1) Shorter corpse walks. I got my Horde Druid stuck in the Boulder Lode Mine, getting ganked by four Venture Co. goblins. three or four minutes of corpsewalking later, I found all of the dead mobs had respawned and there was no safe space to resurrect in the mine. Not that it kept me from trying, and on the third try I actually managed to just have *one* goblin attack me. Then when I was trying to get my system back into fighting trim, another four came at me. At that point I decided to wait to finish the quest until I'd gotten cat form and could sneak in (which I did later, and died when four more attacked me right after I'd killed the boss, but after I'd gotten the Samophlage Manual Cover from him).
At that point, I res'ed in the graveyard and suffered 10 minutes sickness rather than do another three minute corpsewalk. Sheesh.
AoC respawns you, intact, at a safe location. You may need to work through parts of the instance you're in, but in general things seem to be a lot closer than in, say, the Barrens in WoW. I mean, all Blizz had to do was allow you to res in Ogrimmar, but since it's in a different zone you don't do that.
So maybe they should have added another graveyard?
2) Interesting human interaction right away. By this I mean "human" as in NPC, as you clearly have human interaction right away in any MMO. Instead of burning through three levels in a long period of time (say, an hour), AoC gets you through to the city (and vendors, safety, etc) in about 20 minutes. You're in a major city right away rather than showing up at one around level 6, as you do in WoW (assuming you follow quest lines rather than just heading straight for the Ironforge, say).
3) And the early area doesn't involve spending half the time traveling. While I don't know what the post-tutorial areas look like yet, I do know that I'm not spending half my time running. I prefer to play female characters in WoW so that at the very least I'm looking at a nice ass even if it is on a very large cow. Because I spend a lot of time watching them run from one end of Stranglethorn Vale to the other. I love Leonadril, but I was feeling like we'd spent a little too much time together, if you know what I mean. AoC at the very least avoids that early on - most things are pretty close by, and the worst thing that happens is you get lost in Tartuga (got it!)
4) Helpful icons in the HUD. The Mini-map in AoC has arrows to show you where you need to go for the next quest. In Targuta, that may mean running around trying to find which street you need to go down to get there, but it's a big improvement over resorting to an online map to find where the Temple of Conspicuously Consuming Were Rats is as you do in WoW. Now if only they would let you list quests, as I've mentioned before.
See? I like this game. I like it fine. Once I've got the magic disconnected shadows turned off and I have a frame rate in the 30's, I'll like it even more. Tomorrow the goal is to roll another character (probably a priest variant) and try to get Basti through a few more levels (15, ideally).
That, and get one of my Twilight Struggle games done on Wargame Room (I need to play twice before Monday).