The servers came up around 9pm pacific last night. As timing would have it, I was able to log on right away, created a character with a friend. That all went smoothly but there were some serious network issues.
I had to do the newbie intro fight three times before I was able to get to the starting area. It didn't quite reset me as I kept all my loot and XP, but even after defeating the "boss" mob and loading the new area, I had to repeat it again.
I had added my friend to friends list and added to group but they weren't on the same channel or were in a different overflow server.
After that, of course, I was kicked into an overflow server. An hour and a half later, we still weren't able to join up to play together. Pretty disappointing as that was the #1 criticism I had (and many others had as well) of the beta. It creates a really bad first impression as the point of MMOs is to play together.
I noticed in the contacts there was a "join in" option for each friend but that only gave a network error as well. I'm hoping it's just the mass wave of people and at the very minimum, they've figured out how to at least kick all people that are joined in a group into the same overflow server. For now, you may as well be playing Skyrim or some other solo game as even on the same server, it's hard to join up. Major negative.
If things worked according to plan, you can join up with friends from multiple servers, create a party and play together as long as it's PvE content. I already have a friend on another server and the ability looks like it's there but couldn't be used last night. Your friends list is tied to your master account as well so any character you create will automatically appear on your other friends lists with your primary account name in parenthesis after the name. (good and bad I suppose if you're just looking to do some solo crafting or something and not be bothered. There's probably a way to hide a character)
Other than the monster negative grouping issue and a couple disconnects, everything else seemed to be ok. Disappointing they couldn't resolve the #1 complained about problem though before launch. 90 minutes last night before we logged off because of the inability of the game to get people in the same group on the same channel/overflow/whatever.
They are giving away a free hat to celebrate the launch (not soul bound)
FUCKING SWEET! They poured tons of effort into their fantasy setting (it does look great) and then the mood it broken by people running around in baseball hats.
One impressive thing about GW2 is how fast the game loads and how fast you can switch between characters, etc. It's doesn't take long to get back on after a disconnect.