I've read about the (apparently) noticeably improved graphics for Cataclysm. Important and about time? Is WOW at the end of it's lifecycle, graphics-wise? The average PC must have improved over the past few years. On the other hand improving the graphics of the toons and mobs too might prove too much work. I remember the almost complete failure to elevate UOs graphics to a new level..
The fascination still comes from the flow of the core gameplay. It's simply fun to farm mobs during leveling. (It's less fun at level cap, since the mobs die when you look at them and are actually incapable of ever killing you. And perhaps more importantly: There's no reason to kill mobs at cap.)
The fascination will continue to hold for quite some time, especially Cataclysm does some things very well. MMOs die slowly.
While I'm not very caught up on Guild Wars 2 info, the dynamic event system sounds just like the public quests found in WAR.
I think public quests are a huge innovation that all MMORPGs need to start using but Guild Wars always felt like an instanced single player game with optional co-op. No matter how excited the designers are about their glorified "evolution of questing", if Guild Wars 2 has a similar world to the first, then their dynamic event system will hardly even matter. Without the feel of an open world, "dynamic" loses most of it's meaning.
To clarify, I mostly only love the theory of public quests, in WAR they were not implemented very well (mostly because of population problems).
A public quest makes the world and the people around you actually feel more credible. Instead of two people next to each other exclusively killing ten wolves for the same frightened NPC farmer, they can both work for a common goal without being forced to group. It allows solo play without obligation while increasing the feel of a community bond with your faction.
The problem with content specific group quests is that they're predictable and so devolve into a feeling that the game’s tight parameters are controlling your world, instead of the players. And if you don’t have enough players, it’ll be impossible to continue because ALL public quests are structured with a similar phasing system. While the dynamic event system does seem more advanced than WAR (and if it is in a persistent world this time then all the better), a giant if/then/else statement ruling the world’s events does not seem dynamic to me at all. It loses the credibility of a dynamic and persistent land by going too far and trying to create predictable, scripted, single player-esque content in a massively multiplayer world.
Still make it heavy on Saronite, but add copper\bronze\gold every now and then to help keep the younger level lands alive.
That is in contrast to Blizzards design philosophy from the very beginning. They don't want the lvl40 player to see lvl80 players, because then the lvl40 could think that they are less OP while killing mobs.
In WoW the different regions play in different times. Old Azeroth before the BC and BC before the LK and LK before Cataclysm.
Blizzard calls it to 'concentrate on the future' instead of on the past. I, too think that this is stupid. I want one world, not an ever-updating region of 'current' time. But, well, it's Blizzards game ;) At least it is consistent with the Tx, T(x+1) set idea.