I tried checking out gw2 pvp again after getting bored of battle royale games and I just got reminded again why I left in the first place. Nowadays silver players get paired with rank 1-10 players from leaderboard because the population has never been lower and theres reasons for that.
lack of updates towards pvp, it has never changed and stayed the same, couple of new maps and no other changes
power creep from elite specs, basically arena net has turned everyone into a super hero while having no downsides in their build like pre hot, theres no more giving up damage for sustain or for mobility, every build has everything and large AoE spam resulting in low skill floor which creates unbalanced matches since everyone is a God that means nobody is a god. Its like playing CS GO and everyone has aim bot and wall hacks on, how do you determinate who is the better player?
Casual friendly mechanics such as passive traits and the overtuned downstate mechanics, when a player get downed they should be punished for the misplay but instead gw2 is the only game that gives really overpowered abilities in the downstate making it near impossible to win outnumbered fights since its so easy to res and interrupt the stomp, basically its easier to play defensively than offensively thus favoring the casual player more. Imagine playing PUBG squads and the downed player could throw smokes or molotovs at you etc, why is it so hard to kill someone that has already been partially defeated, to balance downstate there should be no abilities available aside from self res and it should take at least 2 other players to get the full res when 1 person is cleaving. Do not reward people for misplays. Same applies to passive traits like passive aegis, passive invul etc, basically making PvP too casual friendly made all the hardcore pvpers quit that are looking for a competitive game which brings me to reason number 4.
The competitive scene of gw2 has always been a niche instead of being the main focus, players were never incentivized to make teams because there was no tournaments and no rewards aside from ESL cups back then. This the game only stayed in a " yolo Q" only state and was never growing as a competitive game and its always been dominated by the same 2-3 teams because of lack of competition. PvP cannot survive without a competitive environment and gw2 never offered that environment except with ESL cups that had great rewards.
Lack of advertisment of the PvP part of the game, basically the PvP population stayed rather low at all times because there was incentive to try it and all the focus was mainly on the living story and the expansions, its like pvp was just a mini game and was something that was not important, even introducing a basic tutorial and giving people a few gold for trying out PvP would have made the population so much bigger and alot of players would end up staying and try to improve and be competitive but instead some people dont even know that pvp exists in gw2 because it was not being talked about.
Theres alot more reasons but those are the main ones, its kinda sad to see this because this game had potential but it never reached it.