Everything in this post is intended to be used to benefit GW2 and PvP. Any criticisms should be taken as constructive; I love GW2 and PvP and I want to see this game do better.
I've been playing GW2 PvP for about 2 years now. It's pretty much all I do in the game now, aside from the occasional WvW or Raid.
There are three fundamental issues that are plaguing PvP at the moment:
1- Inability to bring in new players
2- Inability to retain PvP veterans (such as myself)
3- Inability to develop a truly competitive PvP scene
1- The best way for me to answer this question was to look back and see what brought me to PvP in the first place: the wings of ascension. Legendary backpacks had just come out, and those wings looked glorious. I had to have them, so I started playing ranked.
It's dumb, but what brought me-- and a lot of other players-- was a sexy backpack skin. It was unique to PvP, and served as a symbol that you as a player were truly competitive. Kind of like legendary armor with PvE.
Today, PvP rewards are lackluster at best. No one wants to go PvP for the legendary armor because it lacks any significant skin. You get PvP legendary armor and no one can even tell. As of now, I have all the requirements to get a full set of legendary PvP armor. I tried, and got the chest piece. But it's useless, especially when I have 4 diff sets of ascended armor. You can't even tell its there. I know it sounds pretty dumb to say this, but if Anet wants new players to come to PvP they need to give them legendary skins. The skins give players something to strive for-- something that's unique to PvP. Of course this doesn't just apply to the legendary armor; the rewards in general are not worth it.
2- The longer I stay in PvP the more realize that this is becoming a bigger problem. Veterans keep leaving, the top ratings on the leaderboard decrease every season, and I myself have lost most of my PvP friends. This became especially noticeable last season when Anet prevented people from duo queuing above 1600 rating. It really put a dent in the veteran PvP community.
That's not the only problem though. It's just always the same. Every season is the same-- same game mode with the same players. It gets repetitive and boring. People NEED new game modes. It just has to happen. Imagine playing Call of Duty with Domination as the only game mode. That'd be stupid, right? See what I mean.
Maybe Anet can add an free-for-all mode. Team death match. There's a lot they could do here. Personally, I think it'd be cool if they added a map where it's free for all, with players being able to kill other players and loot the items they have equipped. Kind of like the wilderness in Runescape if anyone's ever played that.
Another feature they could use to keep veterans playing is to insert how many times they've won a title into the title. For example, I've been in the top 100 for two seasons. My title could be: 2x Ruthless Legend.
3- I used to look forward to PvP seasons. Now I look forward to the break I have in between the seasons so I can have fun in unranked. That's a big issue.
PvP seasons are too frequent. They're meaningless now. How could you possibly call it a "season" when it's become the standard for PvP? Seasons are things athletes need to prep for. It's where you give the game your all-- there's supposed to be big hype around them. It shouldn't be a perpetual thing, like it is today. Don't call it a season if that's not what it is.
E-Sports needs to come back. People need to look forward to watching competitive games-- to try to learn from them, to try to improve their own skills.
I'm not sure what's going on with Anet, but I feel like their PvP team has lost its focus. It seems to be adding things left and right in hopes of making things better. I'm not saying they don't have a plan-- I'm just saying that's what it looks like to me. The purpose of this thread was to try to give them three things I think they should focus on-- and plan around them.
That's most of what I have to say. If you agree with me, maybe try to come up with your own solutions to these problems.