A lot of issues have been ironed out in the past few PTS tests, so I figured as long as Trion wants to improve PVP, why not keep going?
One of the biggest problems with RIFT PVP is the queue system itself. In the past and currently, the queue system has had a quantity versus quality setup. The queues pop fast, it's rare for me to solo queue and take longer than 30 seconds. This is good, but the problem is that almost every round I ever get into is a faceroll for one team or the other. Maybe one out of five rounds actually produces some competition, and even then it's fairly sparse. But when you do get that intense round which by the grace of god somehow managed to be balanced, it's the most fun experience you'll ever have playing RIFT. Close rounds of any Warfront become hectic, everyone's running around doing whatever they can to win, and even if you do lose, it's a lot more fun than facerolling. I think that many PVPers would agree with me when I say I'd rather lose 999-1000 than win 1000-0. That's enough backstory, I guess.
The idea I'm suggesting is to use the mercenary system to set up an algorithm that equalizes team composition, taking into account both rank, and class. I'm not going to delve into semantics, but this is far from impossible. Ideally, in a match between two teams with the exact same composition and rank layout, the only variable is player skill, which is exactly the type of match everyone wants. When typing up this thread, I only had to queue for one Warfront to get a perfect example of how a blowout match could turn into a much more fun and balanced Warfront with a couple additions to the queue system.
This was the Guardian team
This was the Defiant team
The Guardian team had 11 Rogues, 2 Mages, 1 Cleric and 1 Warrior.
The Defiant team had 5 Clerics, 2 Warriors, 2 Mages, and 6 Rogues.
Just by looking at the scoreboard, you can see it's obvious who is winning. That's right: The team with a balanced composition! While there are many variables involved in Warfronts, it's fair to say that if the Clerics and Rogues were more spread around, this Warfront could've gone a lot differently. I've sorted it by healing to make it easier to see, but the #3 healer on the Defiant team has 10k more healing than the #1 healer on the Guardian team, and while DPS is fairly even, the Defiants still have more damage and kills, due mostly to higher ranking players and a more varied team comp. Again, though, it's easy to see how that Warfront could've been altered. The Defiants had three Clerics, two of which were R40, and we had one who was wearing PVE gear. That alone means the Defiants would've held a monopoly on healing, which isn't maybe the key to victory, but it sure as hell helps. We still could've outDPSed them to victory, but with 11 Rogues, that's significantly harder. Evening out the number of Rogues on the Guardian side, trading some of the geared Rogues on the Defiant side for the undergeared ones on the Guardian side, and splitting the number of Clerics could've made this an extremely competitive Warfront. But due to a faulty queue system, it became an absolute faceroll.
A Warfront like the above isn't a rarity in the slightest sense of the word, as anyone who PVPs will tell you. It's so unlikely to get two teams with balanced composition, but the potential is there. It's pivotal around the merc system, but I see absolutely no obstacles in developing an algorithm that would turn rounds like the above one into something much more competitive, just by switching around a few players. If I'm wrong, by all means tell me why, but I'm not seeing it. We can rebuild the queue system. We have the technology.
Not only that, but an improvement to the queue system, in the humble mind of this R40, would make newer players much more likely to PVP. The complaints I often see on the forums of being instagibbed or destroyed by higher ranking players are mostly due to the person in question having a team that was just as undergeared. If your teams are competitive and balanced, everyone has to put in their part and play their best to win. If you're facerolling as a R10, chances are you're being carried by a premade or a bunch of R40s. That's not fun for anyone, usually even the R40s. If you're being facerolled as a R10, it's obviously not fun for you, and there's nothing you can do to prevent it, generally due to team composition, involving both rank and class. But if it's a competitive Warfront, you matter just as much as the next guy. If you play better than the R10 mage on the other side, that might very well be the tipping point that wins you the match. It brings out the best in everyone, new players or not.
And on a final note for that, if this were to be seriously considered for implementation, I would recommend throwing out the 'ranked matches' entirely out of the queue algorithm. The reason is simple: for ranked matches, the algorithm is there, but the supplies aren't. Getting a completely balanced ranked Warfront is notoriously unlikely, and it would conflict with the algorithm I'm suggesting. For my ideas, the supplies are there--because they're there inherently, they're just split unevenly--but the algorithm isn't. And that's what we need, which is what Trion can do.
And while I'm at it, I might as well throw in another idea I've been mulling around for awhile: Rematches.
This is really a simple concept, I'm not sure why it doesn't exist yet. It'd go hand in hand with the queue improvements, but the premise is the following.
At the end of a Warfront, there would be a button to 'Opt for Rematch'. If enough players on both side opt for one, a rematch starts using those players. Some kinks could be worked out in case the teams get imbalanced, but I think this could be a great way to improve the queue system as well. You finally come across one of those awesome competitive rounds that everyone enjoys? You can do it again, maybe even this time in a different Warfront. I don't see any downsides to this either, and I don't foresee it being abusable to farm a team, as long as it was made so both teams needed to opt for a rematch. This would also make premade v. premade matches easier, but that's a whole different thread.
TL;DR: Balance Warfront teams queues based on rank and class. Remove ranked Warfronts. Add a rematch button.