First off, thanks for the breakdown. That was very interesting and enlightening (and troubling I might add). If I read it correctly, this is going to be the smallest number of participants in each division since prior to 2013 (I don't have the numbers prior to 2013, but this will be smaller than even that season).
Having done a fair amount of reading, it seems like the best players almost always want the smaller field. Some of that seems obvious...the smaller the field the better your odds of winning. Some of it is less obvious...the smaller the field, the more likely the skill level will be elite (for this tournament because it is earned). Some of it just seems elitist...only the pokemon elite deserve to go (which to some extent I agree with, but my definition of elite probably encompasses a few tiers similar to how you broke it down and also brings in a larger bubble population in the "great, but not cream of the crop" section of the talent pool).
I will just go ahead and say what I think...I think this year's numbers are very low for every division and think an additional 50-100 participants per division would be ideal. It IS a tournament for the best of the best in the world. It IS a tournament where players should have to earn it to make it. I simply think more players should have been able to earn it. Now, to be clear, I do NOT think the points should be lowered. That said, I do think there should be more events available to be played that are similar to the Origins Special Event. Kind of the middle ground between a League Cup and a full blown Regional. I also think more league challenges and league cups would be ideal, but because these are run by individual organizers I also understand that there is going to be more volatility regarding their frequency.
So, I know you went to great lengths to try to avoid really diving into what you think of this year's numbers, but I honestly want your opinion along with those of other writers for 6P.