Article One: Skills
Movement is much more free than in the original game: now you can jump, climb and swim, and tactical positioning is rewarded.
Players can now equip ten skills at once (compared with the eight in the original). Some old skills are back, including elite skills, of which the player can only carry one at the time.
To illustrate what I'm talking about, I was watching two of our game designers--Jon and Isaiah--play the other day. Jon is using his shield to deflect the fire breath of a drake, when Isaiah hits the drake from behind with a skill called Devastating Hammer, launching it into the air. The drake is sent flying over Jon's head, who immediately turns and uses a skill called Savage Leap to impale and finish the drake right as it hits the ground. This was a very cool looking (and effective!) sequence of events that flowed very naturally from how combat in Guild Wars 2 works.
All skills are influenced by the players profession (class). The first five skills depend on the weapon(s) the player is carrying, and the other five depend on its race. The descriptions and effects have been simplified, and the results of using a certain skill are visually clear (GW1 players might know what I mean).
ArenaNet did this so players are ensured to have a good "build" of skills: no build has "useless" skills, if used correctly.
Article Two: Combat, Races and Professions
Like stated before, the first five skills you carry are influenced by the type of weapon you carry. Weapons carried in you off-hand, for example, will act differently from weapons carried in you main hand, even if it's the same type of weapon.
Players can now use their surroundings to their advantage: siege weapons can be used, and even common-looking items can become a deadly weapon in your hands.
Boulders can be picked up and thrown, or you can pick up a barstool, smash it over a patron's head, and use a chair leg as a make-shift club!
The type of interaction varies from profession to profession: remember that boulder you could pick up? If you happen to be an elementalist, you can launch it into the skies, and make it crash down like a meteor.
Professions can now be roughly divided into 3 armour groups:
-Scholars, who use light armour
-Adventurers, who use medium armour
-And Soldiers, who use heavy armour
Currently there are three scholar professions, three adventurer professions and two soldier professions.
Each profession has been revised, to give each an unique feeling and type of gameplay (you know the drill).
Secondary professions (i.e. a second class you can pick for the same character, using the skills of that class as well) have been dropped in favor of balance, and racial differences have enough weight already anyway.
The fact you can't use skills from two different professions doesn't matter much in cooperative play, because now there are Cross-Profession Combos!
A warrior and an Elementalist playing together could combine their abilities in several different ways. The Elementalist could drop down Static Field, which is an area-targeted lightning effect. A warrior who fires a rifle bullet through the static field would cause his shot to be charged up with electricity, inflicting additional damage. If that didn't suit their style, then the Elementalist might drop a Wall of Fire in front of a group of enemies. The warrior could enter the firewall and use Cyclone Axe, an attack which causes him to spin rapidly, sending the firewall outward and hitting his foes. There are literally hundreds of combinations for players to discover.
Moving on: five out ten skills depend of your character's race:
Elite racial skills will also be introduced, like the Norn's ability to change into animals.
A sylvari warrior might choose to bring Grasping Roots, which immobilizes a foe, while an asura warrior might choose to bring Arcane Blast for some additional ranged damage.
Next up: Meet the Elementalist (need someone to reply, otherwise the video's and so will be added to this post, making it even longer)