Well, I took the dive. I started up a F2P (free to play) account with Gemstone IV. After much thought, I opted for a good old reliable Burghal Gnome Wizard. The basis is he's a delusional, crazy gnome who believes he's an Airship Commander, though his airship has of course crashed. Very much into tinkering, being crazy, and trying to re-establish his command. He'll be joining the Guardians of Sunfist, under whom he allegedly obtained his command from. I'm pretty sure it will be great. Or it could suck. Whatever.
I landed in the Landing (hah!) which is great. No need to make things exceedingly difficult and go where there is nobody, like Ta'Vaalor. Also, the Spitefire is making a stop in the Landing this weekend, which will be fantastic. I'm looking forward to it.
A few quick observations:
1) No Gift of Lumnis (EXtreme eXperience eXplosion!) makes it kind of sucky, but hey, at least I'm not gimped for exp gain. Yet.
2) Reduced treasure drops... ABSOLUTELY SUCK. Completing a gem bounty is a virtual impossibility unless you have the gems already. Not even kidding. I think from a 30 minute hunt in sea nymphs I managed to find a green adventurine stone and a star diopside, along with a single locked chest. I maybe netted 800 silver after tipping the locksmith 200 silvers.
Other things really suck, too. We'll see how long I can tolerate it. I give it 24 hours.