Average skills is going down; average skill is not however an indicator of competition. What you got now is like 100 people playing between each other. In more active seasons, particularly s2 through 4 and s6 through 8, unless you were queuing at 6 am at an obscure battlegroup you would always get different people at any rating and I mean ANY rating. Many of the high caliber players have quit; what's left now is a bunch of the more famous players from back then that still play cause they generate money through streams/Blizzard whatever, and old duelists that got promoted, due to the lack of competition.
In BC/WOTLK you had a lot of casuals and new players getting into pvp. Throughout the time the casuals stopped playing and no new blood wants to get into pvp anymore. Meaning you have less casuals for each good player. Therefore the avg. skill would go up. I mean its hard to really argue about something we cant measure yet so i guess we just have different opinions on that.
Another issue is that competition now is defined by fame. You stream? People know you? You're competition. Who knows the name Zamos? Zamos was a dude back in WotLK that did more damage than any other warrior I had seen or known off. He gave Hydra's team problems; I remember playing vs him when I was pushing for glad in s6 and I cannot recall any other time in my long tenure when I was more outclassed. There were many a Zamos back then, players that were not famous (outside of arenajunkies or their BG), that were top level and created competition. Very few of these remain. There used to be legendary battles between the top 10 team at each bracket for rank 1, when it really was rank one. Apart from win trading etc. the quality of the games was just much higher. I cannot compare someone like Zamos to Bahjeera, who has certainly come a long way, but he wouldn't last a second then.
I dont feel like thats the case. Nowadays you can only get R1 by being 0.1%. In the past you had BGs with only one R1 and no Glad slot (#1 got both, #2 got duelist) meaning you had less than 200 teams playing. But on these BGs you had 5-10 teams sharing rank1. Thats 2% - 5% of the 5v5 teams getting rank1 instead of 0.1%. The problem is that every BG was different. Most teams shared in 5v5 and played seriously in the 3v3 bracket. But the argument was that titles back then were less prestigous than they are now. And because of the fact that you could get Glad and R1 in 2s and 5s makes titles less prestigious. If the question would be past 3v3 R1 vs. current 3v3 R1 you may be right. But its about all the titles from the past vs. current titles no matter the bracket.
About bahjeera. You will always have people that get into glad / r1 range not because of their skill but because of other circumstances. You also had PvE heros getting R1 in the past (even 3v3) because they played shadowmourne dk dbl heal or that one guy multiboxing 4 blood DKs with a healer friend in 5v5. It seems like you are comparing the most competitive BGs back then vs. current ladder. You keep forgetting that you had a lot of shit BGs where getting R1 or Glad was rather easy.
So was getting R1 in 3v3 in a very competitive no sharing BG harder than getting R1 now? Yes. Was getting R1 in 2v2/5v5/3v3 in a shit BG harder than it is now? No. Making old titles less prestigious in my opinion. Which was the whole argument.
You got s2,4 helmets on your account. Can you, with a straight face, tell me that there is more competition now than in s2 or 4? Because even though I came back to this game only two weeks ago I can hardly imagine that.
On top of that, what type of competition can this game have anymore? I cannot help but compare how my warrior feels now and how it felt in s6, which I personally consider the pinnacle of skill for warriors. They were overpowered as fuck especially before charge cd was changed to 20 seconds, but there was an elegance in the playstyle and so many things you could do. Take this video for example
I think compared to BC its harder to get glad or r1. But we have way less people playing. So i guess there is less competition but titles are more prestigious? I got glad on my warrior by playing 2v2 to 2.2 so i could buy the shoulders. I didnt go for glad. I just got it.
I think people just stopped playing their classes to a maximum like they did in the past. I get the impression that most players now focus on being good on a lot of classes rather than beeing insane on one class. Really hard to judge. Some classes are easier now some are not. I think healers might have a harder time now.
At the end the argument was are titles more or less prestigious today vs. past. And because of different BGs and the fact that you could get titles from 2s and 5s make old titles less prestigious. That being said hydras R1 titles are more prestigious than current R1 titles but you cant differentiate betweens hydras R1 and wintrading guy xy R1.