It disgusts me to see so many people complaining about pvp and how it kills the server, people quitting because of it and such. You can have a busy server with PvP, simply don't go to the PvP. If something is high reward, chances are its high risk, then don't do it instead of being a pleb and risk it and then complain.
There are plenty of carebear players on healthy servers doing fine, perfectly fine and all you are doing is de-valuing what those did on contested servers, fighting blobs and what not. I have moved servers twice to find PvP, join the underdogs and I have never had it easy but I don't cry about wanting a low pop server so I can do trade runs.
The issue is the mental capacity of people to think of what they can and can't do. One thing I will say is that 3.0 did make many folks quit, the ♥♥♥♥♥♥ed single planting and land being devalued. But that is a good thing as land is more available on high pop servers, the larder thing needs to change to help new players gear up.
Really Trion have got some stuff to answer for, but generally its the players lack of thinking, making friends or working together to achieve things is one of the biggest issue, they want it all on a silver plate.
It wont happen unless you are on a dead server and Trion at some point will stop that, finally.