I played Rift Beta 6 last weekend. I really liked it. It's broadly familiar to anyone who has played a diku MMO (WoW, AoC, EQ2, Lotro, etc) but with just enough that is distinctive to make it very fresh. It's very playable, avoiding some of the roughness that accompanied some of the other launches.
It's been quite interesting to watch the blogosphere agonise over it. A lot of bloggers have recently panicked at the realisation that it's rather good and they're quite excited. It’s like for no apparent reason all of the antelopes on the savannah have looked up at once and started twitching their noses.
Remember the 90s? Before games were online? I bought about 2 games a month, some really stuck and I played the hell out of them, some I played for a couple of days and thought "ho hum".
We've shifted from that paradigm to an outlook that approaches a new game as if one were getting married to it. It really shouldn't be a massive commitment just to try a new game.
I think part of the problem is that the obsession with max level has permeated the MMO culture. It's a daft way to approach a new game. The chances are end game is actually the end of your game not a gear shift to a better and more enjoyable playstyle. You won't enjoy many games unless you slow down a little. And Rift really supports a more laid back approach. It has the Soul system which allows you to mess about trying out the different subclasses and combinations, it has its warfronts (instanced pvp), dungeons, a pretty interesting backstory that's told through quests. It has different types of servers so if you max out on your pve server, try pvp or rp or both.
But playing it to death in Beta then zerging up to max level and whining that the game lacks raid content is a recipe for failure. Not Rift's failure, yours.