I also play this, I suggest that if your new to multiplayer you should probably play some native first then move to crpg, being able to manual block is pretty important especially at low levels since your shield wont last long.
Be careful with making your character, try and decide what kind of character you want to make before you start, and make sure you don't spread your points to thin eg if you want to be an archer using a 1h+shield is not a good idea since you have to spend extra points on agility and the shield skill that you would otherwise put into strength and power draw). Crossbows are however basically a free choice in that they are still useful with no points spent on weapon proficiency, and don't have a special skill requirement like bows with powerdraw or powerthrow with throwing weapons thus making them good backup weapons for melee users, it means that trying to go as a dedicated crossbowman is a bad idea however, especially since they are much less accurate and slower to reload then native.
There is also another element to crpg called Strategus, it is basically a multiplayer version of singleplayer style warband, however the ingame battles can only be fought so far on the euro or north american crpg servers so lag is a pretty big issue.
The MP in warband is awesome, the combat system has a lot of depth and is a lot of fun, the battle and siege gamemodes can also involve a great amount of teamwork and strategy. Latency is important but lucky there are populated Australian servers that have good ping to NZ, for native the servers are called Games_on_net_Battle etc and the crpg server is Crpg_Australia. Also even in early beta there were more then 2 maps, currently there is about 10 maps normal maps and 6 siege maps, as well as singleplayer style random maps, the games_on_net
attle server also runs a lot of custom maps and the crpg server pretty much only runs custom maps other then ruins and port assault.