None of that makes sense, so I agree, I think they just noticed that people suddenly wanted more of what was never supposed to be there at all, and then pushed out something that didn't fit in the original vision at all. Then again I think they have been doing that for a large part of the development of GW2, even before release.
I really think that the old founders either did a really bad job at hiring and promoting their philosophy for the design of GW1, or had a massive change of heart. Either way, when the devs were taking about how GW1 wasn't fun or was boring because level 20 was the level cap or that there was no room for gear progression, it makes me shake my head. I don't think I ever heard that when playing. From anyone. Ever. And I was in both the PvP scene and a giant PvE guild at times.
It really makes me think that the idea of this fake progression is so hard programmed into MMO developers' and players' heads that it would take a miracle to make an MMO without it.