Starting off, this is merely something I've noticed in my many many years of playing WoW, nothing more. Take from it what you will.
I feel WoW is pretty much one big damage meter. Anybody who's anybody has a damage meter to see their party/raid damage. BG's have the scoreboards for damage and KB's as well. While I have usually been in the top 3 for whatever I choose to do that day, I can't help but feel this is what it's all about for the majority of players.
Back in the day, and not only in WoW, but other games as well, it was about group focus/teamwork. Not many people were button mashing and stressing themselves out to see their shiny class color on a meter so they could have a pixel erection and flame their friends/guildmates. Instead, many, like me, were excited just to get the new content down and/or to see the rewards that dropped. At that time, people, at the most, looked at some gear pieces, not a meter which doesn't fully tell the actual skill of a player (and nor does gear ofc, but hopefully you see what I mean).
I think I enjoyed it more when meters weren't around or at least the life-force of most players. It takes away a lot more from the game than most people care to think about. Back in vanilla (not saying it was the best or anything like that) you knew someone was pretty decent and did fairly good damage when they had epics or the grand marshal gear as well as its title (and granted this wasn't always the case).
Now it seems that even though Bob is a better player than Sally, they'll take Sally just because she's top dps with 3 buttons or is a certain class that's more valued for arena. My point is, there's no longer a connection. It's merely a one night stand so to speak (or one night month?), until they get nerfed or the comps change again.
If anyone remembers Ultima Online (I know it's a really diff game in many ways) you could get all kinds of buds to play and no one really cared if you had a might weapon or a vanquisher weapon. You killed monsters and players for the loot, social interaction and satisfaction. I guess that point alone is what I'm focusing on in the scheme of things. Today it's just.. (and not every guild or team ofc) "even though he stands in the fire, hes top 3, get him" "link achievement" "pst ilvl" (granted ilvl is needed for certain things, but you know what I mean).
Sorry for the long post, tried to separate my thoughts into space. What do you guys think? Do you think this is one of the things that has lowered the quality of life for WoW in one way or another, whether it be big or small?