I played rift starting in beta 4 all way to 42 . Started release at headstart. I have level 50 rogue(defiant) who ran tier1 experts and level 50 warrior(guardian) plus 3 or so level ~ 10 character I cretead on random servers during long queues on my main one. Time played on all characters ~ 10 days so its definitely not EG style as I seen everything but end game raid:)
Rift is a diku style thempark most closely related to WoW. It clones wow in all aspects of design including tiny details like inventory, UI etc. Not that its bad thing per se ,especially taking into account that it also copies Blizzard's production qualities - very polished game trough and trough.
The good parts:
- Soul system -yes in those big bold letters. because frankly that is main thing which is any way innovative, which is interesting and which was my main reason to play rift at all. On a surface its not really innovative - you get 4 archetypes (mage,rogue, warrior,cleric) each type gets 3 talent trees just like wow. The difference is that there is 8 of them to chose from and you can mix and match them into 4 roles. You can switch between any of those roles any time out of combat.
From one point of view there is not much difference. - In wow you had pve, pvp and (for some classes) tanking specs . What is different here that system is a lot more flexible - more than one way to skin a cat, generally within one calling there are multiple viable ways to to fulfill roles. You can be paladin ,reaver ,void knight , warlord and any mix of them in between to make a tank spec. Many ways to build dps roles (ranged, melee ,aoe etc)
What is more is that archetypes can fulfill more than one role - rogues can tank and offheal, mages can main heal, clerics can tank ,heal and dps
- Zone design and art - pretty good looking ,enjoyed them .Iron peaks was my favorite
- Polish - good enough that there are no rough edges or bug sticking out .
The OK Parts:
- Quests -generic vanilla wow quality quests
- dungeons - passable
- graphics - good, but nothing spectacular or breathtaking
- Rifts - they happen ,you do them. After 10th or so its jsut another game mechanics which does not have significant impact on experience
The bad parts
- Class balance- I never expected that every soul combination would be balanced , what I expected was reasonable viability of each calling vs another one. As it stands now warrior calling completely shadows every other calling to a ridiculous degree .EDIT after patch 1.1. its the pyro.
The awful parts:
- Realm balance. Probably number one factor in decision not to renew my sub. - They split battlegrounds in 4 server cluster, but never bothered balancing them. So it turns out one side completely dominates another (usually its guardians) .Every pvp designer knows losing is not fun , losing makes people quit, maintain 50% W:L ratio or else players will leave in droves.
- World PvP.
Another wow clone. Nice art , polish, content etc. But nothing new. WoW TBC style without arenas. So stick to WoW if you like themeparks.