Last night after my usual partner in crime had retired for the evening I came across a tear in Rift. A tear is what occurs before a rift forms, and a player can stand near the tear and use a Planar Lure to cause the rift to trigger early. This results in extra points for the triggering player, and supposedly a weaker rift event.
This particular tear was in the Scarlet Gorge, a grand canyon-esque zone that I normally see earth rifts in. I haven't seen any groups around to fight the earth rifts, so I haven't gotten to do one yet. Opening a tear made it likely to get a soloable rift, so I was pretty hopeful. I stepped up to the tear, activated my planar lure, and spawned . . . a fire rift. Oh well, whatever.
It was, as predicted, a minor rift and thus soloable since the planar creatures were of the regular variety rather than elites. I completed stage 1, 2, 3, and 4 by myself without any trouble. In fact, it was going well enough that I beat the bonus times for each stage. Which, I suppose, is what triggered stage 5. An elite boss. With 10k hit points. Even my sturdy tank build only has 3k hit points (which, to put it in context, is about double what most characters have around this level). I tried four times to take him down but never even got close. My solo rift had turned into a group rift and suddenly become incompletable. If I didn't complete it, all my hard work on the previous 4 stages would essentially be for nothing. I was . . . a little annoyed.
However, Rift managed to redeem itself with another demonstration of why the rift system seems to be working - the community. I hadn't seen another player in at least 30 minutes, Scarlet Gorge being rather desolate at midnight at this point in the population leveling curve. Not feeling too hopeful I put out a call in general chat and within 30 seconds had a tell from a cleric. By the time we had gathered at the Rift two more players had come out of nowhere and joined our open group. I switched to Bard, we engaged the boss and defeated him handily, the Rift closed, rewards were handed out, and everyone went their merry way.
The dynamic content system sort of failed me here, apparently deciding that since I beat the normal stages so quickly I must be a group, and then spawned group content. But the community didn't fail me, and if I had just asked for help the first time might have avoided a series of painful defeats. This seems to be indicative of group content in Rift -- most people want to do it and will jump on the opportunity if someone just makes the effort to advertise a group. I hope Trion's upcoming group finding tool works for more than just dungeons. A rift finder function would be good too.