Lots of players running mid-tier gear. Very few players have full protection and high pen ammo right now, so fights are always different, players have weak spots to focus on and your own gear changes regularly and you need to change with it.
Gear is more temporary. Running poorly modded guns means, for me at least, I'm less attached and more likely to swap gear out during/between raids. When I find a nice gun I'm not thinking about how much it's worth, I'm thinking about whether I should actually run it and toss my old kit.
Raider fights are fun and rewarding. I find myself taking on Raiders so I can get a fresh kit to run rather than just farming money.
Removing barters feels like a missed opportunity. I think barters are underused because it's so easy to just sell everything and buy what you want, this would've put a lot more focus on them and maybe led to some good idea for new barters that would benefit everyone next wipe.
Loot hasn't been balanced for it. There really isn't much point looting anything other than kills, unless you're willing to spend absurd amounts on the flea market. DeadlySlob has made plenty of suggestions for loot changes in the past based on his hardcore challenge experiences and I made some similar suggestions a while ago, which would have been good to see for this event.