Your gripe with elemental damage isn't entirely thought out, in my opinion. It existed in 1.0 and effectively barred certain classes from certain encounters because they didn't have access to the correct elemental damage. MNK specifically got pretty screwed because its Fist abilities had different effects but also converted all dealt damage to the element of the active Fist skill. Which meant you either were better off not using them at all (Ifrit) or couldn't use the one you wanted because it would turf your damage. It also turns into an itemization issue when certain gear enhances certain elements. I wasn't sorry to see it go in 2.0. I wish they would get rid of elemental materia.
The design philosophy in 2.0 is clearly more about making things difficult mechanically, not statistically. The spammy nature of the combat is annoying for sure, but as far as I can tell (having never played it) it's not altogether much different from WoW's combat system. I definitely won't be complaining if they slow the pace down though. The "flashiness" of combat is definitely a subjective complaint and has nothing to do with the actual combat system.
I don't really see the pace of combat affecting the "community building" either. That argument may have some merit if we were locked in combat 100% of the time, but most text communication occurs outside of battle.