If there were better rewards for a level 80 character in mid-level zones, it'd help move all of that content into the "endgame".
There have been plenty of suggestions on how to do that without simply moving all level 80s to the lowest level zones and creating more loot-trains.
IMO, GW2's strength is the large world with its DE chains, beautiful scenery, and hidden story gems. The "living story" should have been a steady addition of new DEs, story webs, and zones that expand on the wholistic story of GW2 rather than this shoe-horn of linear, single player RPG story into an MMO. Unfortunately, the players didn't go gaga when ANet added the first new DEs and world content so they got grumpy, took their toys back, and decided to blow up parts of the world and give us Scarlet.
I wholeheartedly agree. The problem is not that the game has faults. Eveyr game will. The problem is that GW2 seemed to have a strong design vision during development, but now seems to be driven by a reactionary design philosophy. Keep trying to fix things for a segment of the population, who then feel abandoned with they move on to the next fire that needs to be put out.
Some members of MMORPG as usual crowd didn't like the gear cap, so they introduced vertical progression. Not enough, however, to keep the treadmillers happy.
No endgame, hardcore dungeons, so they create fractals. But then abandon continuing to add more.
No large guild, raid-like content, so they create guild missions. Haven't seen them expanded much since.
The one thing they seem to be stuck on is this idea of a linear, episodic story, even though it has plenty of negative feedback.
I can't help feeling like they abandoned their vision too early. After launch, if they really were seeing unsustainable population drops, they had the choice to either figure out how to take their core vision and improve it and communicate it better, or dismantle it to give people what they expect from other MMORPGs, and they seem to have chosen the latter.
I really dislike the level-gating, but IMO, the worst thing is the removal of some of the most interesting hearts in the game in early areas because they were apparently too complicated for newbies to understand.
The first time I played in Caledon Forest with my 8 year old son, he loved the heart where he was transformed into a fern hound to run around that corral playing with pups and sniffing scents. He spent a long time there. He also expressed disappointment that he could no longer be turned into a treant in another of the hearts there. (Treant heart is actually intact.)
Waiting longer to get utilities and such is mostly annoying for veteran players, but I think the biggest loss is that a lot of the character has been sucked out of the game in the lowbie zones. I was in the beta for Wildstar, and people were complaining that the quests were all the same three quests over and over. Recently, in the beta for Archeage there was the same complaint.
In GW2, we used to have bundle quests, transform quests, underwater quests, and skill points that added variety to those early zones, but it was blowing newbies minds, so now it's been "fixed" to be more like all of the other MMORPGs that people complain about.
I'll be honest, some of those bundle/transform quests annoyed me. You'd transform to do something that caused an enemy to appear, and your combat skills were like throwing marshmallows at them. My workaround was always to do them as a duo, with one person transformed, and the other doing the combat. An easy fix would have been to buff those skills, but instead the quests were removed altogether.
Still can't tell if the people at ArenaNet buy their own PR.
Very underwhelming. It feels like the dealership keeps repainting my car and hanging an air freshener from the rear view window before presenting it back to me with, "Look! New!"
It's hard for me to understand how much life they seem to expect to re-inject into their game by adding achievement categories without anything new to achieve. I guess there are more completionist achievement hunters than I imagine.