The second Beta-test weekend for GW2 has come and gone. I've read all the reviews I can find, examined all the video. One thing above all others stands out about this game:
It doesn't deliberatly short-shrift the little guy. In fact, it deliberately makes available to everyone the kind of content that, in almost every other MMOG, is reserved only for the most hard-core raiding guilds.
Check out this shadow behemoth event. This isn't a queued-up, wait-your-turn, mega-guild-only raid event; this is just something that starts happening in the GW2 world that anyone can join in. This kind of stuff is available to all players from the get-go, at every level, regardless of how hardcore or casual you are, regardless of level. Check that boss mob out. That's hands-down one of the coolest, scariest creatures I've ever seen in a videogame.
Also note, at the end, the enormous treasure box everyone gets to loot from - everyone. No pecking order of who-gets-what. No formal brownie-point list kept by uber-guilds as to who gets the next loot. No ninja-looting drama. No "need before greed" judgement system.
As a casual player, I can log in, check the map, see what kind of events are going on nearby, go get involved in a raid-quality scenario that lasts under an hour (no 3-hr preparations), and collect my rewards at the end. OMG!
It makes you wonder. It also makes you realize that we - the little guys, the casuals & the soloers - have been deliberately short-shrifted by MMOG developers for over a decade. They've used us to fill their bank accounts and provide a contextual "lower class" so that others can feel superior to us by being able to take part in events such as the one in the video. While they were in their uber-guild-locked exclusive content fighting things like that in the video, we had to content ourselves with with whatever 2nd rate content the developers would allow us in order to serve the needs of the hardcore ego.
They enjoyed elite content while we killed rats and wolves, role-played and collected resources, and they told us "hey, this is the way it is, if you dont' like it, play a single-player game." But it was all a scam. It didn't have to be that way. After all, the little guy and the uber-guild member paid the same amount; but the developers kept all the really cool content reserved for one particular kind of player, and deliberately kept everyone else out.
It will be interesting to see if there is a mass exodus of casual players to GW2 from other games. Once word gets out that Arenanet is not holding out on the little guy, this could get really interesting.