as Pete has said, the first couple zones are aesthetically more pleasing than the rather dreary Freemarch on the Defiant side.
The new character preset slider threw us both off when we tried to change the height of our High Elves, so that slowed us down. But we finally got in and matched instances to join each other on our adventure.
DGF enjoyed the Guardian tutorial this time around, but I didn't explain the past/present/future of the tutorials very well. The Defiant tutorial is early and explicitly depicted as being in the future, the Defiant Ascended are sent into the past through a Magitech time machine. The Guardian tutorial on the other hand, does not clearly state when it takes place (relative to the main game world) until the end of the tutorial, during the cutscene. If your first characteris a Guardian, this is probably not a big deal; though I was confused myself when playing a Guardian during the beta.
I'll have to think about a backstory for Rowan, not to mention my other toons. I am not clear on how much the Ascended know about their past lives. Obviously the major NPC leaders know who they are, but the dialogue with some of the exemplars of the different classes (in the Sanctuary of Rebirth) imply that the PC Ascended have some memory loss. And are the second and third (and more) souls willing partners? Hostile? Oblivious tools to be used?
This post has been a bit scatterbrained, [Edited to include links]. I also still have some thoughts (and screenies) on the open beta, but I am not sure they are relevant any longer. Tell me what you think, Dear Reader.