The lackluster designs came under fire on the forums a few days back, and Zarhym was quick to defend the art team, saying that "the looks of the sets will improve as the seasons continue," and that if Blizzard had started the first sets with awesome designs, the latter seasons might see Thrall being worn around players' heads. It's a pretty funny joke, but I'm not quite sure it holds water. Zarhym continues to say that the design philosophy is that "in PvE you're killing very rare and challenging creatures of Azeroth, while in PvP you're receiving gear from the crafters (so to speak) of your faction to get you battle-ready."
He goes on to make a truly memorable line, "chances are you're going to be given the gear that'll get the job done rather than the gear that has to be constructed entirely out of the nipples of a 7,000 year-old dragon." Now that's pretty clever. It makes a lot of sense, too. Except, my question is, why can't 'crafted' gear that 'gets the job done' be, well, badass? Remember the Level 60 PvP sets? Now those were totally badass.