And... things can always turn around... people just need to be taught that they need to work for it, rather then expect this to be gifted to them by game mechanics.
That's a great straw man fallacy tactic there. No one here said, "We all need to be gifted everything".
I have been in both sides of the coin. I have been in a small (40-60 guild) in a small alliance (150ish-250ish member alliance) that was out numbered by guilds that were 300+ in alliances that were 900+ (Atlas). And I have also been in the huge dominating alliance that steam rolls everyone (Shadowbane).
And it comes down to the same thing. One side winning, and no one ever having the chance to compete after that. As fun as it is to easily dominate a pvp game, where no one else can even pose a challenge to you, it kills the pvp game.
When one guild is allowed to dominate in a sanbox pvp game there is no way to come back from it. Even if you decided, "I know I will recruit mass amounts of people" you will not have the infrastructure or resources to compete and in your aim to get them-You get destroyed.
This isn't me saying, "Give everyone everything". It's me saying, "There needs to be a trade off for that dominance otherwise the game dies".
Some people here suggested taxes. I like that.
I suggested buffs/debuffs. I would probably prefer the taxes if it can be done right.
I noticed Znirf said that if people lose a settlement they can keep it if they pay taxes. That is a solution I haven't seen at all.
And lets not get it twisted. You can take a gander at my signature. I am in a guild that has ambitions to be one of those large and powerful guilds. This isn't me saying, "I am in a small guild and want all the things!".
This is me saying, "This PVP game looks awesome and I don't want it to die in the same way that most sandbox PVP games die even if they are crazy fun".