I dont understand the rush to normalize the PvP environment. You create a game with a specific purpose and then you deal with the outcome of your actions. Normalization only affects gear oriented mmorpgs. So possibly if you fix the actual cause of the problem "absurd equipment" then maybe you are one step closer to normalizing the entire game.
I am no fan of equipment oriented games. I am not saying that all equipment should be bland and lack any form of effect on game play. I just believe that gear should be a suplemental tool to molding your character into the combatant that you want it to be. The problem with almost all mmorpg's is that gear is the ultimate method of developing a character that is effective in combat? Choice, oh there is little choice. This is the easy fix or balancing method to determine how a class performs in combat. Tweaking skills and abilities is a method but you have to admit when 90% of your statistics, including damage output and health come from the items you wear, and there is only 1 to 2 sets of items for your class, you just created the easiest(lamest) balancing mechanic.
Its about time we had challenging MMO content that is balance with both PvP and PvE in mind from the start. If a ability is absurd in PvP then in my humble opinion, it doesnt belong in PvE. If fearing a player for 10 seconds, with him never getting off one single attack, is game breaking, then why do I want to do the same thing to a mobile. If a new Flaming Plate Mail of the Rainbow takes you from barely losing a PvE/PvP confrontation to dominating it, where is the challenge in that, and do we want it in our games?
Its time that we put aside gear as the go to mechanic in determining how difficult content is and revert to a new mechanic, be it player skill, intelligence, a combination of both, with gear as the suplemental mechanic it should be. Hell, I would even be happy if all mechanics combined evenly to create the whole. Sadly gear is usually 99% of your characters power, with intelligent and skillful play being crammed into the last 1%...