I'm surprised not to have seen anything come up article/forum wise of the latest beta that was for all the pre-purchasers. Especially as this was the first time a lot of people get to see what they have put down money for.
I did actually do a two page write up of my thoughts but it's far too long to post here so I will keep my thoughts here brief. The TL;DR version f it all is that it didn't stand out any more than any other MMO I have played, beta or not - and I have played quite a few. I would even say I enjoyed the SWTOR beta more than I did GW2.
Audio - Music and sound effects were excellent. When it comes to the voice acting, it falls somewhere between being better than Rift and slightly below TOR. At this stage I didn’t find it worse than TOR, only that TOR sets an extremely high standard that I didn’t feel GW2 matched yet. Voice acting is of a good standard throughout the game and there wasn’t anything that stood out as a negative.
Visual - Artistically, this is one of the best games out there. The world, environments and most of the characters are designed beautifully. Graphically, so far, I would say is more impressive than TOR but just falls short of Rift, which in my opinion is one of the best looking MMOs on the market. However, I feel GW2 raises the bar ever so slightly when it comes to interactivity and the feel of life within the game world.
However, while the world does indeed feel more alive, at times it also felt cramped, messy and a little too busy with the amount of player and NPCs that seemed to all occupy the same space. The main UI is basic at best and I couldn’t see much in the way of customisation. I wasn’t overly thrilled with it but it did the job. I found the information panels such as character, guild and social screens to be much more informative and interesting.
Gameplay - This is where I was least impressed with GW2 overall. The “revolutionary” quest system, as it has been described, is not really revolutionary at all. I didn’t find this system offered any more freedom over the usual quest mechanics and it tries to create an illusion of choice.
I found the world events to be fun but repeated so often they lost the charm of “dynamic events” very quickly. Unlike Rift, these events are too predictable and do not require the same feeling of teamwork as the rifts took to close.
In my entire time playing this game, I found the sociability factor to lower than almost any other MMO I have played lately.
PvP - I'm undecided whether I like it or not. I'm not happy with the fact you can't level in normal PvP and I don't think WvW PvP scales well at all for lower levels. Which leads me to believe it will become a hunting ground for "nubs" and lower levels. My worry is it will turn into the gankathon end game PvP was in Aion.
Final Thoughts - While the game certainly shines in some places I felt like it really faltered in others. And unfortunately for me, the areas I felt disappointed in most were the features I was most looking forward to. I really hope there will be some improvements but I don’t hold much hope for that.
The problem with holding open betas for people that have already purchased your game means that they will simply excuse many faults because it’s a beta or simply gloss over it because they have spent their money and claim everything is great rather than looking at features critically.
As the game stands, I would be disappointed if I thought this game was anywhere near release. I think we have a good few months before that, I would even say this could be a winter release so I will remain optimistic that there will be many improvements on the way.