[Here is Part 1 & Part 2]
I know the first thing many people think of when they hear 'F2P game' is that it is poor quality, with a bad community and lots of bots. I have to say though, Mabinogi doesn't suffer from any of those things, really. The community isn't anything worse than WoW's, in my opinion (in other words, finding a decent guild makes all the difference), and I think many features of the game are actually quite nice, if a bit rough around the edges. The only bots I've seen are some gold ad spammers in towns, usually only 1 or 2 of them, and they're easy to put on ignore. You see some farming mobs in the wild too, but it's not that bad.
Finding a guild consists of either asking on the realm forums, or else browsing guild obelisks. People who buy a basic pay package (around 9$ a month) can start their own guild, and place markers in the world to advertise it. The bigger and more gilted the obelisk, the larger the guild. Simply click one to submit a short application and read the guild's bio. I put in an app to one that looked pretty decent, because soloing is lonely. =P
Dungeons in Mabinogi are randomly generated, depending on the type of item you drop on the Altar at the entrance. They can be done in groups or solo, and there are even timed 'Boss Rush' and hardmode versions available. In design, they are pretty simple, with corridors that often have herbs or ore to mine, and trapped rooms where you have to kill all the monsters that appear in order to proceed. At the end there is a boss monster that drops enchants, loot, and cash. Pretty basic stuff. The key to profit in dungeons is to buy kill quests for the mobs inside, which give much more gold than simply collecting whatever drops off the mobs themselves.
While in town, I cam across a couple of people playing music. In Mabinogi, you can compose and play your own melodies, as well as sell your compositions to others. The quality is MIDI, but still pretty nice. Of course, you have to practice your skills in order to play well. The little box standing in front is for listener donations. =) It is actually seems feasible to level (or make a living) only through various crafting skills.
[Go to Part 4: Conclusion]