The blogosphere seems to be falling over themselves to proclaim the greatness of rifts in RIFTS. I, on the other hand, am feeling rather ambivalent about them.
The thing about rifts, I'm finding, is that there is no substance to them. A rift appears, you zerg it down, and loot falls out of the sky. No strategy, no tactics.
Is that all we want from our games?
The simplest 5-man is more interesting and contains more team play than any of the rifts I've participated in. I know it is fashionable to mock the tank/healer/dps Trinity, but at least in a Trinity group you're working together. There's a feeling of being part of a team that is completely missing in rifts.
For all that RIFTS makes joining public groups easy, there's no sense of teamwork at all. Most rifts are just everyone attacking the boss on their own, including it being a literal graveyard zerg when people die. Indeed, people talk less in Rift groups than they do in WoW's Dungeon Finder!
If you don't act as a group, are you really in a group?
Kind of honestly, the only thing that changes if you join a Rift public group is that the healers might find it easier to heal people with the group/raid UI. But of course, for that to be useful there actually needs to be healers who heal, which is somewhat rare.
That's not to say that they're not somewhat fun. Rifts are like popcorn. They're light and tasty at first. But they're ultimately unsatisfying when compared to the hearty meal of a small team dungeon, or the rich banquet that is raiding.