I believe that it is a part of their trend, like scaling, to try and make all of the game areas relavant for exploring, journeying, etc. Personally I expect to see continuing changes in this direction.
Why? Well if I were to guess it is because the development effort/cost of the past may not be sustainable going forward. Not because they are losing money on WoW but maybe because the ROI for scarce resources (artists, developers, etc.) is less for WoW than it is for other types of games.
I’m still having fun and these types of changes don’t bother me so I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and see where the current path takes us.