When I play Guild Wars 2, though, those perceptions never even come to mind. I approach GW2 in a much looser, more easygoing fashion -- and it seems to me that the rest of its player community does, too. Sure, some of my groupmates run theorycrafted builds with honed tactics and are laboriously pounding some mind-blowing gear grinds, but there doesn't seem to be a schism between the players who do and those who don't. It's less "how to get to the goal" and more "how to get to that character's goal." My husband plays at a much higher level, yet he concurs. We both find the cult of efficiency to be largely absent from the player culture as a whole.
If you play other MMOs besides WoW, how different (if at all) do you find their player cultures to be? How would you describe the communities in the other games you play? Do you fully indulge in those differences, or do you find yourself carrying some portion of their outlook from one into another?