Ganking was no where near as previlant as you make it seem. There was a criminal system in the game that did a fairly decent job of making most players really think about whether or not they should engage another player or evade them. Think of all the pve gathering encounters with no recourse from other players when spawns are camped. I’d argue the present system is flawed by comparison to the earliest alpha builds.
Free building… This was a huge feature in the game. You built your towns from nothing anywhere on your land. Lets not even begin to compare the current system to this one because it’s not even close. You used to be able to keep foe’s out of your land. Can you do it currently?
The wars were epic. Fighting on the land you built on for ownership and having mean something. Also, wars were not instanced. Every war was unique and everyone was free to join as long as they chose to become criminals in the process. This created an amazing dynamic environment and ever since we a very unique experience.
Company shared storage and resource management. Companies mattered. The current game is a solo experience with nothing ever at risk. Don’t even get me.stsrted on item decay… That’s right, items would decay as they were used so the economy could flourish. No more best in slot forever items. You grabbed the best freely accessable gear around and made due. There’s no risks currently in terms of gear loss. The creates boring stale content over time.
Attribute caps. Everyone couldn’t be the best at everything in the alpha. This forced people to socialize and find people who specialized in woodchopping or building or even repairing and gave the player uniqueness and an identity in the game. Currently, it’s like everyone gets a participation trophy and can play in a world of their own and I get that for some this is better but to me, played by an MMO means I’m making choices and I can’t do everything and I need to rely on other players.
The current game is hemorrhaging players. I’m alluding to AGS they have a golden egg sitting in their lap. A game concept that, for some, was spectacular and captured MMO lighting in a bottle. For some, like yourself, it wasn’t but for others they found that original concept to be filled with overwhelming greatness.