I would like to comment on your response
If you look at the definition of a MMORPG on Wiki then I would have to agree with you. Boundless has enough features in common with a MMORPG to be classified that way. I would also agree that by specifying possible collaboration between players, an open persistent world, and possible roles such as builder, crafter, explorer and hunter, the website does tick most of the boxes for a MMORPG. I do think that it also being presented as a sandbox might be where I had not thought it through. Most of the sandbox games I play like Medieval Engineers and Space Engineers can be multi-player or truly solo, but there is no leveling (part of the definition of a MMORPG) or the other characteristics that would make them a MMORPG.
Quoted from Wiki “Another common practice is to enforce a maximum reachable level for all players, often referred to as a level cap. Once reached, the definition of a player’s progression changes. Instead of being awarded primarily with experience for completing quests and dungeons, the player’s motivation to continue playing will be replaced with collecting money and equipment.”
In boundless what is the goal after level 50? if you are crafting and selling it might be the accumulation of money or creating everything possible. If you are a hunter, it might be killing a Titan or some of the other creatures that will be part of Boundless at it moves forward. If you are an explorer, it might be to see all the new worlds as they are added. For a builder, money and equipment have no value. What I want is to have more freedom to build bigger and with more features. I am not sure what the developers have in mind for the post 50 goals.
In my opinion the problem with ghost towns is not the amount of plots provided. The issue is with the fact there is nothing to do with a build other than store, craft, use to house a portal and sell once it is built. This will be the case no matter how many plots are given until more features are added. I would also state that there are a lot of small 1 and 2 plot builds that are just abandoned all over the starter planets. People learn more about the game as they level and move on to be part of a community or to another location/planet to make their home. Another factor in the creation of ghost towns is the fact that you can fuel a beacon for 6 months (I think) and not have to have any interaction with it. There have been a lot of discussions on changing the beacon fueling to try and address this. I know I have always been careful with my plots and when I moved, I broke everything down and took the plots, but many people do not. Probably because they are not in the game to build so they think the number of plots they have is sufficient to abandon a few here or there.
This is the one place where I strongly disagree with part of your statement (specifically about plots as a commodity). If you want to be a crafter you can do that everyday and not have to rely on anyone in order to be able to do that. You can level up and have all the skills to craft everything. You can gather your own resources and craft without any game limitations or a requirement to buy a resource you need to craft from another player.
If you are a Hunter you can hunt every day. You can gather the resources for weapons from hunting and even level up and give yourself the ability to craft your own weapons. You need nothing from any other players to pursue this role and there are no game limitations on how often you can hunt.
If you are an explorer you may need to be able to gather resources to craft portals or warps, and will need the skills, but you do not need to get anything from any other player to be in this role and there are no game limitations on how much you can explore.
If you want to be a merchant, again you can level up and get the skills you need to gather and craft what you need to run a market without any game limitations and without any other player interactions to get there. It might be very boring for you if no one wants to buy from you, but the game itself does not limit you.
Why should being a builder (one of the roles specifically defined on the Boundless website) be any different. I can certainly mine and craft everything I need to build without any real limitations (a discussion on skill points not being part of this). My limitation is plots, If I want to build everyday I will run out of plots. I should not have to buy them from someone else. No other role has that requirement to buy a limited resource. All the primary resources regenerate, you might have to look in other places for them but everyday I can collect resources and then craft, hunt and explore or even collect resources for a few days and them craft, hunt and explore for a few days without any game imposed limits. I also do not think that as a builder that I should have to grind for 20 hours to get 10 plots. No other role has that kind of grinding requirement in order to pursue its primary objective. And frankly 10 plots is not very many. I have a small place in Eden, due to the way plots intersect the land, it required 12 plots. It took me probably 3 hours total to design and build this. So for my role to do 3 hours of its primary objective requires more than 20 hours of grinding. I have a problem with this. If the game has no technical limits on how many plots people can have, why should you think they should be limited? I will propose an idea I have about helping the builder role in another topic and its builds on your point on linking plots to skills.