The problem is it's a trade-off between flexibility for the players and the size of the purse ($$$). Only by getting the top players at the bigger tourneys can the organizers raise the revenue to pay the higher prize money that the players want. It's a partnership in that regard --- hence the revenue sharing that players get who make all the required events. Sponsors, advertisers, tv contracts, municipalities, and vendors all pay more money if more fans come to the event, and more fans come to the event if they expect more lower seeds such as 1-10. The WTA also needs to distribute the known players among the mid-level tourneys so they all stay financially viable, thus the 4/5 premiers.
In short, the players agreed to give up some of their flexibility in order to get a shot at much larger paydays. They may well collectively decide to go back to smaller prize money and more freedom after a trial with the Roadmap.
It makes sense that more top seeds will go out on the lower rounds of big events --- just on probability alone, there are more matches so more chances for flukes, young upstarts, or bad days. Plus all the best players are there compared to the MM tourneys, so tougher competition. And if the field is deep, there may be little meaningful difference between a player ranked 8th and one who is 20th. What looks like an upset (by comparing ranking alone) may actually not be one.
I think the idea is good, but the implementation is far from perfect. I believe there is an issue with scheduling. There are mandatory events and events that traditionally drew a lot good players even though they are not mandatory this year. They seem to plotted on the timeline in bunches and it frustrates the players. Whoever planned the schedule did not do a good job.
Agreed, this is a big problem. It's insane to have 2 premier mandatory events (IW and Miami) back-to-back, and then premier Rome one week before mandatory Madrid, which is just before a Slam. Yet other months are lightly scheduled such as Feb-March. My guess is that the tourney sites don't have much flexibility to drastically move their dates. There's got to be good reasons for this bunching and skipping pattern, or else the WTA would have solved it already.