Note: The price of the invite on the BMAH has dropped significantly since the original announcement. MMO-Champion reports that starting bids are roughly a few thousand gold each.
Ghostcrawler has given an update on Twitter about why this new faction is gated:
"The experience won't be good if 1000 players hit the brawls when the patch drops. We need to ramp up slowly, but we'll ramp up.I still don't particularly enjoy the idea that something like this will be very exclusive for a while, before being opened up to the general public, but I understand the reasoning behind this.
I expect everyone who wants to brawl will be able to. Just not the day the patch goes live. Slow down, as the Pandaren say. :)"
Encounters and earning ranks requires defeating numerous PVE battles. If everyone headed into the arena to take on their own challenge at the same time, I'm pretty sure no one would win since there would be so much lag.
It's still not the ideal set up imo. There are other ways to limit access to the Brawler's Guild other than requiring players to pay gold. It feels somewhat cheap. Not to mention some people will likely take advantage of the situation and charge a ridiculous amount of gold for an invite to the Brawler's Guild. It's not ethical, but it's not against the rules.
Other possible ways to limite access: An item could be used instead; dropped, quested, created, etc. A tiered quest chain could also be an effective way to gate the content, for at least a little bit.
In the end, paying gold to either the BMAH or another player for an invite is probably the "easiest" way. Still, I think a lot of people will be displeased with this, AND gating in general.
The only silver lining to all of this is that the limited access won't be static. I'm going to hold the developers to their word, and expect to see a "ramp up" eventually so more players can gain access to the Brawler's Guild and finally the Clock'em pet.