Very good constructive criticism by the OP and some of those points made are a part of why I left GW2 back in January. I also left due to burning myself out from playing too much because I really fell in love with many of the positive things GW2 did right. But back to the list:
10: Advertising was pretty bad. That artsy ad was very laughable and my friends and I were in disbelief when we first saw it. Advertising shined when real game play footage was used and ANet should've pushed more in-game footage.
9: WvW is a great place to go when one isn't in a PvE mood but it can definitely be improved upon. I am happy to hear of the improvements already made (culling in particular) and support the idea of WvW updates to our realms, more maps and more reasons for us to care if we win or lose.
8: MF is pretty low on my "to-fix list" but I did find myself excluding notorious MF users when doing the harder content (Arah). The fact that ANet wants a game that pushes inclusion over exclusion would indicate MF does need some reworking. I love the idea of specific loot drops for champions. Give us a financial reason to hunt them down please.
7: I was just happy to have the PS tbh. After the great PS experiences in SWTOR I knew nothing could compare in the MMO market. That being said, and after 3 PS completions, I started to find it very hard to warrant anymore play-throughs for the reasons stated by the OP. The final battle with Zhaitan was terrible indeed.
6: I could go on for days on dungeons. My online RPG experiences mostly come from the Diablo series, GW1 and Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO). So my friends and I love us some quality dungeons. In GW2 our experiences were very erratic. From the well balanced and fun (if sometimes buggy) Catacombs to the nightmarish time sink and buggy unrewarding mess that Arah was even though we loved it's difficulty. Too many WP's (take them out I say and punish us for party wipes), add difficulty levels with proper Risk vs Reward, fix boss mechanics (as stated by OP) and add blocked doors that only open when all foes are defeated to prevent dungeon zerging. Finally, exploits. Get rid of them when found. DDO had it's lions share of issues but it's dungeons were (for the most part) well done.
5: I actually like the idea of realms. It was one of the concepts that drove me to WvW and I like the idea of belonging to a larger community outside of guilds.
4: Events and the open world is where GW2 shines imho. When they are working properly I love them to death. Especially the more difficult ones. Events should be a huge focus for ANet indeed.
1,2 and 3: Optimization is a biggie. I had almost (I said almost!) no problems but I knew several people that did have them and if Anet truly desires to become the MMO they envisioned they need to continue to improve in this area in order to open the game up to more customers and to retain the ones getting frustrated at culling issues and so on. All MMO's should be shipped with a strong LFG tool as well and this was very criminal for a game built around social interactions and community.
All-in-all I had a great time in GW2 and look forward to ANet improving it and the day I come back to renew my love for the GW2 world.
You can do just about anything in a 30 minute window minus most dungeons and most of your personal stories. The personal stories are your own little instance so you can usually go afk for long periods here if needed. Even though dungeons and some personal stories might not be doable you can still enjoy everything else in the game with short play times. And these two are not essential to gearing and enjoying the game. In fact I think dungeons and the personal stories are the weakest part of GW2. So your not missing much here
That will leave you with plenty of content to enjoy like short sPvP matches, WvW, open world PvE yumminess and the very casual friendly crafting system. All of these are at the heart of what makes GW2 soo much fun to play and what separates ANet from the typical time consuming grind fests out there Just hop in and play away and hop back out when you need to.
The GW2 business model makes for very casual play as well. No more pressure to play due to monthly fees. I work during the week and will play a few different short FPS games in between GW2 play times. With no sub fees you can always shelve it and come back to it down the road.
So if you don't mind losing out on the dungeons and some personal story content I would highly recommend GW2 over any other Online RPG.
The mesmer doesn't really "pick-up" at lvl 30. Their elite skills are horrible and useless compared to the other professions.
BUT. Some traits really do make a huge difference, thus combat slightly becomes a lot more faster, per se.
Say whaaaaaaaaaat?! TW is an awesome group elite skill. One of the best in da business imho. The Moa elite is superb in a pvp or solo environment and if you roll human you get the awesome grenth elite which for us melee mesmers is soo very very fun.
Back to the OP I leveled my mesmer with sceptor/focus and sword/sword. It was the most fun I had out of all 6 of my lvl 80's in terms of leveling. You get two blocks, an invulnerability, an option to switch with a clone, speed buff and crowd control. This still leaves you with your dodges and utilities to mess with! Soo much fun:D Going sceptor/torch is also a cool option since your already in melee range anyways and it gives ya a nice get-out-of-jail invisi option.
I also recommend, this goes for any lowbie, to focus on power/vitality and to always have updated weapons/armor for your level. If you can run with a group you can slack more but if you find yourself all alone most of the time then it could save ya.
HAH! yes the mobs are getting skipped. i FUGGIN HATE THAT SHIT! but it seems like i cant find a group without them being lazy and looking for the most shortcuts. its pathetic. but thats another topic.
I totally concur with your statement. I despise the pug groups where the dungeon has been turned into a rat race to the final chest. Which I have seen on multiple occasions blow up in our faces when a new player or bad luck strikes. I actually was in a group where the guild that was running it booted a player for going back to rez someone who couldn't make the run through the army of mobs. Silly crap indeed.
The best solutions I have found is to be in a guild of like minded players which I am lucky to be a part of or to create/find pug groups advertising that it is not a speed run.
On the topic of the dungeons being unstable of late it can be very frustrating. I had an SE p2 run that never had the end boss spawn last week. But I must've ran over 20-30 instances in the last several days and that was the only one we couldn't finish.
I am really looking forward to the day where the dungeons get smoothed out as ANet has promised. The loot tables need to be adjusted as well to match the fractals. If trash mobs/skip-able bosses dropped better loot that might also mitigate some of the exploit driven pug groups.