I finally pre-purchased this game and installed the client last week. I have friends who are serious Guild Wars fans, so this is likely our Next Big Thing (TM). Today there was a one hour stress test, so I jumped on to check things out. These are *really* quick impressions, because you can't really do much in an hour.
After spending a few minutes cycling through login (along with a few million other people I'm sure), I managed to get into character creation. This is pretty standard, pick your race, gender, and profession, tweak your appearance, and give yourself a name. There are quite a few appearance options, but I didn't spend a long time fiddling, since... one hour stress test. There's also a little story stuff here, a couple of background questions that give you a starting point for your character. I quickly put together a Norn Guardian (Rar! Giant Dorf!) and jumped into the game.
Environment struck me as attractive right off, and the interface looked pretty clean. I didn't do any customization beyond turning down the painfully loud sound fx and music. There were a fair number of dialogs showing up, at least half were tutorial / guide stuff which hopefully diminish over time. Right away I spotted the first NPC I needed to talk to and got started on the first personal event. Did a little hunting, killed a giant ice worm, and made a good impression on the locals. Just what a hero needs to do.
I had a problem with my video card resetting during combat (constantly) but I'm guessing that's an outdated driver. A buddy has the same setup as me, and he had no issues. Combat felt very polished, and controls felt pretty good. It's a weird switch between Diablo 3 and Guild Wars 2 control schemes, so I did a lot of fumbling around. I really need to work on the whole dodging thing. I'll probably have to rebind the controls for that.
After the first events were done I ran off to visit the various spirit beast shrines around the Norn home valley. Got to run around and kill things as a snow leopard for a while, then join in a dynamic event involving a whole lot of minotaurs.
There was lots of activity everywhere I went, and it took a few minutes to get out of the 'ignore active fights because the mobs are tagged' mindset from other MMOs. The environment looked pretty cool, and combat (when I could actually get through a fight), felt right on target. I'm getting excited about this game!