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Sorry but I just do not get it, why is it that hard to create a sandbox MMORPG with open world full loot PVP where the PVP is optional.
You step into the world being neutral, no other player can attack you. Futher ingame while having developed new skills or raised level you get the option to be aligned to a certain faction. At the base game there are only 3 factions, two of them are constantly at war with each other (lets call them F1 and F2). The third will be the neutral faction F3. Align to them and you will not be attacked by other players but enjoy the PVE and all the other social aspects of the game. You might be excluded from gathering precious resources or "loot" but that's simply the price to pay for living at peace.
But even though you aligned yourself with F3 you stil are free to align yourself to F1 or F2, same goes for those in F1 and F2 can place themselfs into F3. Of course it should have a timer, a 24hour timer should suite nice and makes you really think before you might choose your faction.
I personaly still think a sandbox game with full loot pvp in this way will attract far more people who might eventually still get into the pvp part, then most of today's forced open world pvp sandbox/hybrid type of MMO's.
Just be carefull when picking a guild which is a feature that should open up at the level where you can align yourself too a faction cause a guild can choose their alignement and you will be stuck with what ever alignemt the guild decides.Which can be great for those seeking constant pvp actions and great for those who might seek peace just never to be bothered with the pvp aspects of the game.