I read this.
Then thought why the hell does every freaking sandbox developer think players want full-on 24-7 pvp with full looting? Before you get your hackles up, I love PVP. Love. It. The only (sort of) MMO (World of Tanks) that I'm paying at the moment is nothing but PVP so drop the thought that I'm a 'care bear'. I love the thrill of competing (and beating) other, real live humans. I have found, however, that I prefer it in designated spaces or at set times. Not that I'm oppposed to ganking. I love ganking (hence the name) and did it a lot of it on the Warhammer Online PVP servers (when they existed...heck, does that game even still exist). There is a stigma, however, to full looting and anytime, anywhere PVP and what this serves to do is drive away potential players right from the start.
Eve, which I no longer play, had it right in designating spaces where you can participate in PVP, when you choose. Oh, sure, some noobs get tricked and killed (did that myself a few times) but ultimately you can stay safe as long as your not a bloody fool (oh, look, free stuff just floating in space in a game notorious for ganking noobs like me...gosh, guess I'll just take it and see what happens then...awwww, shucks I've been blow up by that friendly pilot, Noobpwner1337, I spoke to earlier). The 'full loot' mechanism is meaningless (in terms of actual 'loss') because you can just build/buy whatever you lose. A bit of forethought and planning ensures you always have enough on hand.
But I digress. I like sandbox games because of the freedom they are supposed to provide. It's about choice, really, and if the choice to stay safe, and keep my stuff is removed then the game is not longer about freedom of action. It's about catering to those who want to gank, grief, steal, loot, and PVP. Those who are not interested will not play and thus, there will be less players. Since the M stands for both massive and multi-player......well, you get the idea. The more people in an MMO the better, no matter where they are, or what they are doing.
Full loot, 24-7 PVP games have their place and they can be fun. Darkfall, for instance, seems to persevere but let's be honest, these games are not really 'Sandbox' at all. They are niche-market PVP games and should be labelled as such. You want me to play in your sandbox, then give me some choices to make including not being griefed by a 12-year-old named Gankali.....oh, wait......