Alliances are pretty much at the top of my list of things I wish had crossed over from Guild Wars. While the new, higher guild cap is fabulous and all that, it doesn't really replace alliances. They opened up communication in a way that the current guild system, for all its freedoms, doesn't quite match up to.
Guild Wars 2's guild system has the potential to do awesome things, some of which we'll hopefully see come into being with this month's patch. I know we're getting guild halls at some point, but for now I'm stuck missing them. If they came into being as they were in the original Guild Wars, I can see them diverting traffic away from major cities (most of which, aside from Lion's Arch, are already more or less unused), so they might function differently, but I think it's important that we have them.
Naturally, we can't talk about guilds without bringing up Guild vs. Guild. Even though I'm not a die-hard PvP player, GvG was a big part of Guild Wars. Watching matches was always super cool, as I'm sure taking part in them was. The current automated and cash tourney system provides structure, for sure, but it's not the same as the system that was fairly emblematic of the original game.
I miss missions as a part of the story line. I know that, as instanced content that tells a story, they'd be a little superfluous with the existence of story mode dungeons and personal story instances, but I think they did their job a bit better than the personal story does. I also enjoyed that missions had fail conditions and varying levels of success. While we're at it, I also miss elite areas like the Fissure of Woe, Urgoz's Warren, and the Domain of Anguish.
There are a bunch of smaller things that I'd like. First and foremost of those is first person POV. I know that's really, really silly, but this game is so gosh-darn lovely that it's a shame to have to try to /sleep to get a decent screenshot without your character's backside mucking things up. When Halloween rolled around, I found myself missing some of the old emotes that used to be available to us. It's nice to be able to goof around (or roleplay) with custom /me emotes, but I miss things like /flex and /drums. (However, I will say that /surprised on a Sylvari is the single greatest thing in the game and thank you thank you thank you to whoever animated it.)
The ability to quickly swap between saved builds or ping builds in chat for the edification of my group members is one that's sorely missed by many players. While things are more complicated this time around with trait line perks and weapons and stuff, this is a convenience that Guild Wars players got really, really used to. I also miss perfect salvage kits, which let you salvage an weapon or armor modifier without damaging the actual item.
There are also impossible things. After drawing up my own list, I asked about for features that other folks would most like to see cross the gap between games. A lot of favorites really aren't feasible. For example, I'd really like to be able to wield any weapon as any class because I miss my caster spears. That, uh, just doesn't work with the way Guild Wars 2's skill bars play out. As nice as it is for my Guild Wars Elementalist to spin a spear about for casting, every class wielding every weapon just wouldn't be feasible for the weapon-specific skills of the sequel. I miss farming, too, which is impossible both because of the general lack of heavily instanced content and the way skills interact with each other now.
A lot of people miss their heroes and secondary professions. Heroes are problematic both because it's an open world and how many copies of Razah can you run across before something smells fishy and because they tend to give people an easy out from grouping. Secondary professions make balance way tricky and make the weapon thing difficult -- would you be able to wield your secondary profession's weapon? Would you get only utility skills? The mind boggles. Something I saw a surprising number of mentions of was skill hunting. In the original Guild Wars, skills had to be learned from specific vendors. You couldn't just open up a window -- oh no! -- that would be far too easy. You had to scout out specific skill vendors in various locations. If you really wanted a cool skill but weren't to the end of the map, too bad for you! Elite skills had to be captured from defeated bosses, which was actually a kind of awesome mechanic. And that's, well, that's gone.
I miss some stuff, but on the whole I call Guild Wars 2 a net win. I mean, we can jump now.
Elisabeth Cardy is a longtime Guild Wars player, a personal friend of Rytlock Brimstone, and the writer of Flameseeker Chronicles here at Massively. The column updates on Tuesdays and keeps a close eye on Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2, and anything bridging the two. Email Elisabeth at firstname.lastname@example.org.