Is this idea a direct ripoff from WoW?
It most certainly is. However, before you get all in a tizzy, think about it. People NEED something to work for. Getting upgrades that others cannot get helps the internet kiddies flex their e-peen. This is important in gaming, getting something others don't have.
I honestly think if Funcom/SLS or whatever worked more on bringing out new weapons and costumes instead of new characters, making them grade required, it would keep people around longer.
I remember how exciting it was to first hit 2200 in WoW (was that the rating?) and being able to purchase a new weapon that most people didn't have. You don't even have to have any bonuses for it. Just simply have some pixels out there that aren't attainable by the average person and they will instantly have something to work for.
Right now, the ONLY goals anyone has is to get a diamond token weapon and maybe a title. That's it.
Just an idea. Some won't like it, but it's a way to get more people playing rated. Heck, most players out there don't even understant that you can grade up through rated and just do standards 3's over and over and over and over...