Rift beta was amazing this weekend... I really didnt expect to get in because i signed up the day before it started so I was EXTREMELY lucky to get picked.
I got my Defiant cleric:speced shaman,druid, warden to level 24.
First let me say questing...
Unlike some crappy mmo's (AION) where u run out of quests and basically have to grind your way to levels mindlessly, RIFT has a ton of quests... Never ending, story lines. Every time a chain ended a new one would appear. VERY NICE!
Where cataclysm wins would be the ability to use vehicles, and observe cut scenes. Rift is a new game so i wont hate on them for that, they have a couple years to develop.
Rift graphics are poorly optimized, some people with crap systems claim they were fine, some with highend said no way im getting low fps. It was a mixed bag. There is a debugger running so you lose about 20+ fps they say. But where cataclysm wins is optimization across the board. The fact that you can run WoW on almost anything is great. The avg wow player probably doesnt have a i5+, 6gigs, and a geforce 4 or better. So the avg wow population probably wont like the fact they cant run rift on ultra.
BUT! The graphics on rift look amazing, the colors are amazing, the art work is fantastic. Animations are smooth, only probably i found was the swimming controls were funky. If you have a highend system, rift will be on par or better than cataclysm.
I did a couple warfronts which is similar to BG. Personally I didnt like it, it sucked. The combat was very slow, i found myself desperately trying out dmg healing clerics heals and failing. People last entirely too long. It feels like a holy paladin on holy paladin duel, no one will win for an hour or two. The capture the flag style map was pretty basic, nothing to see there folks. MEH! The conquest type map was a little more fun, but like wow people just fought on the roads instead of doing the objectives. Cataclysm wins in terms of BG's. PVP however in rift might end up being better, because of the fact you have so many different class combos. TOO MANY CLASS COMBOS IN FACT, not sure how they are balancing all those specs.
SICK! I love the feel of the first available instance. At first i was like "wow this sucks..." But then i came to my senses, and i said "did Dm suck, did RFK suck..." Its obviously going to suck if you have done high end pve in warcraft. But realistically, rift hit PVE on the head. They did a great job, you have to cc, snare mobs etc. Bosses are also scripted a bit, and there was even a trash mechanic requiring players to stand on these orbs to keep mobs from spawning. AMAZING! In can see end game instances being on par with cataclysm for sure. DPS was fun, imo better than cata, but healing was not. Cataclysm healing might actually require more skill, thus being more fun. I found healing to be whack a mole and snooze. Outdoor PVE is by far the most amazingly epic thing ever! Every so often, actually randomly. Rifts(giant portals with shit coming out) will take over the zones, as a faction you have to work together to stop the rifts of opening and taking over. Its a FACTION EFFORT! There is no raid groups or anything, anyone participating in killing rifts will get credit, and marks to buy gear. GOOD GEAR! So its rewarding to kill rifts with your faction. Think elemental invasion but 30000x more epic and rewarding. Having 200+ players around u killing one dude is an amazing feeling! Cataclysm has left me at times feeling like "ughh theres nothing else to do..." well in rift you always have something to do, kill rifts, get gear. Find rift events. If warcrat had random world events, where the faction had to work together it would be a much better game. Rift is doing something right.
Its very similar to wow, actually fuck it... ITS TOO SIMILAR. Complete rip off lol, and i love it. Why not use wow interface, it works! Anyone who plays wow can pick this game up and know exactly where to go, its 1:1 in some respects. Unlike warcraft you can costomize the ui without addons. Something cataclysm may need in the future. You can move, and resize EVERYTHING! You dont need addons, maybe a dps meter but thats it lol. GTG! I think if Rift continues to swagger jack WoW things will be alright.
Overall impressed with rift, i didnt think it would be able to touch cataclysm. But it might give blizz a run for its money.
Im praying i get into beta 5, if i do and Rift is updated to be something even more amazing that what it already is... I will not be renewing wow sub, im preordering rift. The game as it is needs work, but its almost there.