Once accepting of the fact that the game is intended to be fueled with player purchases, there's some remarkable features to it. As mentioned previously, leveling is pretty swift, and the initial gearing up can be completed fairly quickly. On the other hand, the game does tend to go a bit overboard on the numbers, giving the illusion that a player is achieving more than he or she would achieve in the same amount of time in another game. You can also acquire experience even when you're in AFK mode, albeit at an understandably lessened level.
The game also has trials of various higher-level goodies as a means to entice you to become a VIP or buy ingots for real money. These trials last for a couple of hours each and feature things such as some of the cash shop outfits or a temporary upgrade to your starter mount that makes it look far better than the basic one you acquire early on in gameplay. VIP access grants a player 100% rewards on the various 'click here for a free reward!' icons, although I was puzzled when I was given the choice to retrieve lost EXP and the game wanted me to spend in-game silver to gather the EXP I had somehow lost because I didn't do the dailies.
The game does involve some sort of crafting, but there's no real need for an auction house, because it's so heavily geared toward a player going directly to the in-game shop to buy whatever's needed if they didn't get it as a drop. Still, there is a Trading Post available, but it's very much underutilized. On the server I chose to play on, the entire Trading Post had only 72 items up for sale, and well over ¾ of the items were being sold for ingots. The remainder were able to be bought with in-game silver. You can modify your gear through various stones, scrolls, and orbs and such through the use of the Forge interface, but again, if you didn't get the materials through a drop, you have to buy them for ingots (and thus, real money). Of course, paid VIPs get better success rates in using the Forge to modify your gear.
The game as a whole for what it is works very well. Everything is funneled toward the cash shop, and the system works well... for what it is. There are cross-server connections that allow players the various servers to interact via chat and the Trading Post. The servers operated like clockwork, and the graphics are lovely.
I don't like my games to be where I click a button, go make a sandwich, and come back to see what happened. By the fourth hour of exploring the game, I was quite done with it. There wasn't anything to do beyond click, auto-path, click, auto-path, and so on. A player who likes a bit of action in their games will find this one quite stultifying. There was no real exploration beyond the auto-pathing needed for the quests. One of the quests required PVP, and it was literally click, watch the auto-attacks on both sides, then be done with it in like 5 seconds.
The constant teases of adding things to one's character were grating after an hour or so, with world announcements being overlaid with non-achievement announcements, and when certain players spammed certain achievements, a proper /ignore would have been nice.
The game doesn't include any real tutorial or explanation for the ever-so-busy game space on the official site, with the only guides being supplied by players on the official forums. Clicking on all of the things to see what they do shows the word 'buy' far more often than many players would like. The addition of the MySpace-like 'come hither' glittery icons gives the impression that the game is intended for young people easily distracted by shiny things. For example, while I was idling just now and someone with cosmetic sparkling angel wings rode past my character on a floating rainbow-colored angler fish.
The game does require grouping for certain content to progress, and there are quests where you have to PVP to continue your story. However, the swiftness of combat makes it almost impersonal. There are guilds called Clans in the game, with players being auto-added to a generic Clan after a certain period of time. There are certain perks to being in a Clan, such as the ability to summon stronger bosses that drop better loot, but in an afternoon idling around and trying to drum up conversation on the Clan channel, no one was too keen on interacting.
There seems to be something of a community between the two or three servers that interacted with one another on the global chat channel, players chatting with each other in a rather friendly manner. Certainly, while the conversations were less fast and furious than I've seen on the MMOs I play on, they also didn't feature the sort of juvenile (or worse) behavior that is a frequent feature of those MMOs and their general chat channels.
Social status also helps with gathering materials for certain upgrades, and you acquire social status by giving flowers to other players and receiving them in return. This increases a stat called Intimacy (not physical, but social), and this helps you garner better rewards.
I'm going to take up my harp here and make it into a verb, but Yitien is pay-to-win. Most of the best items and upgrade materials in the game are available for ingots, which are extremely difficult if not impossible to acquire without spending real money. If you've got plenty of disposable cash on hand, then fine, you can buy all the ingots you like and get uber decked out on a character that's got all the goodies for an avatar that's only three inches tall on the screen. True, you get unspecified bonus items if you buy any but the lowest two options of ingots, but the prices (in ingots) for upgrades and gear is enough that people could easily bankrupt themselves. Having the game shout your name and for certain extreme high-level achievements spam the rest of the game to announce your arrival upon logging in simply isn't worth the effort to that that sort of response. The game also makes a very big deal pointing out the names of the VIPs (the haves) and not commenting on the non-VIPs (the have-nots), all the while encouraging/browbeating people into buying the shiny purple tag.
Yitien was a difficult game to review, because it was so mind-numbing that I had to make an effort just to log back in. I felt no challenge to any of it, other than struggling to navigate the far-too-complex labyrinth of upgrades, gear, stats, and options. I never felt invested in my character or her progression in the game and I never felt a real desire to keep playing other than habitually clicking on something.