Just like that as a MMO designer you want your players to find a race they like, so you give them humans, a bigger bulky race, a race close to nature, one that's beastly and one that is small. And then you assign to each of those races some character traits that blend well together according to your target audience.
(Yeah it's an awful analogy, but hopefully you'll get what I'm trying to say).
The cold war is a fact. Fantasy MMO's aren't facts, they're a bit of a adaption of what originally were tabletop games like D&D which were mostly based on/inspired by Tolkien's Lord of the Rings.
What we a.o. got from those are character stats and classes. Dungeons made for a specific number of players. Those are your "Berlin Wall and the Korean War". And the whole of history's mythology and fairytale creatures and lore mixed in.
How armour pieces are designed, crafting works or what races and their characteristics are concerned, it's totally up to game designers because it didn't all exist yet. If you played a lot of other games, you'll see that they did those completely different from WoW, like coupling a short race with science, technology and robots. Or how crafting works. How you call your regions.
WhiIe I do agree that for instance having light/medium/heavy armour is very generic, I think the other features I mentioned can't possibly be a "coincidence". If WoW hadn't existed, the chance that so many things in GW2 were so similar as they're now would be close to zero.
Edited by Arquenya, 02 December 2012 - 04:04 PM.