I'll clear up a couple of things first off. After playing for 5+ years and experiencing first-hand the failure the world now knows as the Cataclysm expansion, I "retired" from WoW. I have seen a trend from the Guild Wars community in general where WoW players are shunned for a number of reasons. I, however, came into the game with an open mind to all of the innovation that Arena Net put into the game, and I would like fellow players and posters to regard my opinions with an equally open mind as this post may contain negative views on some aspects of the game. This post will contain my heart laid bare in honesty, no joking, no sarcasm and nothing of all that bs on my part.
First off, the good.
The graphics. After 5+ years of WoW, seeing the world of Tyria in shiny 1080p with my GTX 680 (which I bought solely to play GW2, as I don't play any other game besides LoL) was very refreshing.
The Art Style. I loved every design, from characters to environments to cities and architecture. I am the type of guy that you will never see with an ugly character. My character must always be either handsome or badass. EVERY single race in GW2 qualifies for either one. I'm a huge fan of female Norn supermodels, badass Charr, and handsome Humans. Even the Asura and Sylvari, though non-orthodox, still may qualify as either one of my conditions. The UI is clean and responsive, and the map is beautiful.
The Lore. It is truly amazing how the creators of the game have visualized the world into a truly marvelous environment with interesting and memorable characters. I totally bought Edge of Destiny and Ghosts of Ascalon and the Collector's Edition of the game JUST so I could have the 10-Inch Rytlock figurine that I now proudly display in my room. And I did it just because I loved Rytlock in Destiny's Edge. And then you interact with Logan in the Human starting area; truly amazing. The world of Tyria has an amazing history, creatures, languages and races. Only ones out of place are the plants that came out of the tree 20-something years ago. And they don't even have sex or babies but their females have boobs so there ya have it. Aside from that, no complains.
The Combat Style. I liked the idea of Weapon-Determined skills and the fact that 10 keybinds are enough in most professions. I liked the action-oriented combat with dodging and positioning. Really keeps you on your toes to avoid fatal damage.
The bad. =(
The Music. The soundtrack of GW2 is simply amazing, breathtaking and really captures the fantasy of Tyria. But what it boasts in quality, it lacks in quantity. I've completed 4 different zones so far and I've listened to the same 5-6 tracks. It gets dull after a while (a couple of days), and then I just opened iTunes while playing, something that I almost never did in WoW.
The Planning. To be fair, in comparison with some releases of other gaming companies, ArenaNet handled the user influx quite well, and the three day headstart was a great idea that immensely helped them with server stability during the early phases of the release. Nevertheless, I can't help but feel the game was missing at least 1 more month of development time. It lacks such simple things such as dueling for example. Why can't I have the option to duel my friend, just for the lulz? Also, party issues. Party members end up in different overflows. Button to join the same server is bugged. Party members don't appear on the mini map. Bugs in the Personal Story. Issues with the Trading Post. It really just makes me feel that they could have solved all these very simple yet annoying issues if they could have but released the game a couple of weeks later. They waited 5 years. What's another 5 weeks?
The Endgame. This is basically what killed me. There is no endgame. Suppose I have one lvl 80 character with 100% map completion. What do I do then? If you disregard the fact you can have a full trait build and you can visit all areas of the map, what is the benefit of being 80? Simple answer: no benefit. For the PvP, you can participate from level 2 if you want, and you will have the same gear and skills as everyone else. For WvWvW you will have lvl 80 stats but your gear will be the one you entered with, but WvWvW was never meant to be balanced, so who cares? You can do explorable modes before 80, so being 80 is not in any way an advantage. There is no incentive to play and be better. No incentive to go do anything because what gives, the gear is the exact same, it just looks different.
So there you have it. This is the problem I'm starting to see in the game right now. I'm not even half way to 80 yet, and I love the leveling experience through exploring... but I know I will only love it once, and that I won't ever have more than one lvl 80.
If a newbie player asked me what was there at lvl 80 in Wrath of the Lich King I would have told him: "Oh wow listen there's so much you can do man! You can either go PvP or PvE or a little bit of both. In any case you can do Battlegrounds, get honor and complete your PvP set. Get a good arena partner and achieve a high rating. You can do dungeons and get nice pve gear so you can then move on to Raiding. You can farm reputations to get cool pets, items and titles. You can do Achievements for many types of rewards. If you get a good guild you can do Heroic Raids for the best loots. You can level your professions and make some money, start saving up for that 16k Bike! Etc. etc. and so on.
The problem with Cataclysm was very simple. Blizzard revamped the lvl 1-60 zones but left too little content in the endgame. That is the reason why Cataclysm sucked as hard as it did. You reach 80 then what? You needed a VERY good guild to do real progression, unlike WotLK. PvE: No good guild = you're trash. PvP: No good guild = you're trash. And what if you're casual and can't invest time for a guild because you have University AND a job? Then you're definitely trash. There was no content for casual players which are the ones that make up the MAJORITY of any MMO. It's just like a bell curve: the ones that suck the most are very few. The ones that are average, or casual, are the ones that make up most of the playerbase, and the ones that are elite are also very few. Blizzard's mistake was making Cataclysm's content aimed at the very low (people that have never reached max level before or were leveling alts) and at the very high (hardcore players). These two groups will ALWAYS be minorities in any game and even in many situations in life, such as the average student grades in a class or the average IQ of a given population. It's just the way the world works.
And I see basically the same problem in Guild Wars 2. The Leveling experience is awesome. There's no denying it. But when I reach lvl 80 what do I do? What if I've never liked PvP in MMO's? What if I don't want "different"-looking gear? Where is my incentive to play if all gear will have theh same stats? I will log in, click on my character and enter the world. The map is already 100% complete. What. Do. I. Do.? Please, am I wrong? Someone please tell me I'm just wrong and there's plenty of things to do out there. And don't even start with Dynamic Events. Every zone has a 1 or 2 different dynamic events per Renown Heart. It's not like you can't memorize them once you've done the content once. So what exactly is there to do? What is the endgame? I really really really want to like and love this game because I don't want to go back to WoW. But I just don't see it, I simply can't see it. Please help me see it.
tl;dr: just gtfo if you're not gonna read the whole thing, you will simply not understand my position and just post irrelevant bs.