Well, I was in no way satisfied with my first game. Thankfully, this had nothing at all to do with the rules I decided to use - except, perhaps, that I focused primarily on having those ready in time, and not on organizing my player group into a Circle before play.
I thought it would be mighty clever to toss out the standard convention of awkward unions-because-the-ST-says-so, and instead opt to allow my players to grow close of their own volition. This was an enormous mistake, for reasons I'll describe below, but it has taught me an important lesson: Let the players feel awkward at the start of a game. If you need to explain things canonically, do so in a flashback. To that effect, I think I'm going to have my Circle meet, and then conduct a little experiment.
About the session, first, we have the bad. I completely left 50-75% of my players out of 50-75% of the game. This is because I chose an episodal format for my introductions. Brandon (CrownedSun) and Olof one introduction together, wherein they both Exalted as Solars much less spectacularly than I would have liked. I had a suspicion that the both of them were feeling sympathy pains for me the entire time - thankfully, this led them to go easy on me, and they played their parts peacefully and then stepped into the background for the rest of the game.
Haren waited patiently for her turn, and the game seemed to gain momentum from there - sadly, that was near the end of the game. I intended, afterward, to run a spot for John (Telgar) and then go back to Brandon and Olof, but instead I capped the game after John's scene (which also went well - sorry I didn't work you in sooner, man!).
In summary, I now remember why I prefer to play. :-)
But there were good spots, also. I definately know where to take Brandon and Olof next, and I can absolve the group into one Circle soon after Kaine's first appearance. On top of that, I still have complete faith in the separate plot strands of my storyline - it seems even more solid now!
I hope they appreciate the significance as much as I do, when they either lead the world to a terrible new Conjunction, or unite it with unquestionable bliss.