There were always more players who played for PvE than for PvP in Rift. Even in level 50, the reason it seemed like a lot of players PvPed was because the PvP gear was really good. You didn't have to worry about loot RNG because as long as you grind it out, you will get the gear.weapon. Raiders would PvP to get the weapon which was basically the same level as raid drops. We all farmed PvP weapons until the raid dropped the same damage weapon, the only difference was hit points I remember and maybe some secondary stats. You can use PvP gear to fill in missing slots until the raid pieces drop or you have enough currency to purchase a piece. Then, the conquest dropped the BiS trinket which was better than the golem inductor (conductor? i forgot the name). There was also a buff if you maintained a thing with pvp, so raiders would just hop into a conquest and semi-afk to get the buff, then use that to help with raid progression. So the PvE players complained about having to PvP and once Trion removed these benefits, many players stopped PvPing altogether. So it just seemed like a lot of players liked PvP but there really were not. I think Trion realized this and taht's why the game became more and more PvE-centric.