... on Monday, for those who have preordered the game, so I'm a little late posting about it, but hey, I've been busy playing the game... So far, I'm enjoying the game a lot. I've gotten past the point where I was in beta, so I'm exploring new territory now.
There's a good variety of missions, and you are rewarded mostly for achieving the objective, so the game doesn't have as much of the grindy feel you get in other games. I don't have to run around sinking ship after ship. Some missions can't be solved by combat alone: for example, if you are tasked with racing a boat through a blockade, there is no way to win the mission by sinking every vessel in the instance. The missions aren't always out on the ocean either; there are a number of escort quests. There are even entirely story-driven quests where you talk to people to advance the mission; the writing is even pretty good!
As a casual player, this game is pretty ideal for me; many missions only take 10-20 minutes (if even that much). Since most missions start from the coxswain, I don't have to trek half a map to get to the mission; I simply start it, finish it, and move on to the next instantly. The only running around happens afterwards when I turn it all in.
I suppose that's one advantage of instancing, but there is one disadvantage: I see the loading screen a whole lot in this game. They may have overdone this. There doesn't appear to be a single door in the game that actually opens. I guess that gives them the flexibility of always changing what might be behind that door. I suppose that's a very minor nitpick for what is overall a great game.