Just adding my data point. I am likely to be stuck at that point for some time. Partly by choice. I'm fairly casual in GW2, spending a lot of time playing other games. On top of that I'm in a small, mostly inactive guild. Throw on top of that my OCD need to do the dungeons in order for story mode first, and I've only done the first two dungeons.
The concept is great, the implementation is bad, really really bad. It should be more than a few rifts (yes rifts, like in RIFTs) opening up, crapping out mobs that just sit around doing nothing. It should be more than a few collectibles that just give you achievements and a little reward for turning them in.
To make it feel actually living, A.net should give these living story portions of the game branching consequences. For example if you've done enough to help the refugees, they would have enough strength and manpower to build new settlements where you could probably help them gathering materials and building new home, and later they would become new towns with vendors. And if you don't, they'd probably integrate into existing settlements, you'd see new vendors, or join the forces to take back their homes, you'd see new npcs during the reclaiming sequences.
Regarding the rifts, well, A.net could have learned from Trion. If there're too many rifts and you don't close them down, they'd build up into a massive invasion force that will take over the entire zone and begin to threaten other zones before the chapter ends, you'd have to gather forces to liberate them at the start of the new chapter. If you close enough of them down, at the start of the new chapter they'd still launch an invasion to take over the zone but you'd have a massive event to defend the zone and once you've succeeded, you could launch a counter offensive to erase the presence of Molten Alliance forces from the entire zones right away.
I would love to see magic find removed from the game entirely and the loot systems updated to reflect that (by increasing the chances of good drops in a way which is equivalent to everyone having tons of magic find.) I personally have never felt that magic find made much sense from either a lore perspective or a gameplay one.
Rings are bank-slot-filling trash once you get to level 20 and already have your two rings. I have five alts all with their own infused(dropped) rings (even my new level 15 alts have some waiting for them) and still have 20 rings, infused and uninfused, sitting there taking up space. Not to mention the 75 pristine fractal relics I don't have any use for, but should be able to be used for amulets and accessories.
I have a hard time with this. So you're basically saying you have -so- much of the nBiS gear that you have to contemplate throwing it away... Like the millionaire who complains that he has so many spare Lambourginis, Ferraris and Porches sitting around that he doesn't have enough garage space... Yeah... I feel so...sorry... for you.
Yeah you missed the frail elements of unmet expectations, betrayed trust, lost mentor, and disallusioned friendship. But hey no shiny trinket of real value at the end so why bother.
I guess you're just better at suspending your disbelief than I am. What I got from it was just a bunch of egotistical idiots playing out some kind of high school drama with the fate of the world in the balance, while there are in fact millions of 'commanders' running around perfectly willing to save the world without that bunch of losers. There's never any kind of feeling of necessity for 'Destiny's Edge' playing a roll in any of it at all.
Unmet expectations? Betrayed trust? Lost mentor? Disillusioned friendship? What does any of that have anything at all to do with me? That's their 'personal story', not mine. And for some reason, I need to let myself be dragged in tow by those nitwits. If I had anything to say about it, I'd hang with people without hangups. Even the much maligned Trahearne is preferable company above the Destiny's Dregs crowd. He has the good sense not to be a complete ass.
I don't have any bias against dungeons or grouping, be it pugs or guildies or 'friends'. What I do have issue with is
The final episode is gated, Arah cannot be entered unless it is uncontested.
Unless your an elite group of repeaters, it is going to take hours of time to complete.
We have all seen the cut scenes by now anyway.
There is no appreciable reward to look forward to.
So unless you are going for a legendary, for many of us it's a case of way more of a time investment than most of us are willing to make given the paltry rewards.
You have to understand, there have been so many posts similar to yours throughout the history of this forum and the responses are often times the same. Explaining something so subjective to the extent that it has been done becomes a little exhausting.
To give you a more "in depth" response, you only played until level 50, which is why you're missing some of the core aspects that come into play after you reach the level cap. You seem to have only experienced open world content, which yes, I will admit it is extremely easy - at least until you get to Orr, which isn't really hard but it does require you to slow down your pace and some mobs serve as an annoyance.
Anyways, you're right that gear isn't "required" in the open world, but it is required in late game content such as dungeons and fractals, and there is a slight treadmill imposed with the release of Ascended gear - a hot topic among the community as many are split on the idea.
You describe grinding as a "flow, and you have to understand that many people don't view it as that. You see it as a positive aspect of game play which may explain why you don't feel as though Guild Wars 2 got the MMO formula "right", because I don't believe they were aiming for the traditional MMO "formula". I feel as though, in this aspect, the post stating "To each their own" holds a lot of value, because it's obvious that you hold a different view of grind style game play than most of the people that continue to play this game.
You will however be delighted to know that much of the late game game play is very "grind" oriented, as it consists of running the same dungeons or fractals an extensive amount of time.
I just don't personally feel that you have any room to judge the game as a whole if you've quite honestly experienced less than half of it, because much of what you say doesn't hold true in any sense what-so-ever if you've experienced any of the late game itself.