It’s got much more complex play mechanics, especially since the Cataclysm expansion for WoW. Character creation is more complicated, and more choices have to be made. This means it’s more customizable, but also that it’s not going to get the “I’m not even a nerd, but I play Warcraft” crowd that Blizzard aims for (and gets).
I tried out five or six different mage builds before hitting on one that suits my play style. A warlock, chloromancer, elementalist ended up suiting my needs and being quite fun to play. Got her to level 12 and then decided to try a few other classes.
My first cleric ended up being even more fun. Part “learning the game”, part luck on getting it right the first time. The build is cabalist, warden, purifier, and he’s great fun and kicks a lot of ass.
I gave other cleric builds a brief shot, but this one keeps drawing me back.
I just tried a reaver, riftblade, void knight warrior, and that’s definitely fun too. More complex to play (I’m not used to warriors having something comparable to “finishing moves”), but definitely fast-paced and entertaining.
I’ll probably go back and get my WoW DK to level 85. Probably. Not sure about that one though. The game is getting really boring again already. Too dumbed down, too simple, no real challenges, and not even good means of meeting new people any more, since the dungeon finder ruins that.
In Rift, I’m definitely enjoying the zone-events (the rifts and invasions). Remind me of the Rikti invasions in City of Heroes, which have always been fun. Very high-paced, always something to do. And the “Join Public Group” feature avoids the main downside of the CoH invasions, which has always been the LFG stage of it.
The game doesn’t yet appear to be “raid to get the gear you need in order to raid”, like WoW. Nor does it appear to be the Monty-Hall-fest that Cataclysm created for WoW. I’m not sure if it’s well-balanced yet, but it might be.
There are still a few things that have a beta feel to them. Not like Age of Conan was when first released (and still was a year after going live), but a few details that aren’t as polished as they should be, and a few minor bugs (skin-rendering issues now and again).
It definitely doesn’t have the rich resources for third-party play data that WoW has. That’s both a disadvantage (can’t look stuff up as easily), and an advantage (WoW has tons of sites out there with out-of-date info that hasn’t been updated to the massive changes in the game since Cataclysm).
The newbie zones are badly plagued by spam from gold vendors and power-levelers. Safe to assume most/all are scams. But I’ve hit the “report spam” button on characters, and seen them still botting away two days later, which means lack of attention from Trion on that point.
Long-term entertainment value, and issues like customer service, are yet to be seen, of course (the game is still brand new for all practical purposes). But I have to say, I like it so far.