Let Us Talk About Levels
Ok, so, what do you have to do to gain levels? It is simple. Play golf. Lots of golf. It is the only thing you can do to increase your level. When you group with one to three other people, you gain levels faster because you can gain experience from their good shots. You get more experience for pars, birdies, eagles, etc. The round will go slower with more people, but the experience gain is usually worth it. Especially if you play with people of a higher level than yourself. When you enter a course to play, you get to see who is starting a round, the number of holes, players, if it is skins or regular, etc. You can choose which group to join, or play solo. Skins games are playing for NG's. First one to hit the hole wins the pot.
Back in The World, is where the venders are. You can buy better equipment, balls that increase power, impact, skill, clubs, clothes, etc. They also have a website where you can purchase items with real money, such as things that will buff you and give you double experience, or double NG's, increase your stats, decrease fatigue and more. You purchase these items from the website, then go in game where they appear in your locker.
The graphics are pretty well done, if nothing spectacular. The backdrops are pretty, but seem to be as in a cheap movie, painted on. The trees and assorted fauna will wave in the breeze as you get closer, but not at distance. The water is smooth, the ocean courses do not have too many waves.
There is a large variety of courses, each harder than the last. There are a couple of real life Korean golf courses recreated faithfully (so they tell us), but most were invented for the game. There are ocean courses that are fairly breezy, courses that are mostly hills, and even a desert course that is mostly sand, with a few green spots to try and land the ball. It is also windy there.
So, is this a MMORPG or Not?
Short answer would have to be no. It is Massive, it is Multiplayer, it is online. But the Role Playing is limited to sitting on benches in The World to rest and decrease your fatigue. There is chatting going on here amongst the players, buying, trading, the usual begging for NG's, and guys hitting on the cute girl toons who are sometimes actually girls. But the purpose for The World is to get to one course or another, buy things, or rest. That's about it. There are missions as they call them, but they are 'if everyone in the group pars or better, you get x amount of NG'. There are Guilds, but the only purpose I saw for them is to play in Guild Tournaments. Thus, it is hard to call this an MMORPG.
There are tournaments every now and again, solo and guild. The developers even offer real money prizes in addition to in game schwag. Unfortunately, they postponed the first Guild Tournament until they got a handle on hackers. Apparently hacking has been a bit of a problem in the game. I can remember seeing one person get a hole in one on every hole in beta and a hole in one on a par five is kind of a tell tale sign. When someone gets a hole in one, it flashes on the screen for all to see. It was much more rampant in beta than in release, and they supposedly have it somewhat under control, though it casts a dark shadow on real money prizes when the possibility of cheating is present.
Let Us Wrap This Up
To sum it all up, bottom line, will you like the game? If you like golf sims, this will be a fun game for you. There is plenty of golf to be played on various courses with different graphics, environments and challenges. It has elements of a persistent world, and you can play it totally free. If you choose to pay a fee, you get your name in gold, you get NG's and other perks, like lower green fees and extra equipment, but none of that is totally necessary.
If you do not like golf sims, there is nothing else here to hold your interest. No quests, monsters to fight, places to explore, etc. It is all golf, golf and more golf. To get levels, you golf. To get NG's you golf. If you do not golf, all it will be is a golf themed chat room.