Welcome to Illarion, Evan!
I am pretty sure you will find your way here in Illarion. I am very interested in new player feedback on the game, especially about the first hour. Please let me know if anything caused problems during that time. As you already found out, the Illarion Chat is a very good way to get in contact with the players:
From a developer's perspective, one of the major differences between Illarion and Ultima Online is that Illarion is Open Source. So whenever you want to dig into the details of a game feature or want to propose a change, you can jump directly to the game code and find out all the details. This won't make solving quests or defeating monsters any easier, though
. Illarion is thereby a very open game, very open to proposals and changes. All developers and Gamemasters are (former) players, so you could think of Illarion as a giant sandbox. At the same time, it has to be said that Ultima Online was a commercial AAA title of a major company while Illarion is a spare time project of enthusiasts.
The aspect of the wilderness not being save is confirmed. Safety is only given on some roads. The coastal route between the Kantabi desert and the northern part of Illarion is especially dangerous; it is a slight drawback of the land's layout that we just have a narrow passage there between mountains and the sea. Monster spawns and monster behaviours will be adapted in future, but the wilderness will remain wild. That's why we have safe transporters, ferries and think about adding more transport options to the game.