I have nothing useful to add to existing reviews of Rift as it stands in beta. It seems to be an evolutionary improvement on existing MMOs, but nothing grabs me by the lapels and says I must play. In the first few rifts I have encountered, I am not seeing the “2.0” part of “PQ 2.0”; the first Defiant rift parallels the first Chaos PQ nicely, down to the boss that dies in less than 10 seconds because every character will see that PQ/rift. If you like the current crop of MMOs and want a better one, Rift is for you. The downside is trying to get all your friends to quit WoW to go play it. I could not even get my friends to play WoW on the same server.
One encouraging thing is how the soul system affects altoholics. I have long been asking for the ability to play multiple classes on the same character. Now I can. If I level-cap four characters, I have access to every possible class and class combination in the game, and I would be able to swap between at least a dozen of them in less than a minute. That is really handy. Most have been referring to souls as talent trees, which they are, but they are also how you cram the usual 8-16 classes into 4 base classes. You even get overlap within those 4, such every base class can fill multiple roles, rather than just having minor varieties on how you deal damage.