Well, if you haven't been playing since launch you missed A TON of badly handled situations.
Have you seen all the false statements and broken promises they made ? Probably not.
Indeed. However, I have been around gaming from the time it was invented. i will say this: I have not seen a MMO yet come out at launch and remain the same throughout its life except for the ones that totally failed outright. Those simply showed up, and died a short while later for various reasons, usually money related.
Of the ones that stick around, pretty well all of them have made a catastrophic blunder(in the eyes of players) at some point in their evolution. many times it is due to feedback from players. Sometimes the dev team changes, a lot, after launch and the new blood thinks it can do better before said new blood has learned the product fully. MOst of the time, the biggest blunders are caused by someone in charge deciding a good ways into the life of the game that the game just isn't what they had imagined it would be. At that point some dramatic alterations are made, and the players get a really really sour taste from it. That taste lingers a long time, and if the game doesnt morph into something really good, it will fail.
IMO, this game is on it's way to something good. I do not know all the situations of the past, but i can see the sour taste left behind. Whatever happened here, I highly doubt it reaches the scale of things from other games. two come to mind- Star Wars galaxies, and City of Heroes.
SWG i do not think I need to go into here, and actually I may regret opening that can of worms on this thread do to epic derail probability. Suffice to say, in that instance, the dramatic changes made to change the "vision" of the game did not morph into something really good.
The other, CoH, I was involved in from almost launch. About 10 months after launch, the lead dev decided the game had not turned out how he wanted. Players were stomping hordes of foes with their super powers, some of the powersets were basically broken (in both directions depending on the set) and players were not playing/building characters as he thought they would. So he changed it. it was not anything totally massive mechanically in the game design, but it 100% fundamentally changed how players could build characters and what could be done with them.
that game was on the brink of destruction, and really struggled for over a year, only hanging on with the introduction of essentially a second half of the game with City of Villains. Eventually the lead dev left and someone else took over and used the changes to fit into a new crafting system. At that point, the game morphed into something better then it was before. Recently shut down, it was recording a decent profit.
Those are two examples of the extremes of dramatic "poor handled" changes and situations. MMO's, they sure can be a tricky thing. Any time a dev team decides to mess with an existing system, there is backlash. the bigger the scope of the change, the bigger the backlash, and only time can tell if it is a make, or a break. IMO, this new expansion next year, and the other mysterious things in store for us soon before and after will determine if this is just the beginning of the games life, or it's peak and slow decent.