I've been thinking a lot about this.... and I think I've come to this conclusion.
Questing/Fishing is the way the game is being pushed to in order to gain anything. When a newbie comes into the city or any organization and they ask, "How do I get to Azudim/Tekal and how do I make gold?" It used to be, "Hey, let's go bash together. We'll teach you how to hunt and where to hunt." People would get together in groups and go hunt Tiyen, Xaanhal, Forgotten Dome, Shastaan Warrens, Arbothia, etc. Now when people ask that, the immediate response is, "Well, you'll need to turn on your quest CONFIGs and then run around the game and learn the quests. Or additionally, you could spend 100 credits and go fishing." No longer do people help out the newbies with map exploration because why should you? The only thing you need to do is point them in the direction of Esterport, tell them to buy a fishing license and then have them explore rivers/lakes/oceans/etc. That requires little to no help.
Additionally, people are being punished for actually wanting to perform in the PVE realm. This wasn't a huge issue a couple years back. Gold drops were good, you were able to gather your own curatives, people hunted together to take on larger areas. Things were good. Suddenly, gold drops were destroyed, the curative system changed and is now EXPONENTIALLYexpensive, and now if you die you'll lose 1% flat out. This screams to me that PVE is no longer a desirable avenue for people to actually enjoy because it's more stressful than fun. You can't make any income because all of your gold will go to pills/elixirs being created and if you make a mistake, lag out, get disconnected, or get hit harder than you were expecting and are killed.... you lose 1% of experience. For most people, this probably isn't too difficult. At level 100, you'll only lose 300k xp. Ok, that's 20 minutes of work, at most. At level 130, you'll lose 1.4M xp. That's about an hours work of bashing. At level 205, you'll lose 5.3M. That's about 3 hours of work. All for what? So "death feels like it has punishment"?
In the end, I feel like the way the game is going is to essentially eliminate PVE entirely as it's no longer productive by any length of actual means. Questing/Fishing is the only sure fire way to actually (positively) gain anything. So if this is the case, why not just remove the PVE element entirely? Get rid of it. If the goal is to push the questing system and fishing system to new heights, then force people to do it.
If this is not the case, why are there such high punishments for PVE? Why not bolster it? Increase the gold drops by a hefty portion that could allow an individual to get some modicum of an income even after spending an extraordinarily amount of gold on curatives. Decrease the amount of xp lost to a mob so that we aren't losing literal hours of work that we just accomplished.