Head start info below!
Graphics are good, engine is capable... as time goes on I suspect we'll see the designers add more and more detail, watching how they effect the game's online performance.
Questing is quite engaging... not much different that other MMOs but it's all new, all new models, animations, sounds etc. And the lore behind the questing seems well placed.
Rifts? Simply a superb idea. If you want to engage.. go for it.. if not... ride on by. Best way to describe it is PvE Battlegrounds. Everyone can join a "Public Group" and clear the waves of mobs that come forth. Everyone get's loot based on their participation and you garner special "currency" that purchases some really nice upgrades and items. They happen quite frequently... I mean.. the world truly is in danger and is attacked constantly... you can;t hang out in a zone and completely forget that a war is going on... there are signs everywhere.. and Rifts of invaders could pop up anywhere.
The crafting system is enjoyable.. it is similar to WoW for the most part... but here, when you craft several items you can then "salvage" them.. tearing them apart for some of their original mats back + some vendor trash.
The gear you can craft is as good or a little better than you get as drops for your level. You can have THREE professions Which is really nice.
There are mounts.. of varying speeds based on your level. And Epic Mounts are rockin' There are Auction Houses, Banks, vendors, factions, and Portals (instead of flight paths) to get around.
There are 4 main classes.. but then each class have many (7 each I think) subclasses. Questing earns you your first 3.. then the rest are obtained thru Rifting. Youc an mix and match any 3 you like to create a "Role" (spec) and you can purchase 3 extra roles for a total of 4.
SO say you choose mage. You can then choose Warlock, Necromancer and Pyromancer trees and then choose the talents in each tree you would like. Or choose a more utilitarian role and choose Elementalist, Archon and Dominator. You can choose ANY combination of 3 of the 7... it's all up to you! Some subspecs have pets some have CC, some have invisibility, some have healing, some have buffs and others have curses. It's awesome.. and I mean awesome how interesting and engaging they are.
I don;t know what endgame will be like.. but I will say that I happen to run FAE (a 5 man instance).. and WHOA! It was awesome. The first part was nice because it was outdoors... nothing out of the ordinary.. but interesting. THEN we went into a snowy world.. and a blizzard was going on.. if you got too far behind your party.. they were whited out.. and you could get lost. Like no instance i have see from WoW.. WAY more interesting and exciting. If they put as much effort into the raids as they do the 5 mans... they can't miss.
Bottom line is... for $50-$60 you SURELY will get your money's worth.. EVEN if you play it for a few months and leave. The initial fun and excitement of the game worth DOUBLE that and more. And if they continue to listen to the customers and keep putting the effort into this game.. it may very well become a top MMO in the marketplace.. and who knows.. perhaps THE #1 MMO.
Here are some various screenies I took... enjoy!
HUGE Elite Tree "bosses" summoned to a Rift battle.. badazz!
Head Start info!