Rift is free to play now. I'm enjoying it a great deal.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the game, here's a brief primer:
[spoil:2ze8alfr]Rift is a really polished fantasy MMO sort of like WoW, except for a few key differences:
* Souls. You pick from 4 pretty standard classes (warrior, mage, cleric, rogue) BUT, unlike most other MMOs, you're not locked into a single talent tree. You get to mix and match abilities from a ton of talent trees. Do you want to go ranged DPS? Tank? Buffs? Heals? You can. And you can switch between them on the fly. (out of combat, of course) It literally takes like 5 seconds to switch. There's no one way to play your class.
* Rifts. Imagine you're derping around doing a quest. A rift pops up near you and a bunch of baddies spawn on the ground around it. You charge in there and fight them. A couple players join you. You beat wave after wave of enemies. The rift closes and you all get your rewards.
* Invasions. After closing that rift, a whole crapton of 'em open up and tons of soldiers pour out of them - marching on your camps. You join a huge amount of players and duke it out with the enemy. You defend your camps. You push back the invaders. You seal the rifts. Then their leader appears and you bring hell to him. Loot for everyone. (loot is based on participation, not luck)
P.S. You also instantly transport between zones through portals, not tiresome flightpaths. The death penalty is practically nonexistent. You can party up with other players easier than falling asleep. Which you won't be doing any more, because this game is that addictive.
P.P.S. Defiants > Guardians. If you have trouble deciding, consider this: if Jesus existed, the Defiants would capture him, hook him up to a massive war engine, then bombard heaven and hell into submission.[/spoil:2ze8alfr]
* Max cap has been raised from 50 to 60 and it takes a heck of a lot longer to gain news levels in that bracket (a week or two to get from 50 to 60 depending on how heavily you play, which is about how long it takes to hit 50).
* You also earn planar attunement. Makes you better against a specific color of rift and its denizens (life, death, air, earth, fire, water, pvp). You can put points in multiple rift colors. Unknown if you can eventually max out all of them.
* There are now rampage quests - killing an albino werepanda automatically gives you a quest to kill 11 more. Basically, these are genocide quests. Our heroes, ladies and gents!
* Great Hunts. Special rifts that spawn some insanely powerful enemies. Think open-world raiding.
* Lots of new zones. The Storm Legion content is really pretty good. The devs are definitely trion their hardest on this latest expansion.
* Player [s:2ze8alfr]housing[/s:2ze8alfr] dimensions! Basically, a cloistered little zone of your very own to mess around in with your friends. Quite a few of 'em are basically water parks with lots of slides and stuff. Very cool.
* Tempest Bay. The new City for both Guardians and Defiants. Jaw-dropping beautiful.
* Combat can be a little too frenetic at times. Quite a button-masher.
* You accumulate quests like candy (almost to the point of it being overwhelming at times)
* My poor action bars now dwarf the periodic table of elements. New abilities are great and all, but this is a beginning to be a bit much.