Let me try to answer.
The studs do more than just support loads from above. They also resist lateral loading of winds or seismic shifts from earthquakes etc.
The joints are made with nails not only from a historical standpoint, but also because the metal plates you refer to are applied with specialized equipment at truss plants exerting thousaands of pounds to press them onto the joint. And having all that metal on the face of the framing instead ofthe sides may interfere with nailing other materials such as baseboards to the wall. Speaking of which, another reason for all those studs is to fasten the drywall to.
By way of new thinking in wall construction, there are Europeans who are playing with a composite honeycomb type material. Structural insulated panels here are becoming a big thing. These are walls with a top and bottom plate and insulatin structural foam sandwhiched between layers of oriented strand board which provides stability and a nailing surface for finishes.
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