The game is not being playing as a normal game should be. You hit some level where your fortress is strong and then you should be able to take stronger opponents, but people stay at zero zone for one simple reason: UNLIMITED NOOBS FULL OF RESOURCES.
If STS wants to fix this it is pretty simple:
Restrict/reduce normal loot at zero zone for DH7 and up. So stronger players will have to raise their trophies if they want upgrades, and noobs with DH6 or less can still benefit from zero zone.
If STS increase the percentage of reward with the trophy level people will be encouraged to hunt trophies. But if your trophy is very low, and your DH is higher than 6, then you will get lower percentage of resources no matter the opponent. But if you have higher trophies you can get the percentage we currently have.
This will end the zero trophy level paradise and all players will do an effort to reach certain number of trophies after their bases are DH7 and have decent strong army to take other enemies and raise trophies. I suggest 3000 trophies should be the cap, this is where last pearl reward.
It is a good point at 3000 trophies but you can also gradually increase it with each pearl reward (500,1000, 1500, 2000). But if you lower your trophies, then your reward will lower again.
Now the game is pretty boring, competition is only for farmers or massively pearl consumers, and other players have no chance to reach top of competitions. If you check top 100 attackers/resources/defenses almost 95% are farmers (less than 500 trophies).
PS: My idea is Inspired by these posts, saying STS doesn't know how to do it. Do they?