Re changes in WVW since The Past:
They capped mesmer portals to have a 10-man max, and limited AOE heals to match AOE damage (5 people?), which has stopped a lot of the worst of the mindless portal bombing that was going on.
They've said they're completely reworking the rendering system to address the culling issue, though it's a bit worrying this never got addressed before launch.
Orbs were removed from the game ages ago due to hacking problems and they're not back yet. Fly-hacking and glitching through doors and up walls is still a big problem with some of the...less fair-minded servers. They have nailed down certain exploits however.
A new breakout event was recently added for players with no control points on a map to kick off a Siege Commander NPC who builds siege around the nearest tower and beats people up in an attempt to stop spawn camping, with mixed results.
My guess is that the free transfers issue probably got caught up in some political bunfight with the PVE teams about getting guesting fixed before locking it down, and their focus has largely been on PVE since launch.
Anet have announced some 'big changes' to WvW sometime next month, but apparently it's not new maps. I suspect they will reintroduce orbs in some form and possibly change the outmanned buff. If we're really lucky free transfers will end.
Overall the biggest change was that the tiers were balancing out after months of mismatched fights. We're down in tier 8 now and have had some great balanced contests (which we're winning) recently. Except now the lamers in the top tiers are starting to move to the lowest tiers to roll around like kings and lord it over the peons, except it's not working out too well for them so far...