Tomes take a few minutes, crafting a few hours, everything else will get you to max level within a day or two. Ascended weapons are cheap, trinkets are essentially free and armor doesn't matter. In fact the difference between pink and orange gear is so minimal that you would only get it if you have money to spare. Plus it's account bound which means it can be shared by several characters.
The bottom line is that "GW2 did/didn't have that" is not an argument. You have to compare GW2 with current games of this genre that enough people actually play.
I guess we should just ignore how long it takes to get 79 tomes or 59 and a lvl 20 scrolls, or gold it would take to get 80 off crafting alone. In GW1 you just quested a few hours.