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It's been in active development for many years and is completely free, unlike Regnum. I've been playing for longer than I would like to admit and there are usually between 150 and 800 players online at any given time.
I tried it a few years back, was missing far too much at the time and nobody I asked was willing to help with any info for beginners.
I haven't loaded Regnum in like a year, mainly because it was too much of a grind fest, but at the time the only thing paying got you was EXP doubler scrolls and mounts, neither of which made a huge difference in game play as they only saved you some time, since you couldn't fight from a horse and if hit on it you could be knocked off and thus take a something like a 5-10 second recover time before you could move, allowing you to be slaughtered by who or whatever hit you. The only player class that would have trouble catching you on a horse would be a Knight, everytihng else has the range or speed to catch you.
EXP scrolls only made sense if you had a grinding party setup so you could maximize party and chain kill EXP modifiers. On your own if you where anything less then a mid level mage type the cooldown and rest times would eat too much of your scroll time.
Aside from that the problem was things to do aside from grind or war at the time, they had come up with randomly modified or craptacular versions of every mob drop gear, but there was nothing to do with the various non equipment items you got from mobs.
Regnum feels like a hack n' slash more than an RPG.