To me GW1 & GW2 are about as equal as the left and the right Twix, all they (GW1 & 2) share today are a wrapper (name) and a driveway (Anet). /sarcasm
Though, as you can see in this thread, what people liked in GW1 differs by a large margin. Even how they look at ‘how it is manifested in GW2’ differs. F/e taking Danikat’s points, and how view them:
1. GW1 was an expansion driven, non pay-to-win non subscription game. While the non pay to win stayed, GW2 is no longer expansion driven, but it is game-shop driven. And this becomes more and more clear through how the various features in the game are set up.
2. GW1 had no gear treadmill, there was a clear max in fairly easy to obtain maximum ‘armour, weapons, runes’ (the hardest to obtain was probably the superior rune of HP). GW2 on the other hand, has a gear treadmill build in, even though the stat increases (from exotic to ascended/legendary) are so minimal they might as well be considered negligible, the stat increase between rare and exotic is not. While one could argue that all exotic armour can be crafted, the prices for these items in-game or on the TP are so major that were there no crafting, it could almost be seen as a ‘pay-to-win’ kind of management of the economy. Also, the addition of Ascended weapons, is exactly what a gear treadmill is, adding new higher stat weapons as a way to extend gameplay beyond it’s natural life.
3. Build Changing… this is the one that I would oppose most as being in GW2, actually, the whole system seems to very much be favouring locking people into a certain build, mainly through armour & runes. And while this wouldn’t be such a problem if the game was balanced properly, and the reward system rewarded all kinds of contributions to the fight (support & CC); but fact of the matter is the game is not! This means that if you play the game as you want gw2 gold us, is not playing the game optimally, and the way the economy is managed and thus the prices for armour & runes are, once you make ‘a wrong’ choice, you are screwed until you manage to grind enough gold (which may well be around 150G) just to change your build.
Compare that to GW1 where you could just goto a rune-seller and buy a different rune for 200silver or so (foregoing a few that cost more, mainly the HP rune at 20g or so), and change your build around entirely, if you didn’t have all sorts of runes drop on you already.
And sure, in GW2, you can swap your weapon and skills, you can even re-pick your traits easily. But that is only around 30% of your build and effectiveness, the rest comes from weapons/armour/runes. And they dictate how effective your ‘build’ will be, and with their prices, GW2 isn’t at all as flexible as GW1.
4. The art style and technology for the art were a major improvement to GW, as well as full 3 axis gameplay.