This may sound crazy but I quit playing GW2 for now, and bought GW1. I did this because the knowing lore adds a lot enjoyment to the game for me, especially in a game where exploring is such a big part, even at relatively low level I could see that I was missing the significance of many of the things I saw in game. I only got like 10 hours into GW1 so far but eg. the Charr starting zone makes so much more sense now and I can appreciate little things like why there are those weird crystals there. So anyone else done thing?
I own the first one and... I think all but one expansion, since they were in a $15 bundle at some point last year. I... haven't played much and probably won't go back and do so unless given a really compelling reason.
I've played the first game a few months ago for some of the HoM gear. I'm still missing 2 points for the Flaming Sword, but I just don't want to go back. The lore was pretty cool, Elona was the best one so far, but you will get to the point when those cool missions stop because they become insanely hard when you don't have the I-Win-Build (Discordway etc). To get such a build, you will have to grind spells, heroes, material, gold and whatever for several months.
Anet has done well with how they structured this. You can do it either way and it is just fine. If you are not into lore and all that, the game is just fine. However, they have very heavily tied the lore into the whole GW1 series. Having played all of them, I am truly enjoying the story line and topography of the new game all the more. Another feature that fans of the first series must be enjoying, I know I am, is the music tie-in. Running in certain areas and hearing little snippets of the music that was used in the same area in GW1 gives a really nice nostalgic feel when exploring.
I tried to play GW1 not long before GW2 launch...but I just could'nt stand it for more than 5 mins.
The lore in other mmo's has never interested me, but I really got into the GW lore ! Did lots of online reading about it and watching Lore videos, and reading Ghosts of Ascalon and Edge of Destiny books.
I think one of the really cool things about GW2 is that there are so many stories to be told, from the main story to events to just talking to people in a city or town or in the world. You can really gain a lot of information from all of it, and don't need GW1. But that's a solid idea if you really want a grasp of what's going on - I have GW1 somewheres, played a bit.
But yeah, the amount of dialogue you can engage in throughout the world is pretty intense. It's like everyone has something to say, and then sometimes that becomes an event or story you want to learn more about.