In a move influenced by the droves of players with no intentions of actually playing the game causing a ruckus, a pre-order of RIFT is now required to post on the game's official forums. This is in effect as of today, though Trion had hoped to not need to instate it until release. However, Cindy Bowens -- RIFT Community Lead -- made the announcement this evening.
With open beta kicking off in less than a day, this is a pretty good time to test the functionality of an account requirement. There are going to be a lot of players hammering the game servers themselves, so limiting forum posting access to those who have already ordered a copy of the game makes sense.
It's important to note that this does not mean you need to buy the game to view the forums. You can do that no matter what. However, if you want to start threads or reply those already existing on the public forums, you'll need to throw down a bit of cash.
Additionally, the open beta-specific forums will be open to anyone who has a Trion account. So even if you haven't pre-ordered yet, you can still voice your opinions on the open beta. Just not on the "public forums" which are set up to stick around beyond release.