I'm not going to lie to you: I still play GW2, although not as much as before, and I haven't spent any money in the cash shop since they put Ascended gear into the game. Yes, I do feel betrayed by the insertion of a gear treadmill, I feel let down by the horrible state of content added after launch, and I believe that NCSoft pitched their Arenanet devision to the cash shop wolves to satisfy investors.
However, finding out that Anet did in fact make comments about adding item progression and higher character levels as early as September of 2011 has softened the sense of betrayal. I'm at least partly to blame for my expectations of what GW2 was going to be, even though I and many others reasonably (IMO) believed there would be no power creep (considering 7 years of "no power creep" philosophy in GW1). The fact is that if I stopped doing business with every company I felt did something unethical or produce some shoddy work, I'd probably be unemployed, homeless, naked and hungry. I'm not going to deprive myself of the enjoyment of entertainment I've already paid for just because I dislike the company. I also don't trash my televisions just because the manufacturer or retail store does something I don't like. That would be rather foolish.
I'm still looking and advocating for a non-vertical MMORPG, but while I do so I still find GW2 reasonably fun to play, and the reason I do so is because GW2 still provides me with several things I - as a casual player (and by casual, I refer to playstyle, not time spent in-game) - never got from any MMORPG before.
First, GW2 allows me to fully participate in raid-style boss MOB fights. As a casual player having played over 10 years of MMOG including the launch of EQ vanilla, I've never seen anything like the massive battles with Dragons that I've participated in with GW2. I've never looted those kinds of end-of-the-battle chests before.
Second, it gives me (through my characters) a true sense of power. I love wading into a bunch of MOBS that are a higher level then me and being able to dispatch them all with special video and sound effects that make my characters feel awesome. In EQ and WoW, I'm used to characters that could barely hold their own against any smilarly-leveled creature. In GW1, I can tackle a Veteran 2-3 levels above me an, if I play it right, own them. I can show up at an outpost that has been ovverrun and save it, single-handedly. It is very satisfying.
Third, it gives me plenty of content and stuff to do that is really meaningful to my characters. At over 500 hrs played, I still haven't seen over 50% of the map on any character, nor have I come close to finishing any storyline.
Fourth, it gives me great diversity within even a single character and many different ways to play that character - I'm not stuck doing one thing one way every time I log in with that character.
There are a lot of things ANET did right in GW2, even if they got some things very wrong since launch. I give them credit for that and I'd love to see that kind of appeal to casual players going forward in future games.