We have been around for 2 years. There was only one time that PvP could support tiered gaming. As for other games with Tiered brackets there is only one I have played that did it well. I am quite familiar with it, and let me tell you in the game that implemented it the best, R8s would still end up against R1-4s from time to time if there weren't enough 6-8s on to fill their brackets.
There aren't enough players in STO, let alone STO pvp to support tiered brackets you would have the exact same situation you have now. Why do you think this game went free to play? It was cause they weren't making any money and hadn't been for a long time. Cause they lost half their sub base less than 2 months after release.\
Furthermore, gear isn't -that- uber important in this game there's some gear to avoid, but it's more about character build and skill of the player... two things you can't easily quantify. What do you do do Win Streak brackets? Okay... what if you happened to be in a 4 man team half the night or worse for a couple nights. And it puts you in their bracket... Or you end up in a pug that Face Rolls everyone 15 and 0 repeatedly. Then you get put in the High End brackets? You'll just get Face Rolled again and again.
For that matter what about when we grizzled jaded and bitter veterans roll new alts? We do that you know. Infact I have a cmdr sci that I really need to work on. I can assure you when she hits RA, she's going to be facerolling poor hapless newbies just like my VAs do.
The numbers just aren't there. And the number of people in the ques that don't care if they win or lose is way too high. We called them Mark Farmers back in the day, then Emblem farmers and now dlithium farmers. But they are all the same cause cryptic believes that you should be rewarded equally regardless of if you win or not.
Which completely screws up pvp.
The only people that will win are people that want to win.
You should really join opvp, and ask for a team if you want to win. Because pugging it ain't going to cut it unless you are a grizzled veteran like the rest of us.
There is no bracket system and there never will be. Your best bet is to find some buddies to play with and enjoy the experience. You will get better as you pvp more. I came into the game months after most of the other remaining veterans. There was a learning curve. I'm sure some of the guys 'round here that know me from when I first came to sto's pvp could tell you stories about some of my lol builds that would curl your toes and make me snicker in fond memory. (Tachyon beam 1 with like 50 aux!, 115 weapon power on an Escort, Original, very very sucky Torpedo spread on plas torps! and soo many other lol instances in those first couple months of me pvping)
Starcraft didn't have brackets and it's by far the most successful competitive game of all time (no one used the lol ladder system. It was all about getting good enough to go play on the asian servers or PGT Tour) so no you don't need brackets to have successful pvp. You just need people that aren't getting equal rewards just for showing up to the match and people willing to suck it up and learn to play.