What is wrong with Mythic 5 player dungeons? What is wrong with challenging 5 player content for people? Why does everyone's goal need to be raiding? Why can't you respect a variety of play styles?
For YOU, WoW = large group raiding. For others, it is the lore, the environment, the questing, the WORLD part of WoW ... not super instanced scripted fighting challenge extravaganza!
I like raiding, but I'm not obtuse enough to ignore that different people like different games.
Let me ask you this, if the game was just a lobby, with raids ... would you play it? If WoW = raiding; then why not have ALL resources go to raiding, and the capitols basically be a centralized lobby.
See, you are wearing blinders because of your personal tastes and experiences and the people (get this) you played with because they liked to do similar things.
I didn't start playing WoW to raid. I started because my wife suggested it in BC. She wanted me to try it out because she loved it (wasn't my wife at the time). I ended up playing and just having fun in the world. I came from mainly console RPGs and raiding wasn't even on my radar ... which I bet is a more prevalent scenario than you think, even -after- LFR. I got a close friend into WoW, she played for two years and never reached max level with a single toon, but still payed her sub and liked the game.
Your assumption is raids are it. If you look at statistics, they are less it every year ... I still like them, but they aren't the end all, be all of MMOs, and they can't reasonably be produced in size, speed, and quality fast enough for most 'skilled' players.
To answer your question:
If Raids didn't exist, would there acctualy (sic) be a lot of players still playing this game? Yes, most definitely. There would be MILLIONS still playing the game. More people don't raid, than raid I would even go out on a limb to say (at least anything outside of LFR, pre-LFR I'd be confident in this even moreso).
What is the reason why you are playing WoW?
I'm not right now, but it isn't because of raids, it is because of several changes to several classes/specs I just didn't like. I used to raid a lot, but even then, that wasn't the reason I logged on, it was one of the things I did weekly when I logged on. If it was the only thing in the game, I would've never stayed with the game for years. I play to have fun. I play because I like how a class feels. I play because I like the world. I play because I like the people I play with. There are so many reasons to play, raiding makes up a very small part of that.
If you play strictly to raid, that is great for you. Your mistake was assuming are just like you, and do things for the same reasons you do ... that is ok, most people are narcissistic to some extent; it is a social skill to learn to empathize and see people as independent individuals. The community feels like shit, because people are being shitty to each other, and wanting everyone to play the same way and for the same reasons. The problems aren't caused by people with different goals or skill levels, it is caused by people who can't respect others with different goals and skill levels. That ties in to the trend you see of people being selfish and only wanting to play with those who they see as equals (even if the reality of their personal skill isn't as high as they believe). Many aren't taking the time to help new players. They just want to 'win' and 'get loots'. It has been slowly destroying the community for years.
I think, the mentality of 'I only play to raid' is bad for the genre as a whole. Why? Because no new game will come out with enough content, or have a fast enough content cycle to please that mentality. Take SWtOR, though it needed refinement, it was a damn good game, the story, the leveling experience was phenominal. Problem was, people rushed to max level and rushed to beat the raid content as fast as possible. This 'world first race' mentality is destroying the 'fun' part of the game in exchange for intensity and a sense of competition for first place.
If people really just want to raid ... then MMORPG is not the right genre. What we need is something new that simply focuses on this group content only. You log in, you raid, you log off. All investment goes into a relatively fast raid content release ... but the game would have no 'soul' for some. Simply raiding doesn't give you much of MMO or RPG ... and a lobby based community is even worse than the current state of WoW. It would be even harder to form bonds and long term friends in such an environment.
So, we need raids, dungeons, quests, a world that feels alive, great lore, great artwork/armor ... and plenty of things to do outside of raiding in the world to make a solid game to create a large enough community to hold enough people to keep the economy functioning and see people leveling or while in cities and strongholds. A one dimensional game I doubt could ever be as successful as WoW has been.