With ArenaNet keeping suspiciously quiet about how their WvWvW player vs player instances will work, I've been thinking about my experiences in the multiplayer online arena and how my absolutely ideal PvP games would work.
Skill Based Gameplay
Guild Wars did a brilliant job of removing the advantage given by "epic gear" or having a higher level. I understand that you can still create a PvP character that will be on equal terms with other players in the arena and I'm glad ANet haven't abandoned the level playing field entirely despite the higher level cap in Guild Wars 2. Success in Guild Wars 1 PvP revolved around having a better build, knowing how to use it and playing a tactically better game than the opponent.
The most "serious" I ever got in GW PvP was playing ladder matches in Hero Battles (I was in the top 200! Although only like 2000 people ever played it). In HB you directed your 3 AI controlled heroes to shrines and attempted to outplay and out maneuver your opponent and his heroes. A lot of players didn't like HB because it resembled too closely the AI controlled elements of PvE - but those who played it knew it was actually an incredibly strategic game. You needed to know which of your heroes could survive against/kill which of your opponents heroes - you needed to learn when to back off and concede a shrine and when to rush and collapse on a single unwitting hero.
I liked HB because you knew that every other player had exactly the same tools available to them as you did, but you played a better game. You ran your heroes better than him and planned your tactics more efficiently. Your victories weren't as a result of your luck in getting "uber blue gold helmet drops" it was because you outplayed them. It was less WoW, more Chess.
So, there it is. Objectives, Strategy and Equality. My three tenets of a good PvP battle. I'm hoping that ANet have adhered to at least a couple of them in their new formats, Aion almost got there, but their fortress sieges were just gank fests and the "Abyss" was just a PvE area with roving bands of angry Asmodians...
Ultimately, if ANet can create a PvP environment which feels flexible and immersive, then I'll be a happy Sylvari.