I think the online game is AWESOME. Sure, the lack of dedicated servers meant the games would be small, but the lag was "more fair" to people with slower connections. The online cheating was rampant for awhile, but then we got Kicker Helper (it's a hosted site on JK.net now you can still download and use it, very simple program). This is the game that got me into online multiplayer and I'm very nostalgic about it!
The trick now is finding people to play, but it can be done. The gameplay is SO much faster than JK2 or JA, and the powers and weapons are insane. Sure the graphics are dated, and the learning curve high, but once you get into it, it's just loads of fun. You feel like super heroes. The saber dueling may seem lackluster now, but the general atmosphere and competition with guns, bombs and force powers is great. CTF is great too. If you can find anyone, but to get a taste of what it was like, go over to http://rbots.massassi.net
and download the Rbots mod. They are kind of easy though, but better than nothing!
I wish LA would release an update for this game to improve graphics and give it dedicated server capability or release the source (like ID software did with Doom) to let people do more extensive mods and improvements. Basically the only thing against this game right now is the primitive engine. But I think the MP is still unique and fun. It rivals the other games in sheer intensity when things really get going! (except for the saber dueling, like I said before, which is much more simplified and there is no dedicated dueling mode, so you just have to pretend or be quick!).