Thanks for answering my question. What about the other half lol. Thanks in advance.
I didn't answer it all for a reason, because I'm not wholly sure how to answer the rest. I've been playing for a few months only and despite having taken a few jobs to 99 and messing around in abyssea quite a bit I haven't messed around with mission lines etc.
And, having all the addons and xpacs I cannot comment on what it'd be like without them, because at 75+ (sometimes sooner) I've always been in abyssea, sorry.
Edit: If you wanted to know if it's easy/possible to get to 99 without abyssea the answer is very much yes. People still regularly pt burning pages in Bostaunieux Oubliette on leeches. I think it maxes at something like 4200 exp per page (9 leeches). You can easily make it to 99 there and get merits as well. That being said, I still think an average (and especially an above average) pt in La Theine abyssea doing worms would net a better exp yield.
Edited, Feb 3rd 2013 9:00pm by Oaxacan