Each picture below is linked to a full resolution version if you click. GW1 will always be on top and GW2 below (unless stated otherwise.) Without further introduction I present for your viewing pleasure the new and old worlds of Guildwars.
Firstly the character select menu, not a massive innovation here but they both match the look and feel of the respective games and both a are clean and functional. Notice the GW2 menu shows progression and achievement detail of the upper right where GW1 shows a shop link. I have substantially more Character slots in GW1 but this is after four expansions so I can't really complain.
Here we have two fairly random screen shots from both games Please note that I have customised the UI for GW1 but not GW2. The only changes I have made in GW1 are the positions of the elements to make the game fee l a little more modern (XP bar at bottom, smaller UI and server select top left)
This is the continent of Tyria. Tyria is one of three continents of GW1 but is the only one that was on offer before the expansions launched. In GW2 it is the only continent but does appear to have more explorable surface than the original. You may also notice that the Fire isles at the lower right are now partly destroyed making way for the recently resurfaced land of Orr (could be wrong about the area name if I'm honest)
The Guildwars Compass is not in GW2, instead we have a more sophisticated version of the previously used 'Mini Map' this map sits of the lower right of the screen and is constantly moving. its a solid map system and suits the game well offering more instant information than the either the radar or the mini map of GW1 but lacks the ability to 'scribble' - In GW1 you could draw lines on the radar map allowing you to quickly give targets and signals to other group members. you could also double click the radar to 'ping' your approximate location on other player radars. This appears to be missing from GW2 (as far as I know)
The Asuran Transport Gates was a recent addition the GW universe only showing up with the Eye of the North expansion. They are Transport gates that go between two set point. The gates where apparently made possible with the magic that leaked out of a sleeping dragon. The GW2 gates look fore like they are actually generating the 'swirly' than the GW1 games where the 'Swirly' and the gate never quite lined up as they appear to have been intended. The gates have a striking resemblance to those found in the 'Stargate' television and movie franchise - this is true however they to bring an interesting gameplay element to the table.
Here we have the GW1 (left) inventory panel. I have placed this image next to the GW2 hero panel as they both show the players character and armours, interestingly i think the GW1 character model here is more pleasingly rendered and even looks more detailed in places. This is literally the only thin that GW1 does better and i think this maybe more to do with my artistic tastes and the choice of armour.
Both games have a choice of skills and a health indicator but GW2 does not have any form of energy system. a skill has only cool-down rules making the skill system far more pleasing to new player. You will also note that the GW2 bar has additional class specific skills attached to the 'F' keys. each system has its merits but GW2 steps away from the mix and match or 'trading card' like system that GW1 used.
The skill system used by GW1 allowed you to choose from any 8 skills out of a pool of hundreds (and thanks to the duel class system you could mix another class's skills with your own) however in GW2 we have a much more mature method for skill progression, as you level you get points, spend the points on the skills, spend enough unlock the next tier.
As much as this system has its merits it also means that the old 'skill hunting' evenings will not be a part of my GW2 gaming. This was a well enjoyed meta game for GW veterans.
Here we have what used to be the central point of Lions Arch (LA) rebuilt to reflect the glory of GW2. This screen shot also really shows off how far we have come in terms of graphical fidelity. in this one picture there is so much going on making The GW2 experience rich while in the GW1 equivalent there isn't even an NPC.
Here we have the Quest Logs. GW one, some how managed to avoid being about random quests even thought they where where for you if that was what you wanted to do. instead the game offered you a primary story to follow through missions once that was done you could go hunting for skills, PvP, or basically (as I did) bask in the community and 'play' in the world on offer. GW2 understands this. In GW2 there are no quests just a story and every other activity is just that, an activity that you can take or leave, public questing and PUG's are king in GW2. In case your wondering it does work, exceptionally well.
Here'a the Achievement window of GW2, nothing in GW1 is like this so I have put it here alone. I'm not an achievement chaser but in a game with no quests its a great source of activities.
This is the server select window of GW1. Server selection is not a organic in GW2 and to be honest I've not had time to figure it out yet.
Here's a screen shot that i think shows off the new engine well and thought I would share it.
Here is the Black Lion Trading window. This is basically an Item store focusing on cosmetics at the moment but it looks like its going to expand well. its so subtly done that I doubt anyone would find it offensive or object to its content (at the moment.) The store uses Diamonds. you get these gems buy using your credit card bit you can also exchange massive amounts of in game coin for them making it quite fair to the more frugal or time rich gamers.
The store (and lets just call it that) offers things that seem to match the time of the game well and then it has sun glasses and baseball hats too. I'm not sure how that works from a lore point of view but I'm sure they have worked it in somewhere.
The store window also lets you find the in game auctioning system (that has been down every time I have logged in so far)
That's all I have had chance to screen grab so far but I hope it has helped to highlight just how far GW has come in just one game (and a long wait)
If you see a well dressed Mesmer (Laird Hex) in game please say hello :)