despite all of this its still such fun PvP for me (even when trying to win at all fair costs). while invasions are a great part of the game and should stay in the series, a more "competitive" and skillful matchmaking system like an updated arena, is something the game deserves.
I love it too. Souls has 3 things over most other fighting games: it's fun, it has longevity, and it's highly customizable. It's lasted longer than like a whole slew of high-end fighters: BB:EX, P4U, Skullgirls, SFxT, TTT2. The PvP is unique, often tense, and it can be really really fun. The customization is there... and relatively balanced (aside from spell/weapon choice). Builds are somewhat close in PvP valuation. Although not all builds express viability... there are enough choices to make the stat-point system feel liquid enough that builds do not feel overly pathwise.
These benefits don't excuse the problems with the game though... and it really makes the legitimate discussion of competition and the value of success in the game a distorted concept. It's like the arguing and vying to be the most buff kid at Fat Camp.