I think the problem lies in what an earlier poster brought up. Richard Garriott was a virtue ethics idealist, whom I feel incorrectly assumed that such principles would translate well into an online game format. The entire idea is that certain things are "right", that you don't need a government, deity, or community to tell you they're right, and that the "right" and correct, or virtuous, action comes from within. The concept, I suppose, was that the antisocial elements would be ostracized, and that because of their lack of internal ethics would be unable to cooperate with one another to grief other people. I think there was also some assuption that the good would gather together in common cause, rather than just quit the game when they got humiliated.
The fact is that social ostracism hurts a lot less when you have a blue mule to interact with the world and deliver the benefits directly to your door. Character death doesn't hurt griefers nearly as bad as their targets, who by definition deliver the most pleasure to the griefer if they have a much harder time replacing resources than the griefer( ie new players or casual players). Its also easier when you can view your target as not a human being, especially if the griefer is an individual who has problems with empathy in the first place ( perhaps this is why PvP in general is less popular in RP circles).
The fact is, as a primary PvM player, I was more "successful" at UO after trammel. Regardless of what people say about pre-ren UO, just looking at Felucca vs. Trammel will tell you that most of the player base wants it to be exactly like it is. This isn't a new thing, if I recall, people were chomping at the bit to get into Trammel when it opened.
That being said, there are a lot of reasons to have a great deal of the game space, if not all, open to non consensual PvP. For one thing, there *were* some groups that formed very effective security forces to deal with aggressive PvPers on my shard ( For instance, the Yew Militia). This provided an entire genre of gameplay, and a market for services. Another thing is that it can be argued that anti grief measures can actually facillitate grief. Everyone knows that a blue can run into a fire field and flag an otherwise non agressive player. I also have a personal experience as follows:
The most emotionally disturbing incident I had with UO involving other players was *not* at the hands of a PvP player, but rather someone who was probably a PvM player whom utilized a flagging tool to, in my opinion, grief me as a player. This was many years ago, and at the time I had saved up money to buy a boat, which was the first thing I really wanted in UO. Well, this was when the access to the boat was entirely controlled by the keys. I had lost one key, and had not yet duplicated the other one, when I accidentally opened the corpse of a blue player inside a guard zone. Well, I got guard wacked, and the player nearby took my keys to the boat. Well, after explaining that this was a mistake, this player proceeded to taunt me about the key, tell me I was stupid for not duplicating it, and that I deserved what happened because I was a "looter". The fact that now, being older, I realize that this is probably someone who was badly burned by a thief, and was projecting that thief they couldn't get back at onto me, and that I can now afford many boats, didn't really help at the time. It was humiliating, and the hell of it was that there was no way I could get back at this person without flagging myself and looking like the "bad guy". Game or not, for a long time I hoped this woman ( for some reason I got the impression that this was an actual female player) died in a fire.
On the other hand, while I've had some bad experiences with red PvPers, I've also had some of the very best gameplay when I was assaulted by them. I was jumped in Covetous one day with my axe fighter, and while I could have gotten away, I proceded to go at it with this guy for about an hour. Finally, he got the last hit in on me, but it was so close that he died from poison shortly after ( from a scorpion no less). We agreed to heal, come back, and get our stuff. He honored this, and we talked for a while about how much of a good fight that was.
With honest red PvP, you at least have the tools, potentially, to deal with the problem. I can honestly see both sides of the argument. As far as being taunted by some punk who got the jump on you, recognize that he had every advantage and that his "skill" is entirely in his head. Drink some concrete and harden up, grab your friends, catch him out without his buddies and kill him, then its your turn to tell him how nice his mother was to you last week. Make sure you cut up his corpse just to add to the drama. However, the fact is that UO attracts a much larger player base who just does not want to have anything to do with risk from other players, and doesn't have the mindset needed for open PvP. Trammel probably needs to exist, but I'm glad they have rewards only availible in Felucca. Personally, I feel they should increase the resource rewards even further, as it would provide more incentive to go there, and give the bandits something to prey on, and the heroes someone to fight.