I am looking for the following in a game:
* Possible to solo, but definitely should be slower and/or more difficult than grouping.
* Group content is available and encouraged at all levels. I would actually love a wide variety of content from duo and trio up through full group content.
* I have no objection to raid content being there, but I don't want to have raiding be required or be the only thing to do at endgame.
Personally I'm expecting Rift to have a similar balance to WoW. Very sparse group content until endgame. Focus (overfocus?) on easy solo content to grind through to get to endgame. I'm then expecting endgame to focus on grouping and raiding. Not an ideal game for me, but it works for WoW and should be fun to see and burn through content for a while.
Admittedly I haven't read a lot of details about Rift, so I'm hoping I'll be surprised when I actually get into the game :)
Found this while reading a interview, you might find interesting.
Ten Ton Hammer: How much thought has gone into end game at this point, will it ship with raid content already in place?
Scott Hartsman: Absolutely, we have some end game elements that have been in testing, if you count warfronts, when we started raid testing and expert dungeon testing, it’s been several months now. We have two separate roadmaps, one for 1 to 50 and a much more detailed one for level 50 onward. We are intentionally making a game that doesn’t need to have the 1 to 50 content extended to create gameplay. We want the 1 to 50 leveling to take as much time as we have available content, we don’t want it to be a grind.
We aren’t going to be one of those games that plays one way in beta and then you get to launch and it’s like, hey everything is now 10 times longer, enjoy the launch game! People would rightfully freak out and that would kill a lot of the fun in the game. We have been pacing the game the way we want it to play in alpha and planning out what end game tiering will look like after that. We have two tiers of expert mode dungeons, we have got raids both interior and exterior, we have the PvP instances, we even have end game level crafting and reputations. You will be able to log in and have your choice of six or seven things you can do, we don’t want to get in the trap of being a game where folks feel like they have nothing to do. One half to two-thirds of our design team has transitioned to end game already and our QA team is actively running their own playtests that they can get feedback right into the designers hands.