Hiya, just here to help.
I never got to play Shadowbane back in the day. The game came out in an era when P2P MMOs began flooding the market and I think that is one of the main reasons it isn't still alive today. I've been checking this site every now and then for the past 2 years, waiting for the opportunity to play. I just started a couple days ago. Here's my experience so far.
The first thing I dealt with was the game settings. The in-game settings don't let you adjust the resolution to custom values, and I didn't know about SBconfig.exe. After tweaking the settings, I made my character.
I forget where I read, but an explanation of attributes made it sound like dexterity affected movement speed, so I have a mage with a ton of a dex right now
Definitely one of the pluses for me with Shadowbane is the amount of races and classes though. I ended up with an Irekei Fury.
After getting in game, the next thing to deal with is the UI and controls. This was definitely the hardest thing to deal with for me, lol. It took me a while to find out that I cannot use a WASD+Mouse control scheme, so it took some time getting used to that. I have to right click to move, and use the edge of the screen for the camera. I believe most of the SB veterans probably use arrow keys or numpad for camera, but I'm not sure I can get used to that. Which is a common problem with older MMOs. They all have different control schemes and UI mechanics, whereas all the modern MMOs typically work exactly the same. I certainly like being able to put my abilities anywhere on the screen, I've never understood why so many games don't do this, and only have hotbars.
Finally, it's time to start adventuring. I don't know if SB has quests, so I started looking for mobs to grind. I never saw any other player, except one named magea who was clearly botting on a group of Risens just outside the village. I claimed the nearby group of haunts for myself.
I like being able to choose where to spend my points, choice is pretty non-existant in the modern MMO. Having no idea if I was even on the right track with my character, I began using the who command and started sending random people tells, but sadly none ever responded. I did seem to notice a lot of idle players, then later found out about "buffbots." Being spammed with PVP messages, I knew there had to be players in the world somewhere, but I don't know when or where that happens. With my ridiculous sleep patterns I am often online at completely off hours, I'm sure this is the main reason I didn't run into other players. I did eventually find one guy with whom I grinded on some ratmen with. After he left, I soloed the camp to level 21. He had also given me some potions that buffed all of my stats, hugely, which I later found to be pretty cheap from an alchemist vendor.
The last thing I want to bring up before the TL;DR list is that it's nice to have a number of abilities. These modern MMOs where you have only 1 hotbar OR LESS of abilities is kind of driving me mad.
TL;DR; a list of things that should be made more obvious to new players and put in new player guides:
-Help with settings, SBconfig.exe, resolutions, etc
-Help with UI (maybe make resizeable map part of the default files, I found this tip on the forums)
-Detailed information on attributes
-Info about alchemist and runemaster
-^Teleporting is free?!
-Items need to be sold to appropriate vendors
-Identifying I think increases the sell value of items? Does everyone get the identify power?
-IRC channel? I can't seem to find one if it exists. This is pretty important IMO.
There's probably a lot more I could add. I think a lot of the people who have written newbie guides (which I'm grateful for, btw!) forget what it's like to be a TRUE newbie to a game, especially older MMOs which are a lot different. So a lot of the guides are more stretched out and more based on telling you where to go to level. Anywho, I hope my advice is helpful!