GW2 has a lot going for it; hype, speculation, years of development, a promising 'buy to play' model, and even more importantly a pre existing fan base from Guild Wars 1. Arena.net is a company that was founded with the goal of making an online world that people want to play in. They made Guild Wars 1, but at the time they had limited resources, and could only do so much. With the knowledge and experience gained from that venture, they began work on Guild Wars 2. They wanted to make a persistent online world, with dynamic events, and to get rid of the traditional questing model. They are in beta, and they have already won people over.
This game is years in the making, and it is long anticipated. For years World of Warcraft has rained supreme in the market, after toppling the many, many MMO's that have come out trying to copy its success, including Guild Wars 1. When setting out on Guild Wars 2 Arena.net decided that they would not settle for second place, and that they wanted to make the best MMO they possibly could. When they announced it, there was no question that the game was going to be good, but as time went on, and more info was revealed, it seemed, and still seems to good to be true.
The MMO market today is so saturated with top notch games, including the almost 8 year old Juggernaut World of Warcraft. Games like Star Wars: The Old Republic, Lord of the Rings Online, and RIFT, have all had trouble maintaining an active playerbase. Why could Guild Wars 2 do any better. What can it do to distinguish itself from the competition, and more importantly, from WoW? Well, for starters there is no subscription fee, so if you don't like it at launch, you can check back later without paying anything extra. But wait, if theres no sub, how are they going to provide updates, and customer support? Simple really. They have a cash shop, (where they sell cosmetic items, and boosts) and most major updates will be in the form of paid expansions. Where WoW gets an expansion every 2 years, Guild Wars 2 will likely get one every year.
That doesn't explain what they are really bringing to the table though, does it? They are breaking the MMO trinity (Tank, Healer, DPS) No one person is going to have one defined role. This should make battles a bit more dynamic, and a little more unpredictable. You can't get by being a good tank, or a good healer. You have to be good at your class. Another cool thing that they are doing is World vs World vs World, where three servers are put at war on giant maps that support hundreds and hundreds of players. In these battles you will be defending and attacking keeps, managing supplies, building defenses, and exploring PvP dungeons for rewards.
The breaking of the traditional quest format is another huge thing. You have simple tasks that you, and others in the area can do, that function like traditional quests, but can be completed by everyone in the area. However the more interesting thing, is the dynamic events. Dynamic events are events that play out in stages, in the open world, and they play out depending how well you and everyone helping you are doing. For example, a group of bandits could attack a camp, you defend the camp, and either drive them back and invade there camp, or lose your camp and have to attempt to gain in back. These are always playing out in the world, and scale depending on how many people are working on it. I have not seen any of these in action, but they sure as hell sound promising, and very fun.
As for he rest? The world is huge, the cities are impressive, and the gameplay, and classes look fun. But one thing that it definitely has going for it? Well I'll start and say that if you think this next thing doesn't matter, your\ naive. World of Warcraft is in a slump. It is in between the final patch of an expansion, and a new expansion. There will be no new content until the new expansion comes out. Blizzard gives two months notice for a new launch, and it has not been announced yet. What does this have to do with Guild Wars 2? It will be coming out before the new World of Warcraft expansion. A lot of people will be bored, and potentially looking for new games. Arena.net got a perfect launch date. Assuming the game is fun, addicting, and there are little to no problems, it has the potential to really stand out as a gem in a dulling market.
Now, what are my honest opinions? Well, I have yet to pre order the game. Going in, I have been burned by MMO's in the past, and the only one that I have played consistently is WoW. I am in the Mists of Pandaria beta, and it is shaping up nice, it has the potential to be the best expansion WoW has ever had. But. The price point to GW2 means that I am going to pick it up. No sub means that if I don't quite like it, but get the urge to try it out later, I can do that without spending 15 bucks. It looks very promising, and I will be playing it on launch. My only concern is it's staying power, but we shall see.
One things for sure, most of the MMO community is staring at this game with eager eyes.