Guild Wars: Rankings and ratings
I think that quite a lot of PvP players are staying away until they see what happens with the new automated tournament system to be released. In the meantime, I've seen quite a bit of nervous carping over the new system and ratings and rankings in general - even though it's not public knowledge how the tournaments will actually work.
Well, GW players aren't unique in that - MtG players are forever grumbling about similar stuff. Elo rating systems of the kind used in MtG, Chess and GW are well suited to games like Chess where there's a low variance between expected and actual results - if I play Kasparov, the probability of me winning is effectively zero. In Magic, the same isn't true - I can beat someone like Kai Budde if he gets a bad enough draw. In GW, there's a similar problem - albeit not as pronounced - in that teams don't always have the same roster and one build may have advantages over other builds. I happened to talk to Mark Rosewater the other week about this and he did confess that he's never been terribly happy with an Elo rating system for Magic. He prefers accumulated-point systems like the one Bridge uses but personally I'm not so sure that's a great solution. Then again, he's spent a lot more time thinking about it so he might be right.
Anyway. The choice of rating system aside, one of the interesting things in the new system being proposed is that the ladder won't be reset any more. I've seen quite a few GW players fretting about stale rankings hogging the ladder. There's a bunch of easy fixes for this problem, but it seems to me that the easiest would be that a guild has a rating but not a ranking unless they've played 5 GvGs in the previous week. If a guild is camping a high rating that they earned a long time ago but no longer deserve, the inflated rating will fall away swiftly when they start playing again to get back on the ladder.
I'll be curious to see how the new tournament system works out. I was a little worried that I'd never get to play any tournament games - as a dad with 2 little kids it's basically impossible for me to allocate regular 5-hour blocks of undisturbed time without an act of Congress - but a couple of ArenaNet staff have dropped strong hints that I'd get to play tourney games. We shall see. In any event, I suspect that once the tournments start up the ladder games will be seen as practice games for the "real" matches.