First of all, the mentality was waaaaaaay different back then. People were not as... fotm as now, first because it wasn't that "instant" to level up and geared a character, and most of the time, the classes which didn't need Pve gear was the already broken spec (Rogue in S11 is the best example.).
Put actual people in Cata, everyone of us will try to have PvE gear, everyone. And everyone will play the best class, as opposed to before where people sticked to their main most of the time.
Everyone has always tried their absolute best to get the best gear they could possible get (in WotLK) too, regardless if their spec was broken or not without it, so that's not an argument. It's not like there was some sort of mentality shift going from wotlk > cata where suddenly everyone wanted the best gear available (and even if there was if we let wotlk replay today we'd have the same mentality now). I might have missunderstood you though, so feel free to elaborate.
PS: Rogues weren't 'very' OP without legendaries, Ferals were equally if not more OP than Rogues without legendaries. AT Cata realms pretty much proved this.
Also what's so wrong with wanting to play alts? Like, I really don't get this argument.
Why do you not want other players to be able to play more than one character competitively? Is it because you want to create some form of artificial balance where it doesn't matter if something's really OP because it might not be common to face due to a low number of people maining that spec? Or is it because you simply want new players to have to 'suffer' for ages before they catch up, ie you want to"pwn newbs"? Or is it because "It's an RPG!!!"? Why do you want to create an incredibly large "barrier of entry" that has nothing to even do with PvP?
I really don't see why you'd not let people play more than one character (without sacrificing their entire rl to maintain several "mains").
I think being able to PvE to maximise a character is a good thing actually. As long as it comes with some disavantages with it. Like trading a bit a resilience (Wotlk), to have more stats, so you can make a mix of both of the stuff (Saying "Ok, i'll heal more, but i will be more vulnerable"). Of course there will be some OP things, like someone said before, some mages were full PvE gear, but mostly because the spec was already squishy (The last time they had some real counters) so why the fuck wearing resilience?
If the difference between PvE and PvP gear performance is very minor then it's obviously no problem, but with how this game works a very minor change in stat distribution can make or break an entire spec in PvP so that's never going to be the case. This is actually part of the reason why they implemented Stat Templates to begin with, it was hard to balance around so many different possible gear configs causing specs to have completely different performances - not that I agree it was a good solution.
Disregarding PvP templates and insane PvE legendaries/trinkets etc then the problem with PvE gear is, if everyone figures out that "aah, mage with full pve gear is the best by far" then it will be mandatory to farm full PvE gear as a Mage unless you want to be subpar (in which case people won't want to play with you). Or say Feral in WoD, if PvE gear would've been viable every Feral would have been forced to PvE to get versatility in every off-set slot (and some even did before PvE gear was nerfed to complete unviability in PvP).
In addition to that, if PvE gear is just as viable in PvP as PvP gear then you have the issue of PvP gear being gated behind rating in combination with PvE being far easier than PvP to succeed in. This results in people feeling forced to PvE just to have similar ilvl as people higher rated than themselves, like not even a "minor" thing like better itemization but pure item levels. This is a major problem with Legion, why do arenas/bgs to get PvP gear when you can just use PvE gear which is far easier to get.
Edited by Konjunktur, 18 July 2017 - 06:08 PM.