only giving winners gear seems to work in pve
Because PvP and PvE are fundamentally different systems, and trying to make the two identical just leaves you with a horrible, horrible mess. You really shouldn't call finishing an Operation winning at all, because that implies someone actually lost.
PvP is a true competition. PvE is not. I'm not arguing the merits of one system or the other (You also can't win in a PnP RPG, but that doesn't detract from their merits).