What sort of game is Rift?
The whole concept behind the Rift universe is that Telara (the world the game takes place in) lies at the intersection point of various elemental planes, where rifts are constantly opening, releasing hordes of monsters from any one of these elemental planes. Your whole purpose in Rift is to seek out and close these portals to save your home world from being overrun and destroyed by the various elementals.
The game avoids the standard tropes of fantasy RPGs by creating its entire universe from the ground up, refraining from such standard faire as dwarves, orcs and elves, instead creating its own sort of humanoid races, each unique in their own right, but nothing so outlandish as panda or cow-people. With less over-the-top fantasy and a bit more sci-fi behind the game world and its inhabitants, the tone is a bit more serious, and feels like a more grown-up and less cartoonish game like so many other RPGs.
What is the gameplay like?
While it follows these standard MMO practices, Trion Worlds was no slouch when it came to making them interesting and unique to the Rift world. The quests are as varied and engaging as the more recent incarnations of WoW and the raid bosses and dungeons are all challenging in their own unique ways. The bosses don’t simply recycle one another’s abilities from dungeon to dungeon, so each one feels as fresh as the last.
Similarly, the loot that you are rewarded with from working your way through the various challenges of the game scales up with the difficulty of the tasks you complete and the monsters you defeat, with various tiers of items to quickly gauge their relative power to what you currently have equipped. The part where Rift really becomes interesting is in the class system.