I sort of side stepped Rift for several reasons. First off I didn't feel the need to get going in another fantasy MMO. I have toons up and running in WoW, EQ II, LoTRO, DDO, and Wizard 101 after all. As long as I keep paying my WoW sub I can visit them whenever I want, since most of those games are FtP. I was also utterly and thoroughly addicted to WoW during the beta events. I hadn't played the WoW much since the LoTRO open beta (three years ago?), and I decided to start over from scratch when Cataclysm launched. I was smack dab in the middle of Cataclysm during the beta events, and that's some of the best content in modern WoW. Finally, due to my newfound enjoyment of PvP, the endgame of WoW hasn't immediately face planted for me like it usually does. Both when the cap was 60 and when it was 70, WoW ceased being remotely fun within a week or two of hitting the cap. This time, ranked battlegrounds are actually keeping me entertained.
Still, Rift launched almost three weeks ago, and the buzz around it is still overwhelmingly positive. I have to admit I'm starting to get curious. If the most widely followed MMO blogger is defensive because he's not playing it, and another that spends most of his time trolling the internet is gushing about it, Rift must have something going for it. At the very least it's sending out big ripples in the MMO blogosphere.
On top of that, I have seen my future in WoW. It's me running out of goals I can reach with any sort of reasonable time investment in about a month. I will have my super big glowey dragon mount in about another week if I keep going at my current pace. I could also get a glowey ghost horse that says "I've spent way too much time grinding in Tol Barad" to show off in battlegrounds a week or two after that. I'm also starting to run out of PvP gear to buy. I have a nice cloak coming tonight (win or lose I'm one battleground away from it), and a ring I will likely get early next week. After that there's no gear left I'm particularly excited about. A necklace and a trinket or two are all I'll have left to earn. That's not more than three more weeks of PvP.
There is another set of gear you can get with conquest points, but you only get 25 of them a night doing ranked battlegrounds. Even getting up the 2000+ I'd need for my staff would be a fool's errand at that rate. You can get them faster from the Arena, however I don't have much interest in Arena matches. They are pretty much straight up fights with little strategy to them apart from knowing the ins and outs of every class intimately. By itself no small thing, I will allow, but not an amount of study I'm willing to put in for a game. It's only one step removed from dueling, a form of PvP I utterly despise. "Hey, let's fight solely to see who's e-peen is bigger!" No thanks . . .
And now I come to the point of this wandering post. One day soon, I may actually be getting on board the Rift train. It will depend on a few things. First off, is the game still going strong a few weeks from now? It's already pretty clear Rift is not an AoC/ WAR style disaster launch. However, it remains to be seen whether the servers will stay well populated in month two, when the really quick players start hitting the endgame and everyone has to pay a sub fee to keep playing. It also remains to be seen how well the rift mechanic will stand up to sparsely populated mid level zones.
Second, either the price for the client would have to come down (unlikely imo) or a demo would need to be released. My PC hits or slightly exceeds the recommended specs from their FAQ, but you never know. Sometimes a game hates something random about your rig, and sometimes even the recommended specs are really too low to run a game well. I'm not very keen on the idea of spending $50 on a client to find out whether it's playable and pretty on my PC.
Finally, will some new or old shiny distract me before I get around to Rift? LoTRO has a lot of new content coming at the end of the month, it may suck me back in. I may also have a further attack of insanity [PvP munchkin is far from my usual MMO playstyle, I'm still a bit shocked I'm digging BGs so much] and take up arenas or raiding in WoW. I've also been meaning to try World of Tanks again. Then there's Star Trek Online and Champions Online. I'm a bit curious to know whether they will still melt my rig now that I have a much bigger power supply.