You trot around in this fantasy world where you carry out quests, explore dungeons and what not. First/third person view sort of like in Skyrim. However there is no main storyline, the vast bulk of content is procedurally generated sort of like in Minecraft. Very sandboxy. There are some scripted content, but most scripts are connected to the procedurally generated content. For example if the content generator creates a village and a bandit gang that preys upon the village, it will also plug in the script to create a quest to save the village, involving you being approached by upset villagers when entering the village, and so on. Similarly there is some hand-designed content like castles and stuff since that proved to be difficult to generate procedurally. Also the general graphical style is more like that game (Minecraft), not realisticish like Skyrim etc. Now I don't mean that everything is ugly blocks, rather you walk around in a cartoonish world.
Also taken from Minecraft would be the server model: you can set up a server on your own computer and invite your friends to adventure together, and you can even open up your single-player game and let friends connect to it. Also there is a simplistic scripting language and instance editor so that you can create adventures/missions if you want.
Q: Can I build a mine/tunnels
A: I mention minecraft a lot but this game is not about digging around for shit in the ground, it's about killing dragons and being the hero. However there will be a simple method for excavating but not Minecraft-style.
Q: Can I build a house/fort/castle/etc
A: Yes. You can build stuff or take over existing castles.
Q: If I do that will I be alone in the castle
A: No. You can set yourself up as lord of whatever area you are capable of controlling (nearby lords will of course not like this and possibly go to war with you), and hire people to work for you including being castle guards.
Q: Is there magic
A: There will be a magic system. At the moment it's horrible and unbalanced but there will be magic.
Q: Is there mounts
A: Horses and mini-dragons (flying mounts). The scripting system means that people will probably create mounts of their own as well.
Q: Do you mean that there are mods
A: Actually the game itself is a simple engine with a mod stack (that is the main game) on top of it. Mods/scripts are both "stackable" and "pluggable". You will be able to remove the main game and just run the bare-bones engine if you want (which results in a fairly boring empty world), or even build a complete new game on it.
Q: Can I play this on my Mac
A: It's written in Java so it's playable on PC/Mac/Linux/etc.
Q: Why are you making a commercial message here
A: I'm not. This game won't be for sale: if I finish it, I'll be giving it away.
I saw something in a thread recently. It was about the living story content, and it went something like this:
It wasn't so bad at first, but once you fall behind a bit and the content goes away, it's really hard to give a care about any of it anymore.
I started with doing all the achievements.
But since X, I'm only trying to get the min amount for the reward chest..
Tired of grinding and I want a month without LS.
So is this actually "grind"? ANet set out to create a grind-free game. And many would argue that they have succeeded. In a youtube video, TotalBiscuit addressed the actual use of the word. According to him, it's only grinding if all there is to do is to go out and kill a lot of enemies. Being told that there are a lot of enemies to kill, and then killing them all, makes it, according to him, not grind anymore. Me, and many with me, disagree, of course. But I will agree that having new content, all the time, is not grind. Even if the actual combat is very similar from enemy to enemy, it's not grind because the content is new.
So why do people get tired of it? We'll come back to that, but first I want to talk a bit about why ANet is doing this. Of course, whenever new content is introduced into an MMO, people log on and play it. In subscription-based MMOs, there's always a lot of resubs right after a major content patch. ANet has personal experience from GW1, where various content additions, festivals, etc would make player numbers explode (GW1 vets may recall 200+ districts in Lion's Arch, and so on).
Now combine that with the realization that what a successful MMO needs more than anything else is community. When lots of players are kept busy, when lots of players are in the game actively playing it, community will emerge on its own.
The classical recipe for this is to create some sort of leveling treadmill. It doesn't need to be based on levels: it can be based on gear, like it is in World of Warcraft. When a sufficient number of players have top gear, Blizzard releases new content, which is not important, and new gear, which is important. But this gives rise to grind, and that's what ANet promised to not have.
Instead, ANet releases content all the time. It's a blitheringly stupid idea, even more so because I myself suggested it, at great length, in many posts on various fan forums. Or, well, actually, the idea itself isn't stupid. The execution of it, however, is. Because people do get tired of it. Not of the actual new content, no. But of the constant releases.
So, why do people get tired of it? Well, the new content is there for only a short while. Then it's removed. And the content has a story element, of a sorts, and GW2 is at least partially a story-bound game. I think a lot of people get tired because they feel stressed out. Not actually stressed over the constant stream of releases, but of the fact that if they don't keep up, they'll never get the chance to see it again. It's gone, forever, you can never go back, not even by creating a new character. As if this was not enough, various achievements, which are kept in high esteem because the non-grind aspect of the game makes it nearly impossibly to distinguish yourself except through these achievements, keep track of everything you have done - and therefore also everything you have missed out on.
I am sorry for having partially caused this. Basically, ANet is running the game at a fever pitch all the time. It is not healthy for the game, and it leads to that people get tired of it. It's not grind. It's worse.