For anyone who is new and just looking for an overall view and a general idea about how the game and its pieces work, please take a look at Raanor's hard work:

http://www.riftscene.com/guides/rift-a-starters-guide/

It's missing a couple of small pieces from the 2.3 changes, but it's being updated throughout this week and it isn't really missing anything mission critical.

If you feel like there's some additions or changes that should take place, please let us know by leaving a comment on the post or if you'd like reply to this thread and I'll check back periodically.