I didn't take part in any of the closed beta, but I looking forward to participate to the Open Beta, also to decide if I will buy or not the game.
If you haven't heard of Rift: Planes of Telara yet, let me summarize what I know for you.
Rift will keep a lot of mechanics and an interface very close to what we're used to see in World of Warcraft, but will make both substantial changes to the class system and subtle adjustment to other aspects of the game.
It will also use something similar to Warhammer Online's open quest system in what they'll call Rifts: openings to other planes of existence that players will have to close to avoid them spawn invasion forces on the world of Telara. If left unchecked they can dramatically change the landscape of the world surrounding them, and also conquer villages, replacing friendly villagers with rather unfriendly elementals.
The class system is really different from everything I have experienced before. You have to choose one out of four Callings, and then you'll have to choose which three "talent trees" will compose your "class". For instance, the Calling named "Rogue" has in itself both what we know has a Rogue and what we know has a Hunter (and other things we don't have in World of Warcraft). If you want you can choose your "Souls" (i.e. which talents trees to have) to be something similar to a Rogue, or to be something similar to an Hunter. But you could also create a mix of the two, like a rogue-like melee-fighter with a pet or something totally different (thanks to the Soul that don't resemble neither of the two classes). One of the exemples of an official video was a "Teleporting Ranger".
The four Callings are Warrior, Cleric, Rogue, Mage.
Since this is a gold making blog I suppose you'll be interested in the economic aspects of the game.
Professions closely resemble those of World of Warcraft, with gathering and crafting professions and even an equivalent of Enchanting (Runecrafting... And instead of "Disenchant" you "Runebreak").
There are twelve professions and each character can learn three of them (yep, three!)
Butchery - Gather hides and useful parts of animals
Foraging - Gather herbs and wood
Mining - Gather minerals and ores
Outfitting - Craft Cloth and Leather Armor
Armorsmithing - Craft Mail and Plate Armor and Shields
Artificing - Crafts Necklaces, Rings, Staffs, Totems and Wands
Runecrafting - Equivalent of Enchanting, Enchants here are called Runes
Apothecary - Equivalent of Alchemy: crafts Flasks, Potion, Philters, Tonics and Vials
Most recipes will be learned directly from the trainer for gold (money is actually broken down in Platinum, Gold, instead of Gold, Silver, Copper), but others are bought with tokens gained through daily quests.
I didn't found a lot about the AH itself, except the fact that it actually exists and a comment about it working well.
The Open Beta
The Open Beta event, titled "Telara the Merciless" will begin on Tuesday, Feb. 15 2011 at 10:00 AM PST (18:00 GMT) and will and on Monday, Feb. 21 2011 at 10:00 AM PST (18:00 GMT). So it's a full six days, great if you really don't know what to do that week-end.
For me, this will be a great chance to get the feel of the game before buying it. I'll definitely participate!
I suggest to everyone to go try, so we'll help the guys at Trion Worlds to test their game (and their servers) and at the same time everyone will be able to form an idea of the game.
Obviously it's not the same as having the true game (you can't even reach max level in the Beta), but it's surely better than just reading websites about it!
Did you play at the Closed Beta events? Are you planning of participating at the Open Beta?
Do you think you'll buy Rift?