Didn't get to play as much as I'd hoped, but I did manage to roll a Norn Elementalist and play around in the snow for awhile. The world is much more expansive and interesting to explore. There are real, enormous mountain ranges to climb. Everything isn't at the same elevation anymore. Although the world is still sectioned off by instancing, the areas are much larger and don't feel confined. The cities(what little I saw of them) are huge. Hoelbrak, the Norn capital city, is quite massive, with many levels and shops, traders, banks and such. I only took a peek at the other cities through the Asuran Gates, which link the large cities of GW2, but they also look massive, as well. The Sylvari and Asuran cities were not a part of this beta.
A nice touch in the cities is the use of location points which, once you have discovered that location on the world map, you can select and fast-travel to that location. Since the cities are so big, it's a nice option to use these when you're bouncing from one area to another for trade or crafting. This also works for any location in the game world you've discovered. I guess this is to make up for the fact that ArenaNet doesn't seem to believe in mounts of any kind in their game.
There are many different professions; Tailoring, Leatherworking, Armorsmithing, Jewelcrafting, the usual MMO fare. You can only have two active professions at a time, but you can switch whenever you want. The nice part here is that if you dropped Tailoring to pick up Platemaking and then decide later that you want to go back to Tailoring, you will pick it up at the same skill level you left off at, with all the crafting plans you learned still available to you. You don't have to start from scratch and relearn the skills you had.
The art direction is spectacular. Everywhere you look is a screenshot waiting to be snapped. Each civilization has its own unique architectural style, and I'm looking forward to exploring everywhere in the finished game. Although at this point, I may stop playing any future beta events, since I'd like to be surprised and enjoy it knowing my exploits and professions will mean something, rather than doing too much in the beta, only to have it all wiped when the game goes live.
TL;DR, I'm very impressed so far and look forward to a great game "when it's done."