It was also spoiled for me by Nintendo Power, but I remember being really excited to find it out (even if by spoiler, rather than by playing). I loved going to Alefgard and seeing the changes to the land. Getting to see Haukness before it was destroyed was awesome.
I was glad to have played them in the intended sequence of 1-2-3. My son is playing through the trilogy for the first time now, and I am doing my best not to spoil that for him. I want it to be a true surprise when he reaches Alefgard. He is in the middle of DQ2 Mobile right now.
Quick update to report on progress. Things are moving nicely. Finished Neos and then decided to move west instead of south-east. I am doing the entire western continent + Orkutsk region as one collection to help optimize the strip-mosaic work. Kind of wish I had done this with North-East and South-East continents, but wasn't sure my PC could handle it. Turns out it can!
Anyway, here are some scaled down graphics to show the results. Neos at 40% zoom and the partial progress on Western Continent at 12% zoom.