I arrived at Tyria the same way many of your did: by playing the first Guild Wars game. I wasn't part of the company when it came out, so I was there in Ascalon when the Searing hit. There were earlier drafts of the world bouncing around, but what you see in the original Guild Wars game is the heart and soul of the Tyrian map. The collector's edition had a little blue map that laid out the area, which always makes me smile.
Tyria, by the way, is name for both the world and a particular region in the world. Back with the original game (now called Guild Wars Prophesies), that really didn't matter, but when we started adding on with Cantha and Elona, it became noticeable. Particularly when we have a timeline that said that humans arrived in Tyria (the continent) a few hundred years AFTER they had established a kingdom in Cantha (which is in Tyria, the world). So yeah, it is both the world and this chunk of the world, and can pick it up by context. It might confuse a bit, but only slightly less than, say, oh, Azeroth, which has been a kingdom, a continent, and world. (Protip: when you say "Azeroth, Azeroth, Azeroth" in-game, Michael Keaton appears and pwns your characters :) ).
|I love this map, not only because of what it shows|
but of its potential.
Tyria as a place has been driven by the opportunity of the game - the chance to provide exciting and epic locations for the heroes. As a result, it has a very plastic nature, even moreso that Krynn. We just dropped a mountain on Krynn. Tyria has seen gods battling, Orr sinking, the Searing, the Foefire, Elder Dragons, the Brand, Orr Rising, the Great Collapse, and most recently the destruction of Lion's Arch by a gigantic airborne drill. Putting it quite simply - real estate is not as secure an investment in Tyria as you'd might think.
And it is really cool as far as far as look and feel. One of the things about GW2 is its ability to command the sense of space and monumental architecture that we could not do with the original (where we had the challenge that we couldn't point the camera up). The addition of vistas has allowed the camera to free itself of the character for a sweeping panoramic shot of the world. Plus, vistas make for a nifty little reward for all those jumping puzzles you do to get there.
For me, even though I've been working there for quite a few years, I still find things which delight me when I am wandering around in it (and the Living World adds more all the time). It has a dynamic which continues to grow over time along with its players.
So, yeah, I'm kinda happy with it.