Ok, so you guys misunderstood me or my wording was just bad. I will try again:
There was no massive outcry but:
People mentioned that they wanted a similar/intersting mechanic back and that orbs were fun (on the forums), shortly after they were removed. Anet stated back then, that they will work on a solution. Why would you bother demanding it oer and over and over again for something that it's pretty neat and fun but nothing necessary to play or enjoy the game as a whole? The other thing is: I'm and active WvW member since way over a year. Over that time frame you will hear a lot of people on your server TS, guild TS, other Guild's TS, open chat, WvW forums... And there were a lot of people wanting something like the orbs back (and a lot of new players that didn't even know the orbs but were interested after hearing about them). The whole time.
So there was a demand for that but rather silent instead of a massive outcry all the time. Maybe demand is to hard of a word for it. More like a wish maybe.
I believe was meant to be an anti-zerg/stupid-proof mechanic which was actually something a lot of players said they wanted, but when Bloodlust was revealed it was all too obvious that it would benefit the team that was already winning, primarily due to coverage and population imbalances.
1. Guild Wars 2 has no monthly fee, therefore they already have your money.
2. Fractals do not in any way encourage gem store purchases, as Fractal weapon skins are the main pursuit past Personal Level 20. If anything, the hardcore Fractal runners would never buy any of the gem store or Living Story weapon skins, since Fractal skins are a way better symbol of status than a 600 gem purchase.
More importantly, what if they were fearing for their wallets? Is that a bad thing? ArenaNet is pursuing something incredibly ambitious with the Living Story. Even if it hasn't fully met my own expectations yet, I can recognize the amount of work they've put into it and understand that bi-weekly releases do require some kind of cash flow to sustain. I think the Living Story in a lot of respects sustains itself in this endeavor through gem store armor and weapons, however, and is completely unrelated to ascended being added to the game.
Pretty sure I tried to counter your main point. The one in bold. Maybe you missed my point? That they're actually not listening, but fishing for variations of agreement? The fact that they've foregone communication through forums in favor of media like twitter and twitch all but support this as those sites are useful for maintaining one-way discussions.
Anyway I'm bored at school so...
1. GW2 has a cash shop as well as the trading post which is highly integrated into the monetization scheme. Players playing longer or lured back by ascended gear increases the chance of purchasing gems, either to buy cosmetics or convert to gold. The latter is important as it alleviates some of the grind required for ascended items, like the T4 materials needed for quivers or the new crafting components for ascended weapons and armors. The f2p cash shop works by allowing the players no spending cap, but there needs to be incentive for them to do so. This is where ascended gear comes in.
The fact that they've resorted to VP only shows that they value money more than the values they used to sell the game in the first place. The alternative, if you're willing to believe that ascended gear was in development before release, was they lied in order to gain as much momentum as possible at release. Either way this shows a change in the company, one that's driven primarily by their wallets (I re-railed the discussion, Duderino, so I better get a "like")
2. Don't think I ever said anything about fractals. I actually like fractals, to a degree. They grindy real quick. But, by design it is sticky content which is meant to get the player playing as long as possible.
I wouldn't be so miffed about this if it wasn't for the Living Story. It's not worth the abandonment of the values that sold this franchise for me.