My innitial thought is that perhaps they did this to prevent having to deal with spam accounts posting in the forum. They have a large audience, some of which you know what you can sell them. This makes them a very tasty target for spam accounts.
Yes, all types of gear and items, barring those in the HoT expansion. You may have some difficulty getting the gear from group activities because of the moving playerbase and some of the communication difficulties, but it is certainly possible.
Max level is 80, unlocking the full game on your account should let you keep the progress you've made so far on the Sylvari. I don't have any guides handy for that sort of thing at the moment; the broad strokes are the combat being mostly different than other MMOs, the personal story giving you a unique feeling while leveling, the ability to respec out of combat at no cost, and unlocked PvP (meaning everything worth anything is unlocked for you to begin wtih). WvW is a big seller if that is your thing.
Cons are not all these systems are ideally implemented, the living story(map changing world story advancing in game events) means you miss out on a lot of content if you take a month off for something. The rest is pretty subjective.
Arkham Creed, on 28 September 2015 - 08:43 PM, said:
Well, I have to say that you remember pets pretty differently than myself from GW. I hate leveling things so getting a new pet and getting it to 20, with the correct modifier, was a huge pain in the ass. Also plagued by bad AI, a large skill bar/attribute investment, bad slot/attack animations, and a few other issues. And with interruption basically being a much less central mechanic in GW2, the ability for your pet to chill, poison, or fear at your command is useful.
Could it be improved? Hell yes, I've never been a fan of pets in most games since I will always have the AI doing things I don't want. Is it worse than GW? I don't think so. The Druid works just fine for the ranger in GW2 and helps them fill a role they were unable to do before.