NightmareSrBecause Player versus AI games are INCREDIBLY expensive and intensive to maintain. WoW taught gaming companies pretty quickly that NO MATTER how 'difficult' or intense new content was on release it would be devoured by players in less time then it took to develop that content in the first place. Thus the rise and fall of the themepark MMO. If PFO ever went straight PVE it wouldn't have a chance of competing or coming back in this game market.
Might be a dumb question, but Why does there need to be a constant risk of open PvP in this game?
Players versus Player however is an endless provision of 'free' content from a development perspective. The design and programming balance then moves to endlessly tweaking and refining of the set of rules the players interact in, a much easier and achievable set of goals for a development team. A long term model is then possible within the world the players of the game create without the content being 100% development driven.
PFO doesn't have the budget or scope to be a game sustained solely on the amazingness of its PvE, it DOES have good fundamental bones for a PvP sandbox. Open PvP is utterly critical to its survival imo.
I'm in complete agreement with Rynnik. I've played a number of theme park MMOs and once the content is done, I get bored. I didn't pledge the Kickstarter because of what was originally promised (mass combat, factions, feuds, etc.) My Pathfinder tabletop group and I pledged because this was supposed to be a complete sandbox. Having other PCs running around the map with the chance for random encounters and PvP was supposed to make Golarion about as real as you could in a virtual environment. There was no GM to oversee the action. Just a bunch of PCs running around trying to make their way in the world. We were also just starting the Kingmaker adventure path at the time and thought it would be a neat way to experience the pen and paper concept of building and running a 'kingdom' in a virtual setting.
Fast forward to today. I am the only one of my group left playing the game. I still want the random player versus player action that should make this world feel alive. Along with that, I want a thriving economy so my gathers, refiners, and crafters can actually feel like they are contributing to a living world instead of just stockpiling stuff. I understand there are players who are PvP adverse. My answer to that is that in the 'real world', you need to hire protection. Need to mule a bunch of goods or gather in an unfriendly territory? Now there are jobs for mercenaries. You don't need PvP flags as long as there are solid rules in place (like hits to Reputation) for doing what many people would see as "evil" or at least on the wrong side of justice.
The main problem with the game right now is population and quality of game experience issues like documentation and tutorials. Until Paizo gets the game to a point where they feel they can spend the money to market the game and get players to stick, that will continue to be the main problem.