At character creation I chose my race and gender, that's it. There's nothing else to choose because how your character develops is determined 100% by what you choose to do in game. There was a bit of a surprise in that the story starts on the character creation screen. When I first logged into the game proper I had a long conversation with an NPC that contained a lot of branching dialogue options. I then tried to look at a book near him, and was promptly informed that it was his book and I should leave it alone. I was allowed to eat some gruel from a bowl nearby on the floor, however :-)
The room contained a lot of mushrooms, and when I clicked on one I was informed that I had gained one level in mycology. At that point I had no idea what mycology was for, but figuring that more points in it must be good I ended up grabbing every mushroom I saw from there on out.
At the entrance to the room was a corpse with a rusty long sword embedded in its back. As it was far superior to the "no weapon whatsoever" I started with, I promptly equipped it. I then headed over to the next room, which was swarming with skeletons. A few swings later I gained my first point of sword skill, and a new attack ability (sword flurry). After that I decided to start throwing in some punches as well. This quickly earned me kick, a knockback attack which synergizes very nicely with sword attacks. For example you can put an armor DoT on a mob with a big sword attack, knock them back with kick, and watch the damage tick down on them as they slowly run back to you.
This is my guy after finding some armor and getting his first combat skills (the armor displayed is not what he is wearing, he just looks like that all the time). As you can see the graphics are currently quite primitive. Of course that's the whole dang point of the kickstarter campaign, to hire some artists. Mechanically the game is extremely innovative, fun, and really rewards exploration and experimentation. I can't say that about a lot of other MMOs I've tried.
Skill based systems where you use an ability to raise the ability have often been quite grindy in other CRPGs I've played. Not at all in Project: Gorgon. Skills go up very quickly, especially at first, and using a combat skill both raises related combat stats (such as health and power) and unlocks new abilities. Just swording skeletons in the face to see what neat new sword abilities I would unlock was quite addictive.
The first time I died I was shocked to discover that "dying gracefully" is also a skill. Every ten ranks you get in it, you gain five health. From the skills I've unlocked so far, that's actually a decent boost. For example, ten ranks of unarmed combat gets you only twice as much health and requires a lot more work then jumping into lava.
Finally, after a good while wandering around picking mushrooms and bashing skeletons, I came to an odd looking side room.
Haven's seen anything like that before...
Nearby is a table with pages scattered on and around it. Two can be read to learn more about what is going on and why snow is coming down from the ceiling.
In the room was a cot with an open book next to it. When I read the book I learned three new recipes. Two for mycology, and one for a new skill: Alchemy. One of the mycology recipes was for spore bombs, consumables that can be used for a powerful (at least in the area I'm messing around in) AoE attack. The other is for spore flakes, an item that is one of four ingredients for the alchemy recipe I learned. Also nearby were some empty flasks. When I later found a pond I was able to fill them with water, giving me another of the four ingredients. Skeletons drop dust, a third ingredient. All I am missing now is sugar, and I honestly have no idea where that is found. The alchemy recipe is for a drug that will give me a some sort of stat boost, but become addictive if I use it too much. I can't wait to see what it actually does.
I am one or two hours in to the pre-alpha and Project: Gorgon has already given me a more unique and intriguing experience than most of the MMOs I've tried in the last few years. This game with decent graphics and animations would be an absolute winner. Mechanically it's already as good as anything else out, and brings a ton of innovation to the table. I really hope the kickstarter hits its goal. The total pledged has started to move up again in the last few days, but it really is down to the wire and has a long way to go still. 55K to finish out a game that is already so far along is not a lot to ask.
Edit (update): I am happy to report that the environmental graphics improve considerably if you make it out of the starting cave (as you can see below).
The character you see in the middle of the shot is me. Through an act of willful stupidity (I was given three warnings to stop drinking the sour enchanted milk...but I kept going to to see what would happen), I got my self turned into a cow. I think it's permanent until I figure out a way to reverse it. To say I've never experienced anything much like this in any other MMO I've played is an absolute understatement.