As far as NA servers went the only "healthy" ranked was on POT5 and Bastion. The other servers had "some" but it was hardly consistent. JC had 3 or 4 teams but only two of them ever queued consistently, thus the creation of kickball came about. It only got worse with server transfers (which I knew would happen) where most every good team on each server moved to pot5 or bastion. If I recall after transfers pot5 had like 15+ teams queueing. JC ranked died after transfers as all the teams went to pot5.
As far as the first node cap. There is a large amount of truth to that in CW. The majority of the time in ranked the middle became a stalemate. Rarely was either team willing to risk hitting an off node and the general strategy was to slow the side cap till your team cap first. So yes, the majority of the time the first to cap the side won the game.
There is life outside of America you know
ranked had a nice scene on both tre (was well organised) and tofn. Server xfers to play 8v8 to tofn - 8v8 removal. Mass exodus of pvp guilds from game. That's how it was in Europe. Guessing it was the same in the rest of the world.