I always belive in starting out with the good so here they are:
I've been playing RIFT for the past couple months and I have enjoyed most of my time. The zone events are an enjoyable aspect, and I know some people get sick of them, but they earn you planarite and other rewards (most of the people who complain are the new players who just want to quest and don't realize they'll need those planarites later). Also who doesn't enjoy some good rift closing and boss hunting?
The end of 1.7 was especially fun. Those dragons were so freaking epic! I mean they were so huge! Another fun aspect of RIFT is the dungeons. Why? Because they are so unique and built so well. I love how many of them take place in an outside setting. Plus some of them are just pure amazing. I don't remember the name of the dungeon, but it had an actual rift in it which was pretty cool (or so I thought).
Also the graphics aren't as bad as people make them out to be. All the screenshots that you see here are one's I took ingame on the lowest settings! So not too shabby, at least i don't think so. The good in RIFT is basically the all around unique aspect of it, but what really helps is how fast Trion has patches. There's usually a new patch every month or so, and they are fairly big in content. For those who are waiting for an expansion, rumors abound that in early 2013 RIFT will have it's first expansion.
And now it's time for...
Although RIFT has some amazing aspects of it, it does have a couple essential problems. One of them is that most of the content is end content. Which means people are trying to get to level 50 as fast as possible. When you hear such things as "the game begins at level 50" it's not really a turn on to a lot of people. Sure the questing and crafting is all fine and good, but it doesn't fill the gaping hole between levels 1-50. That's a long time to have so little to do. Which brings me to my next point.
You know what people were most excited for in 1.8? Fishing... This just shows how lacking the PvE content is in RIFT. Sure there are artifacts and puzzles to solve, but it doesn't solve the lack of PvE content. It doesn't even come close. People were more excited for fishing than the new raid that 1.8 brought to RIFT. That sort of signals that there is problem going on doesn't it? I believe that more PvE content will be added in the future (housing has been hinted at and many players have seemed to like the idea).
All in all I'll still continue to play RIFT for now because I do actually enjoy it (finals are keeping me away from playing games a lot lately though), and all those rumors of the playerbase dying? So over exaggerated. I am on the lowest populated server and there are still enough players to sustain it, and make world events and zone events fun and rewarding.