15, 20, 25, 30, etc. These skills give each combo a unique flavor and further increase the power of the character. However, these elite skills come at a cost. When you hit 15/15, you will buy your first pair of elite skills (one skill for each combination). The cost? A mere 8000 gold and a few second tier combines of each of the three resources in the game.
Now that does not sound like much at first, but the way the crafting in RoM works out, it means harvesting 72 of each resource from the newbie zones. In my case, that is pretty easy; mindless harvesting doesn't bug me too much because I have forced labor in the form of children ("Now you walk around, click on those things and collect Daddy 80 of each, Ok?"). My buddy hates harvesting and crafting of any type and just dumped 40k on the market for the goods.
Later levels of elite skills are worse. The level 20 elites cost a similar amount of combines from higher level resources... which means you better have leveled your gathering skills far beyond the small amount required to harvest for your 15 elites. The level 25 elites requires farming 15 crystals from one of the game's instances. The crystals do drop, but it will take several runs and you better be able to solo the elites, or find a group (which means sharing the crystal drops).