So I thought it'd be fun to go back in time, to the era before expansions and remind ourselves some of the silly, interesting, broken or unique stuff different professions could do and how they looked like.
Over the years the classes and combat system in general have changed so much, for worse or for better, that a lot of this stuff was likely forgotten and newer players might not be aware of it's existence.
If any veteran players have their memories of such things to share, go for it. Even if they have holes, I'm sure some of mine do.
My share, off the top of my head:
AoE skills had no player cap on them early on. Imagine Meteor Shower and Epidemic affecting everyone. Caused major lag in WvW, too.
Quickness didn't exist before HoT. Instead, few classes (Thief, Warrior and Mesmer) had access to their unique versions of it, often coupled with high side effects (like double damage taken). However, Quickness was +100% not only to attack or cast speed, but any action speed, including Reviving which was one of the reasons Chronomancer broke early HoT apart and buried Pro League by itself.
Warrior used to be the laughing stock in PvP shortly after launch. Provided you avoided the one cheese bull's rush combo they were more or less a free kill, with their best condition removal being Signet of Stamina. They were originally intended to be weak to conditions. Healing Signet used to heal for about a half if not less than it does now, have higher cooldown and grant no Resistance (because Resistance didn't exist). It took about a year for Warriors to receive major buffs, in Healing Signet hps, Cleansing Ire added and Berserker Stance turning you into Big Bad Wolf with enemy necromancers being Red Riding Hoods for the duration. Originally both Adrenal Helath and Berserker's Power were just based on your stored adrenaline and not actually using it, so in "vanilla" warriors in pve weren't even using their burst skills.
Shortly after launch Elementalists were widely considered as the mushrooms of PvP, similar to Warrior, except even worse. Most were rocking variants of Scepter or Kamikadze Staff. That is, untill some wise souls have decided not to try to make Ele your regular fantasy mage, but go with the most defensive amulet with healing power coupled with D/D and so the most dominant Ele build in the history was born, only strengthened later with introduction of Celestial stats which were perfect for Ele.
Ranger's Longbow used to be the ultimate meme weapon, with Rapid Fire being about twice as slow as it is now, Hunter's Shot having no stealth and so on. It may be a surprise to some, but because of that the most dominant Ranger build at launch was a Trap Ranger, camping sidenodes. It was effective because the condition cleanse was scarce apart from Necromancer, later Ele and Guardian. There was time when the black panther pet had permanent F2, essentially being a permastealthed crit machine that followed any poor kitten. Oh, pets also ignored stealth and were following players in it.
In 2013 a new Ranger cancer was born, regarded as one of the least skillful builds ever existed - after tweaks to Ranger spirits, allowing them to follow Ranger among other buffs, Spirit Ranger was born, with 3 AIs at least following each. Through the immense skill in pressing buttons off cd, autoattacking with sun spirit procs and not dying to either power damage or conditions (through OP at time Empathic Bond, transferring whooping 3 conditions every 10s to pet only Epidemic Necro could really counter). ROM became famous with this and later with Shoutbow Warrior.
Moment of Clarity was a +100% duration to any hard CC. If you don't know, CC in PvP is usually capped at 4.5s for a single instance. However, items Boar forages are PvE items bound by no restrictions and have high base durations already. Among the items Boars can forage is a Skull you can use for a lenghty fear. Fear scales both with MoC and condition duration (and Fear duration Necromancer's runes had/have?(?)). Introducing, the most one-trick-pony RNG memebuild ever to exist. Rocking up to 12+ second Fear that could be Epidemic'd by Necromancer to make his own and proc Terror.
Necromancer, oh my. So to start things off, there existed a meta before HoT when teamfights were dictated by Necromancers using their Lich Forms. May be a shocker to newer players as Lich hasn't seen any light in good few years now, despite cool rework. Lich Form, as well as Ele Tornado (and the old Plague) , used to boost caster's stats by a lot which is why the common tactic for both classes in WvW was dropping your lasting AoEs and then going into Elite for massive power/crit stat boosts. While it was used on PvP Necro, there was also another trait, proccing Spinal Shivers which scaled crazy good with powerboost from Lich. The ending result was, Necromancer could go into Lich Form, use autoattack once on an enemy and that autoattack could proc two damage sigils as well as Spinal Shivers, deleting poor squishy on the spot.
Originally, Corrupt Boon used to be a heavier cooldown, but corrupted all boons on the target. What it meant was that while a bad Necromancer would whiff CB, a good one would wait till enemy Guardian/Ele applies boons, including Stability and CB afterwards, almost guaranteeing a kill early on, because of how much less common stunbreaks and condition cleanse were.
For a long time after launch Condition Necromancer struggled a bit in PvP, but it's changed suddenly in 2013 when ArenaNet in surge of genious decided to add the first version of Dhuumfire to the Necro. It broke the class, as it was a simple proc with ridiculous effect and resulted in many nerfs, including Corrupt Boon change. Later, it was finally changed into Dhuumfire we know now (fun fact - Dhuumfire has unique animation effect on Core Necromancer's Life Blast, but none on either Reaper or Scourge. Check it out).
Necromancer was the ultimate Dora the Explora or WvW suicide jump baiter, being able to negate falling damage with either Spectral Walk mid-air or just staying in Shroud. Yes, damage you took in Shroud used to not carry over to your health pool, acting as sort of Aegis against big crits. If Warrior hit you for 10'000 with 500 life force left in Shroud, you would be kicked out of Shroud but take no damage to your health pool at all. Was a neat thing in all the gamemodes.
Flesh Golem had the same funny and broken bug as the famous Fiery Greatsword. When charging at an enemy against a wall, it would deal a massive burst of damage, killing any player victim on the spot or doing some serious damage in PvE.
Necromancer used to heal with Shroud autos! Yes, there existed a trait called Renewing Blast which caused Life Blast to heal allies it travelled through. It even had pretty alright scaling for the time, but wasn't used much because lining up Life Blasts involved either tricky positioning or aiming at allies with camera.
Yeah, I stream once in a blue moon.