1. Yeah, that's marketing. I miss some aspects of GW1 (like the dual profession system and more flexible skill system), but like some aspects of GW2, mostly technical (mostly non-instanced, the z-axis, the event system, the crafting system, unlocking weapon skills as you use the weapon, etc.)
2. Also don't forget traits, which further customize your character. But he's right that your character won't be as unique as he could have been in GW1 (mostly I think because of the skill collection system in GW1).
3. Yeah, that was weird. Didn't bother me at all, though.
4. I agree on the story, but still force myself to sit through new cutscenes.
5. I've never really felt like I was grinding (I play PvE). If I wasn't enjoying something, I'd go on to something else. But I'm also the type to hang around and listen to the NPCs talk and enjoy the setup and resolution of their dynamic events. A lot of it is mundane, but there are some gems there once in a while. And you can't directly spend real money on better gear, but you can spend real money on in-game currency and use that at the Trading House (items put up for sale by players) to buy better gear. Then there are some convenience and cosmetic items in the real-money store; the only one that helps you get more powerful would be the temporary XP boosters. Doesn't bother me.
One of the things I love is that my friends or my kids can get online with a new character and I can join them up wherever they are with my highest level character and still have fun playing with them.