Rift may be a completely different game than World of Warcraft, but I will never know. I've played two hours of Rift and had I not seen the title screen, I would have thought I was playing World of Warcraft. This is the same thought I had while playing Aion. The same thought that made me shriek in horror when I finally got to play "the game that shall not be named". It annoys me that so many games have copied World of Warcraft and not just copied ideas, but cloned wholesale everything about World of Warcraft. It is so bad that the games are all using the same text color to identify different levels of loot. The font used looks almost exactly the same. The icon shapes. On and on and on this goes.
There has been a long running discussion that World of Warcraft just copied Everquest which just copied DIKU MUD and therefore the current flood of WoW clones is expected. I disagree with this line of thinking. Everquest's biggest achievement is that it brought the DIKU MUD to 3D graphics. Other than that, I would argue Everquest was a pretty terrible game. World of Warcraft's biggest achievement was that it refined the DIKU model into something that made sense with a massively online game that is beyond a doubt one of the best games ever released. Secondly, WoW brought MMO to the mainstream.
These other games: Rift, Aion, etc. They are all clones; none of them bringing anything significant to the genre. They aren't even trying to bring something to the genre. They are all fighting to carve out a piece of the table scraps of players that Blizzard ends up shoving off the table where they keep the money hats.
Does this make these games bad? Not really, but after an hour of playing Aion I was done; having decided if I wanted this experience I would just go back to play World of Warcraft. Rift? Same story.
Yet, the worst part is each and every game tries to sell itself as though its the "next big thing". That its ONE THING IT WILL DO DIFFERENTLY is the NEXT PILLAR OF WHAT IS GOOD IN GAMES. It's annoying. These developer's need to just shut up and tell gamers that they really liked World of Warcraft and wanted to make a game that emulates it. I would be far less pissed off about the state of the MMO industry if the big players would just come out and admit they are riding WoW's coattails
Rift is World of Warcraft. I don't care if the game gets better in the later levels or has some whiz-bang new idea that you get to enjoy at some point. Give me something different that as soon as I start playing the LAST thing I think of is the other game I played before it. When I played DOTA 2, I didn't think "oh man, this is League of Legends". DOTA 2 is it's own game. It defines itself as something unique. AND DOTA 2 IS A LITERAL CLONE OF ANOTHER GAME!