First thing I want to point out is the negative association withe term zerg, which usually implies it's a larger group of mindless gamers, or poorly skilled players. There are large groups that are not all that mindless, yes they do spam a lot and it's quite effective tactic when your in a group of 15+ players. Yes it's doesn't take a lot of personal skill to do, and that's entirely the point when you have a large army. In every mass army there's more skilled persons, but they don't always get a chance to showcase that skill because they are expected to serve as a grunt. I think it does a huge disservice to use the term Zerg in WvW, because it's entirely about mass warfare.
Second thing I want to point out is killing players is not the sole point of WvW, there's other things going on that revolve around supply control, so while it doesn't take a lot of personal skill, it's not entirely mindless.
As for the limit of aoe damage and buffs, it was put in because of what is referred to as turtle play, which basically gives advantage to the defenders crowding an area by using arrow carts and catapults to maximize the effectiveness of area damage. the limit has served it's purpose but was never intended to get rid of zerging.
Solution to dispersing zeros is not by damage or buff restrictions but rather skills that can quite literally disperse or scatter a large attacking army. They can introduce large traps that can teleport or launch players far distances. Image a group of 30 players walking in the front of a gate where a hidden trap has been set, the trap would trigger when 6 players are in the aoe at the same time, this would trigger a sudden teleport that would scatter the players abroad. It would effect every person within the aoe despite only needing 6 to trigger it. There could be bomb traps that launch a Zerg great distances. There's a lot different dispersal traps that can be created to reduce mindless play.
On the subject of social competition, the cash shop levels the field and creates an actual diversified community. Without it, the game would be about those select few who have and those who don't have. The time-sinks would do the game a disservice as the existence of RMT would crop up. Way back in Ultima days, RMT was extremely rare thing. It has grown into a billion-dollar industry. That's nothing to laugh at when you're a developer for a MMO today. Building a game without a cash shop is death knell for both the community in which it is building and the profit of the game. Obviously the latter is the priority, but you can't have a profitable game without community.
Developers are a lot more aware of the diverse gamers. They know the casuals, the completestist, the elitist, and the hardcore. A good developer will manage this by creating a social ladder that shortens the gaps with bridges. Those bridges are things in the cash shop. You can call socializing competitive, and it is to a degree, but there's no start and finish line because those proverbial lines are always in a state of fluctuation by coming and going of the community. So paying to cross that proverbial finish line doesn't really win you anything within the community. As soon as you've declared a "win", the finish-line has been altered.
Ironically this exist in life and people climb the social status ladder in many ways, some grind, some are born into it and others hit the jackpot. Calling it a valid competition or even a win is extremely subjective.
You seem to miss the point. Most Gw2 players could care less about who does the most damage to a mob. What they care about is who has the fanciest items and what activity yields most gold per hour. Statistical advantage is irrelevant to them unless if it majorly affects the g/h ratio.
Guild wars isn't a gun fight or a soccer game. It's more like high school where the richest and fanciest guy wins all the attention.
You're trying to insinuate that nobody is playing (killing, gathering, crafting) the game, everyone just logs in and buys gear from gem shop and shows off their wallet size. Yeah there's no DPS meters but it doesn't imply nobody's looking to do the most damage. All I have to say is one word...berserker. People play this game, including those social whales, this isn't a chat lobby like Second Life.
This has turned into yet another anti-gem shop thread because some gamers here have extremely low threshold for time-sinks and they have quickly labeled it as unforgiving grind. I haven't spent a dime, other than character slots, I'm perfectly okay with the time-sinks they've created. I think majority of gamers who play on regular basis don't think there's anything unreasonable about the time-sinks. If the game was entirely dependent on the need for gems, then the majority gamers would just quit.
That's because theoretically, new challenges are added to the game further down the line. If GW2 didn't have the Living Story adding new Achievements and new shininess (Ascended gear), then suffice to say, there are probably people who would either be willing to grind because there's ultimately nothing else to do in the game as far as achieving anything or WvW until they got bored of it.
You do not beat, or become victorious, in an MMO in its entirety. You defeat bits of it.
And to that bit about WoW and GW2, I only know of one guy who actually got all the Achievements in WoW on one character... its not really the same as completing it, because there are like 10 other classes to do it on. As far as GW2, I'd love to see that.
People set their own conditions for victory and achievement in a game. Its why a high-end raiding guild never bothers to become the top rated PvP guild. They hit the wall and take a hiatus. There are plenty of people who do log in for the social bit, but you'd have to find me the person who's going to avoid playing new games because all his friends are entrenched in the old ones, even when there's nothing new for him to achieve in the old game.
LOL Alot of "ifs" in that post. My point still stands because MMOs come with an expectation that there's always new content. And it's no surprise you took my example of WoW quite literally. I am going give you benefit of doubt and say you understood my intent with my initial comment. Lastly, I never implied being "entrenched" equaled not trying new games.