The normal rule set in The Repopulation encourages PvP but does not force it. Where the hardcore server will focus on a more Free For All style. The following has more to do with the normal rule set.
All players will begin their adventure as an Inactive member of the OWON or FPR military. Being inactive means that they will not be able to attack or be attacked by other players in protected areas. They will be subject to attack and able to attack opposing players when they enter into contested areas, however. Players can elect to join the Active Military at any time. Active Military can be attack or be attacked by other Active Military members anywhere in the world. They can not attack Inactive Military in the protected areas, however. Guards will aid friendly players in both protected and unprotected areas.
Areas near your starting cities are fully protected. OWON and FPR civilizations are located quite far from one another. The middle areas between the two are largely unprotected, with the exception of Rogue Nation cities. You can find the full complement of tiers and difficulty levels in both protected and unprotected regions. If a player wished to completely avoid PvP they would be able to.
Nations can build cities and cities can be sieged and conquered. It is an open world experience with objectives created through engagements. Players will be automatically rewarded for their participation. You gain military rank through your participation, which can open up new rewards and abilities.