There is no node stealing and you don't have to group with someone to share a kill and loot. It's remarkable how little bitching there is at other players in area chat. In fact, I'm not sure I recall any bitching in general chat.
I have played games from the time when you bought the game and it was a book with the code and a "big floppy disk" you had to write the game on to run it.
I have read for years about MMO games and what you said is exactly why I never played one until GW2.
I like this game about as much as any RPG I have ever played, and that says a whole lot.
Sure, there are things that piss me me off about it, but that holds true for all games so it ain't nothing but a thang, I suppose.