The OP is getting delicious complexity confused with good gameplay, they are not the same thing.
Yes, GW1 had a bazillion skills. However, most of those skills were trash "commons", which, in turn, provided the endgame progression as you unlocked more and more of the desirable skills for your classes. And, sure, you could spend untold amounts of time outside the game learning about different builds and teams and then going out and finding the right gear, runes, insignias, etc., and then tweaking that skill bar until it fit your play style perfectly (still remember how devastated I was when I realized that all my build templates were on a dead hard drive, that they weren't server side and I hadn't backed them up, DOH!).
The problem was that once you had that skill bar and/or hero team, the gameplay itself was kind of mindless (fun, but, yeah, mindless
). Pick target, activate skill, watch graphical vomit of particle effects, switch targets and/or activate different skills as needed. Facing? Who cared. Range? Who cared. Dodging/Avoidance? Who cared? Everything happened automatically and the monks took care of the unavoidable incoming damage.
So, now, yeah, I've traded a Magic: The Gathering sized lot of skills for a substantially smaller selection. But, I've gained traits that interact with that smaller set. I've gained actually needing to be *there* in my fights where my location, facing, etc. all matter. It's different, but after 5 years of GW1, aren't you ready for something different?
Never mind how daunting that level of complexity was for many players (new and returning - every try to re-familiarize yourself with the bewildering array of skills as well as whatever mechanics changes were patched after a months long break from GW1?)