I'm a long time follower and fan of GW2. What grabbed me most were not the impressive visuals or the interesting twists to the Themepark MMO paradigm, but more the clear and well reasoned vision of ANet.
To kick it off, I want to say I am a little worried, mainly because of two things:
1: The BWE's give me the feeling that Anet isn't far from releasing this game, something I think that it is far from ready for, judging on the current BWE build.
2. The lack of critical vision by the current beta testers and GW fans, hoping for a release not to long from now. A lot of people seem not to care for any depth of the GW2 experience, but just come fore casual fun after a hard days work.
The thing is, GW2's content is amazingly rich and detailed for a beta. I think GW2 already has the content it promised and I loved to play through the content in both BWEs. So the content is most certainly not the problem, it is more the way the content is currently presented and the rulesets/mechanisms applied to it that IMHO needs a lot of tuning to give GW2's content value and depth.
Personally, I find that the way the content is presented in GW2 is breaking immersion with the GW2 universe. I'll list the most important things that cause this:
Edit: on bottom to clearify my nitpicking
1. To much done through the interface without any real world interaction:
Such as using teleportation via the map. It breaks immersion because it isn't using the GW2 universe to apply these mechanisms. The same goes for the learning of skills, the rewards etc. All of this is done directly and instantly through the interface, without any connection to the real game.
I'm going to use the hated WoW (count me in) as a positive example here: Teleportation stones, skill trainers etc. The are things in the WoW universe that are used to apply a certain mechanic.
Interfaces should be a representation of the gameworld mechanics and situations, right now a lot of features only exist through the interface, breaking immersion.
Also those shiny medals screaming in my face....
2. To much use of map signs that stand in the way of incentive to explore.
Undiscovered waypoints, skillpoints and hearts are on the map, which spoils all the excitement of exploring. All undiscovered stuff should be marked with undiscovered places of interest, it makes exploring more varied and holds players of from ignoring a lot of content. Let landmarks and visual elements in the world direct players to the seemingly more interesting undiscovered points of interest. It makes character progression by acquiring skill points much more interesting when you have to SEARCH for skill points.
Edit: To clarify, I do like the marks of "undiscovered points of interest". What I do not like is that skillpoints are directly showed on the map. I want the skillpoints to be among the points of undiscovered interest.
3. Complete lack of phasing of the content in certain areas:
This has nothing to do with handholding. This has more to do with logical and interesting placement of events along ways that players could be (lured into) taking. DE were presented as things that would randomly happen as you stumble by, right now this is not really the case.
By exploring my MAIN GOAL should NOT be finding DEs, but finding interesting places that contain DEs or finding DEs in the process. This in part closely related to 1 and 2.
4. Progression seems off and inconsistent with the premises of GW2's PvE:
I'd like to point out that I completely disagree with the people saying that level progression in GW2 is fine. I really think it shouldn't be necessary for player to visit multiple starting zones. We are talking about the starting areas here, which are important to creating a connection to the atmosphere in the game and to your character. To me it seems really immersion breaking that after being done in my starter zone, that I directly teleport to another starting area with the same 'starter area phasing' of DEs and hearts in a completely unrelated and different atmosphere. Things need to build up and content needs to be presented in a slowly build up atmosphere to be immersive. Right now the constant jumping between areas makes it feel like super mario galaxy 2. In which an interface is used to play bits of entertaining content that has no coherent consistency. This is bad for an open world fantasy MMO.
Imho, when you truly explore every corner of the a certain map and doing all content that comes your way should always ROUGHLY be high enough to get to next area. This mean that when encountering less DEs for some reason, you should be a few levels lower, whereas where you would have done every single event in every single stage you should be a few levels higher. This is very important to get a realistic and pleasing experience of progression which leads to more immersion in to GW2s universe.
It should not be necessary to redo certain events, or run circles in a map because you might have missed certain events. This would make the game about DE hunting in stead of true exploring.
Right now, my character is a hub that I use to get to DEs It should be the other way around! As my journey progresses, I should stumble upon adventures (DEs). My journey should NOT have DEs as its purpose, it makes no logical sense and makes the whole idea behind random events obsolete. I feel no immersion in the world or attachement to my character because everything is directly aquired through an interface instead of the game world. Exploration is spoiled completely by this same excessive use of interface.
Edit: To sum up my sentiments, i'd like to quite a post in this thread:
Originally posted by fenistil
GW2 when I play it it feel very much like a game. Very nice game, but it remind me every couple seconds that it is a game. Thus not very immersive.