Graphically Enhanced - Functionally Gimped
Visually the game is pretty stunning, the art style is very tastefully done even if it isn't everyone's cup-o-tea. There's a very large attention to detail in the overall look of the game, however it does come at a cost and that is often functionality. Granted I'm not saying the game is functionally inept, but there are some pretty glaring issues with the way certain parts of the game handle.
Damn, your storage pane is a huge pain!
If your into crafting, playing the auction house game or simply just being able to run around town figuring out what you have in account storage, you'll understand this bit. Account storage really needs to be simplified, there's just far too much screen real estate being used and being a huge fan of Guild Wars account storage, it really should be able to be kept open while running about in town. I spent a good deal of time running back and forth, pulling items out and returning them to my account storage, then trotting off to the auction house and back again to a crafting table. I do love the fact that there are specific areas for crafting supplies and ultimately one could have personal storage of up to 140 items (7 bags of 20), however in the early stages of crafting, it's entirely to cumbersome to click and run around sorting your crafting goodies.
Improvements here could be:
Account storage needs to be simplified (more compact)
Account storage pane should stay open while in town
Tabs for crafting materials should be separated from mini pet storage, etc.
Crafting windows should have a filter (level of crafting) to cut down the list
Next comes an out and about bit. I've talked about this many times with people, but a follow option should be possible. I know it would be a pathing nightmare to follow a party member everywhere, but if your toon even ran off in the basic direction of the party member you were trying to follow it would be a huge improvement. There have been major improvements to how you locate individual party members both on the map and out in the world, but these could definitely be clearer. Much time was spent scouring the map for party member locations, I almost feel if they made those little blue dot's blip, like a radar would, it would improve that functionality ten-fold. This not to mention that if they were on a different layer, you couldn't see them at all.
Map markers, great-balls-of-fire, would that be a massive improvement to a party. Placing a flag on the world map would be monumental for party organization and having a button to center it would be stellar.
Improvements here could be:
Radar blips on the world map indicating a party member location
Setting waypoint flags and a "center on" button on the world map
Detachable radar map/mini map.
Some way to run in the general direction of a party member when double clicking their icon.
Double clicking an NPC in town should go to that NPC
Gah, stop shooting already!
I played a ranger for awhile and what really irked me most is the lack of a cancel function for skills that fired off automatically. Granted in Guild Wars 1 you could just take a step and cancel a long cast or a skill that continued to fire off past the initial cast. However the much improved system of being able to move and fire off skills has completely removed that dynamic. I suspect there should be a default way to cancel a skill, I'd suggest that quick tap of the shift key or something similar should be at play here. The best default way was the escape key (which didn't always work, especially if your target was already dead). I didn't pour through the key-bindings to see if there was a key to assign for this function however, so I couldn't make a big stink here. However, there should be something default and regardless I'd also like to see the continued cast skills be able to work on switched targets. If a skill continues firing off arrows, I should really be able to just switch targets and it continue to do damage, not just fire them off blindly.
Improvements here could be:
A quick cancel key for skills with longer casts or that continue to fire past activation
Switching targets should take damage on extended skills, not just fire off blindly.
Personal Story, it's like stop and go traffic.
Unfortunately, many people might think completion of the personal storyline basically means the game is over, so I get why there are gaps between level requirements to move through the story. This on top of the fact that they are trying to move you along through the content and those areas really require you to be survivable at a certain level. However, in some cases there are 4-5 levels between the next step in the story making the flow really fall away. Where was I in the story 4 hours ago, while i had to go level?
I honestly feel this is a major flaw, an almost glaringly poor design. I'm hard pressed to think of a quick fix for this really. But, it does come to mind that they could integrate the areas "story" within the main story, to make you feel more like playing a specific zone flows with your personal story. An example would be something along the lines of Beetletuns problem with graphitti and pests… It's a very simplified idea here, but tossing you back out into an area should somehow work in line with your story, so you at least feel as though those sometimes 5 levels are being done with some purpose, and that the zone your in is some what in line with the story. It's there in the beginning, but it quickly falls away as you progress. Guild Wars 1 actually had that flow, since you were moving through the content as part of the story. This flow concept is gravely missing in Guild Wars 2. I may be off-base here with all of the story and across all the races in all the areas, but you really do get a sense of disconnect once you are required to trot around dealing with all the zones problems, leveling up to the next part of the story.
WvWvW - WuV, why must you smother me?
I can't really get into any PVP issues, but in closing this up, WvWvW (World Versus World Versus World or WuV) seems to be the developmental version of a needy, whining fiance. There just seems to be so much focus, not only on it's flaws but on fine tuning the idea of this epic battle. I get that it's a popular part of the game world, I see it's potential, but just like that great graphics focus making features functionally gimped, WvW seems to be ripping the developmental steam right out of PVE. It's more of a cautionary thing, and less than a huge problem at this point. Kinda like my buddy not being able to go out on Friday cause his wife needs more *me* time. Yet, I can see the pain skill balancing had on PVE in Guild Wars 1 during the early days, down the road a ways I can see the impact focus being pushed toward the more grueling aspects of WvW development, ultimately burning the PVE bridge down. I'm truly hoping that it won't be all hands on deck, cuddling with WuV because of it's awkward "emotional problems". If it becomes that needy lover, we as PVE fans might have to dump the rest of the game altogether. Let's face it WuV, you're a game all on your own.