GW1 > all MMO's. No competition. GW1 by far had the best storylines of all MMORPGs and the best combat mechanics and skill system.
It's skill system was extremely unique, combined with the hero system the amount of combat combinations was unlimited.
It will always be my favorite MMORPG, and GW2 doesn't even come close to it.
Comparing GW1's story to GW2: GW1's storylines had memorable characters: Mhenlo, Togo, Kormir, Koss, Abaddon, Shiro, Rurik. Honestly, i've played through all the races storylines in GW2 up to lvl 20 and don't remember ANYONE's name. That's how weak GW2's story is compared to GW1's. The actual plotlines are really weak as well, there is no reasonable excuse for this IMO, considering the quality of GW1's campaigns, I don't know what ArenaNet was thinking...
GW2 using GW1 music is just as weak--I'd even call ArenaNet lazy for doing this, GW1 pre-searing music shouldn't be played in GW2, they're different times in history that aren't even remotely related.
The main difference I feel is that GW2 feels dull and pointless, I don't feel like a hero at all. Mainly because many of the events are ridiculous chores from picking apples off trees to digging up worms. In GW1 they put you right into the drama of the plotline, the Searing, the war of the White Mantle, the invasion of Kourna, the infection of the plague, the rise of Shiro.
In GW2........ it's just ridiculousness everywhere...Where is the drama of the plot? What is the danger? What is my motive as a "hero?" Why am I killing Skirtt over and over again? ...Why am I picking up apples to help bake apple pies... Not impressed at all, comparing the quality of both games.
GW1 = masterpiece, GW2 = Your traditional MMORPG with extra features but missing a LOT of features at the same time. GvG? Guild halls? 1v1 duels? direct trade? capes? the activities we were promised(shooting range)? trade chat?
Anyways that's my perspective from a hardcore GW1 player who ended off with 2022 hours over 4 years, now playing GW2.
EDIT: Don't even get me started on the dungeons... they're extremely short and not challenging at all. They're a joke in my mind. WoW is still the superior game in terms of traditional MMORPGs BECAUSE of how polished it is, along with its nonbullshit specs that GW2 requires to play at a CONSTANT 50-80 FPS. Christ, WoW even has "officer chat" for guild officers. I mean if GW2 was going to take things from other games(downed state), they should've looked at WoW, the leading and most successful MMORPG to date.
GW2 is still a traditional MMORPG, I would even say it's less of a traditional MMORPG, because it lacks challenge and many features that the majority of MMO's offer, GW2 is a disaster that really shouldn't have been released until it was DONE, meaning EVERY SINGLE FEATURE should've been release into the game already, trading post should've been up since day one, email authentication, the guild and party system should be working at all times, overflow shouldn't exist, all activities should be released(we only have keg brawl(?)..., etc. I have no idea how ArenaNet went from GW1 --> GW2, they removed everything that was good and created a ridiculous experiment that uses way too much CPU power. Give me five GW1 expansions ANYDAY.
No more GW2 ranty nuggets! It's all been said. No more buying stuff from ANet either, unless it's a GW campaign, which everyone knows won't happen.
Here's nugget looking forward to PWE's Heaven Sword Dragon Sabre MMO.
I trust PWE more than I trust ANet by a mile now. Never thought I'd see the day.