what if the starting area is a fairly large island, and there’s several plots that you can build structures on. The island has like wild animals to fight and some basic natural resources (stone, iron, trees etc) for starting crafting. You can build like an altar or some kind of entrance to enter dungeons. pvp could be initiated through ships….like the ocean is actually sorta like…a random dungeon finder (but instead it finds islands) but also has a chance to find enemy pc or npc ships, or pc islands (matched at similar level or progression). Additionaly, the ocean could be how monsters spawn on your own PC island…like an ork ship lands (crashes) into the island and they may scout out/raid on the island sending guys out from a basecamp or something until like boss ork is killed.
-under marching up from water/water elementals/summoners/meteor fall/burrowers