Yes, a subs-based AAA fantasy MMO is not even half as fun (or IMO) even half as good as an asian F2P AAA fantasy MMO. (Not to say that I think there is anything wrong with F2P asian MMOs, just that the focus of their studios tends to be a little (ok a lot) different and the general perception of them seems to be bad.)
And this is despite these two being more or less polar opposites with where their studios and dev teams are coming from.Rift just glows with love love love... in every aspect but its art direction, which is honestly, quite terrible.
Forsaken World just glows with love love love for profit... in every aspect, including its art direction, which is very strong.
Why do I think FW is better, and more fun?
FW has better combat mechanics.
The classes are better thought out, and combat flows more smoothly. Rift combat feels incredibly clunky and unwieldy for some reason. None of the souls I've played have really seemed to 'gel'. Be it from the press eleventy billion buttons builds that some mages have, to the press just two buttons builds that some ranged rogue builds are. FW classes, in contrast, have *flow*. Once you get into the groove, once you know what you are doing, they just *feel* right.
FW has better sound.
FW has great sound - with some classes showing it off better than others. If you have played a bard to a highish level in FW (60+), you'll KNOW the difference between how water/wind/light bards sound just by listening to them play (assuming proper play) - no need to even look at the screen. Contrast this with Rift, where everyone sounds the same. ._. Not just the players, even the mobs sound the same! As someone who usually turns off the music, but leaves the sound on, and who depends on the sound for cues on what to do next, the fact that everything in Rift sounds more or less the same is a big downer.
FW has better art direction.
FW is an attractive, vivid world. While there are some stylistic choices I may not personally like, (hrmm Stonemen), I cannot argue that they are beautiful in their own way. Whereas Rift is bland bland BLAND. And don't even get me started on mage gear. Good lord, I'm convinced Rift mages have the ugliest gear in the MMOverse, even when you discount rendering engines (of which Rift has a rather good one).
I would say those are the three main things that stand out for me. FW, while I played it, was an MMO where I looked forward to jumping into the game world. Rift is just kinda blaaaaah.
This makes me feel sad, because Trion so obviously loves its game and cares about its community. But that isn't enough to overcome the three points above. It's like eating a dish made with the finest ingredients and a great amount of love which has unfortunately, somehow turned out tasteless.
Needless to say, I won't be renewing Rift into month 3, though I wish Trion and the Rift community all the best.
...here's to hoping GW2 won't break my gameynugget heart.