I think you are being a bit harsh on the devs if only because GW2 is, from what I’ve taken in, very different mechanically than other mmos. There isn’t a whole lot to consider when referencing past mmos for guidance. While I agree that necro pets and AI in general in GW2 is suffering from some significant issues, the challenges the devs face in designing how pets attack in GW2 aren’t quite the same as other mmos. Currently, the big issues as I understand them are that pets die to aoe very quickly, can’t dodge, can’t track a moving target intelligently, and can’t reliably hit a moving target in melee. For those first two issues, I remember it took wow devs years to add “avoidance” for pets. Literally, added in 2009 when the game was around since 2001. Clearly something was keeping them from adding this feature despite similar complaints about pet survival rates. I’m not sure if other games have done something similar or what their rationale was. No doubt, the devs here are pondering the pros and cons of doing something similar as this complaint has come up several times since launch particularly with Rangers. Keep in mind the ramifications are different here because of how combat is designed in GW2, especially for PVP.
As far as position tracking and attacking, pets appear to suffer in these areas largely because of their behaviors and scripting being tied to general mob AI and the disparity between the freedom of movement allowed by players as compared to mobs. I can’t really go into a lot of detail about the difference between how a successful attack is calculated in GW2 versus a traditional tab targeting mmo. There was a thread some time ago where someone talked about how it’s done in better detail than I can. But what I can tell you is that it certainly doesn’t appear simple even for an experienced programmer to create an elegant way for pets to track and hit a moving character reliably in GW2. The same reason your pets can’t hit a moving target is the same reason you can kite a melee mob without getting hit so effortlessly. There could be some “cheating” perhaps to accomplish a fix but even the devs have said that it would be a lot of work to separate the pet AI from the mob AI.
With that said, I’ve always understood, even in GW1, that necro pets are thematically different from Ranger pets and are intended to be under limited control. So things like stowing and recalling from a target, even their intended life span, may not be treated the same as other pets. The fight for better pet AI is a noble one but I fear the solution, if there is one, is still a ways off.