Sorry, but the guys here talk about free-form character building as something that has been shat out by Jesus. While the idea was interesting there were too many skills that were similar to each other, and the worst thing of all it created a balancing nightmare and in the end force players into certain builds if they wanted to be competitive. Imbalance might be alright in a SP games but definitely not in a multiplayer game, and a PvP-focus multplayer game at that.
Characters and events maybe were more interesting in GW1 but the consequence of this is an instanced world and a fragmented playerbase.
The exploration was complete shit compared to other MMORPGs. There were so many invisible walls, the maps were too corridor-ish( again compared to other MMORPGs), you couldn't even jump make navigating a real chores.
I hate the imbalance issue because imbalance exists in all PvP games. Even DotA has a tier list that has many of the same heroes be picked over and over again to fulfill certain roles. The fact that the ones that ARE used in higher level play all serve certain needs and supply different elements to the team. I'll compare the two directly in how ANet has approached GW2.
If DotA 2 took the example of GW2, they would have made 10 heroes as opposed to over 100 and made them all function as an initiator role. No one wants to watch that, it would never thrive as an esport so instead they kept the over 100 heroes and made continual patches in attempt to balance them. Would they ever be fully balanced to the point where all of them were equally viable? Probably not. Did it give you more choice? Yes.
So the comparison between DotA and GW exists to where that while not all builds are equally as viable, they're at least different and an option. People play every single one of the heroes, as people experiment with every single one of the builds in GW - just not as the highest level. It's a compromise, there's a tier list - sure. There's also acknowledging that only people who are competitive give a damn. You know Random Arena thrived, right?
Which moves me to another function of why DotA and GW were successful at PvP - the system of roles. They did away with this because they focused on every player being equally balanced for PvE - or well that's what they're trying for. That destroys the whole system of PvP and makes it a trivial zergfest full of 5 characters that function as the exact same role. As I said earlier, if DotA did this - it would have never become popular. It's not fun to watch and it's not fun to play. PvP in GW2 is a joke.
We can compromise by saying that GW2 is for PvE players and GW1 was marketed towards PvP players. Because if ANet is actually trying to make GW2 an esport in PvP they certainly aren't showing it. They didn't even bother implementing a guild ELO system on release. That was the main drawing point behind GW for many players and the fact it wasn't the first thing they brought in shows a drastic shift of priorities. PvP is just a gamemode to pass the time in GW2.
I have no valid opinion about GW2. Never played it, don't intend to play it any time soon, however there is a small glimmer of hope I may decide to try it out on my own.
What I can say is this: ArenaNet died back in 2010. This new, modern ArenaNet lost their imagination and intelligence and substituted it for a combination of candy, shiny diamonds and the lost art of beauty through poetry and wisdom.
GW1 is, truly, one of a kind. GW2 is nothing more than an attempt. If there's anything that changed the way we look at MMOs, it was GW1. I'd be damned if there is, or ever will be, something like it.
I will give an example of a case in which RNG could determine the outcome of a fight. If a warrior running an enviscerate hits an engie who just used threw elixir H several things can happen. (Let's assume the warrior hits for 9k crit, the engie cannot dodge and is locked down with no stun or cc to counter)
For throw Elixir H 3 boobs can result:
You gain vigor (100% endurance Regan) not of use in this situation
You gain Regan(+900 health over entire effect) final damage recieved will be 8.1k dmg
You gain protection(+33% dmg reduction) final damage received will be 6k dmg
Wouldn't that be something? But it would likely be called Elixir Chick From Total Recall.