Well considering I was the #1 killfame player in beta 2 off of solely ganking and only played to kill gatherers, ganking was definitely not the issue at hand. Ganking after the betas became extremely inefficient (gallop, AA timer after demounting, bubble zoning still working) and release ganking is the weakest the playstyle has ever been.
Ganking and it's ramifications have a minuscule effect on the game - the larger issues at hand stem directly from SBI's incompetency when trying to make the game a long term project. For example, their seasons are a laughable excuse for "content" and there have been no meaningful content introductions since launch. The game is stale and died out very quickly due to the emphasis on "the 5 man" of every guild without any true content being available to regular players other than fame farming, gathering, or attempting to kill people openworld.
The effects of people dying in the openworld for like 100 4.2 are virtually nonexistent and it's naive to believe ganking is the reason why a should have been successful game completely flopped.