I owned 2 at one time. Keyword "owned"
I purchased both of mine (XG's) new in the box from the same retailer about a month apart. One I tricked out and even had Lee design and build a custom rod for. No issues with the reel. Not a single hiccup. I had about a year's time on the water with it. 3/4 oz jigs, 1 oz topwater and all the way down to 1/4 oz jigs. 30# braid, 65# braid, 10# Fluoro and 12# Fluoro. Again, not a single hiccup.
I had been following discussions on 2 other forums about this reel since it was released. Still following it today. You have two crowds. Those who wanted to love it/had it fail, those who had zero issues with it. I fell into the 2nd category and honestly loved the reel. Tried to convince our resident "Shimano newer than E series hater" to try one and he wouldn't budge.
After the 20th or so report of issues with it I started to doubt it. I mentioned earlier that I had two. The other one was still new in the box. I don't think I even spooled the thing. The bottom started dropping out on prices so I put mine up for trade or sell. I couldn't find a buyer to give me even 275 for it. When I found a good trade, I took the reel out of the box to shoot a video of it to prove it was new etc. I lost my collective shat when all I heard was geary noise and grinding. I probably spent 3 days going over every inch of that reel and could never find what the issue was. I took it back.
Used the money and bought a NIB Core 100MG7. What I should have bought in the first place. At that point I flipped the tricked out one too. Went to a Chronarch MGL XG and flipped it for another Core.
Lesson learned. I came out good, as I never paid more than 295 for either of the two Metanium MGL's though. I'm probably the biggest Shimano fanboy I've ever known. There isn't another reel in my house that doesn't say Shimano on it. I'll never own or recommend another MET MGL to someone. Those that I did recommend it too, my apologies and I owe you a beer.
Mike, it looks like you got one of the good ones. Watch the main gear on that reel close. The material they used obviously has some issues as that's generally where the problem lies. Guys sending them back to Shimano or replacing the gears are getting a few weeks out of them before they have the same issues. Both spool bearings are lower quality as well. Not horrible, but not what Shimano has been known for in their high end stuff.
Since the release of the MET MGL, Shimano has produced two new baitcasters. Both the Chronarch MGL and the Curado 200K. Both have the same Micro Module Gearing as the MGL, but both are brass. They have used a better quality bearing in both the CH and CU too.
Something else that doesn't sit well with me. There is a forum that is known for its detailed reviews of all the major players stuff. They generally review every Shimano made from the 500 dollar Antares to the cheap 50 dollar stuff. Why has the MET MGL not been reviewed? Not even a preview review.