At the moment, the armor system really paints the user into a corner for PvP. Everyone just runs heavy with the exception of those duelers and open world solo players. There is just no “downside” to it in most cases other than the movement decrease.
How about going back to some of the “old” design with some changes? The “old” system that made heavy armor weak to elemental/magic damage and strong to physical damage and light armor the opposite made perfect sense. That allowed casters to be able to damage melee more and vice versa.
Things got muddy though with the addition of “more damage/healing” in light vs heavy as well as “greater movement” in light vs heavy. This is where I think some “new” changes could be made to allow the correct pros and cons for making those armor choices.
Why not split that out so ranged damage is more in light armor but physical damage is more in heavy?
For movement, the “dodge” for each armor “weight” is very entangled into the combat and more so I don’t know if that will be as easy to “balance”, but I am sure you have some smart folks there who can figure out a way to make it more balanced and make it come down to a player picking the pros/cons for their choice in weight without having an option be too OP (such as “roll forever” for light armor wearers). I think this is a separate discussion.
Also, and probably the “best” way to do this…especially for min/max folks…make these “attributes” PER ARMOR PIECE and not for overall “weight” category. So for example, I might have (using easy numbers haha)…
head - heavy : +10 vs phys, -10 vs elem, +5 melee dmg
chest - heavy: +10 vs phys, -10 vs elem, +5 melee dmg
arms - light : -10 vs phys, +10 vs elem, +5 ranged dmg
legs - med : +3 vs phys, +3 vs elem, +3 melee dmg , +3 ranged dmg
arms -heavy : +10 vs phys, -10 vs elem, +5 melee dmg
so overall, I would have,
+23 vs physical damage
-17 vs elemental damage
+23 physical damage
+8 ranged damage
This is by no means the “end all be all” idea…and I am still having my morning coffee…but I think this is a good place to get the discussion going. I think the armor system is an underlying problem/reason that balancing weapons is difficult as well. If this “foundation” gets corrected, then addressing weapon differences may be easier (and especially with adding more and more weapons as is coming soon!).