I'm very very late to this discussion but I highly approve of the removal of playoffs. In my opinion, the playoffs have never been a good indication of choosing the best solver. Everyone has just gone through a dozen rounds of competition, and the dozen rounds are then condensed into less than 5 minutes of playoff advantage time. It would be like if you gave students a test, and the first 100 questions were worth 5% of their grade while the last 10 questions were easier questions and worth 95% of their grade.
The advantage of playoffs have always been for the spectators, to see what the best puzzle-solvers in the world can do, and a little bit for the players in position 10-20 to feel like they still have a chance of catching up and getting just the right amount of luck. But as the WPC puzzles become less and less accessible to the majority of casual viewers, they cannot understand what they are seeing in the playoffs. Without the playoff-solving being on camera, there is even less for the viewers to see. Ever since I stopped being good enough to qualify for playoffs, I discovered that I really didn't enjoy watching the playoffs. I would much rather take the playoff puzzles and solve them by myself. :)