I said a few times over the years that crafting, guard and war commodities need to be different commodities. The market is too complex for it to be kept balanced, so why try? When a city is competing with individuals for commodities, but the individuals require hundreds while the cities require thousands, the individuals are going to lose out. That's not to say it can't be balanced, but it never has been (for any significant period of time) so just give up and separate them. Wood for carving vials vs timber for war machines.
The devs have said cities don't need it anymore, but it is difficult to imagine a war system that doesn't include fighting over commodities, so I'm thinking they are thinking along similar lines.
Firstly, I agree that players hate losing, a bit too much for unscripted conflicts. This has been a problem for a Long Time. I also concede that there have been times when player-initiated conflicts have been poo-pooed.
There have also been player-initiated things, specifically GMs thowing their characters on the line to have fun and initiate change. Go back quite a few years and consider Hadoryu's Paladins as an example. Hadoryu gambled his character's reputation and hard work, and something good came of it. If he was not as respected as he was, it probably would have turned out very differently.
It's not always guaranteed to succeed of course, but it doesn't always need to be that drastic either.
Moving on from that though, I'll go back to my little metagame joke. I couldn't explain it at the time as I was typing on my phone, but I was thinking of other things from the past when I wrote it.
In a guild in Achaea, our GM was friendly with and order that had a number of strong PVPers. Our GM wanted us to learn to enjoy conflict so he had an ooc chat with his friends, and the order attacked, and we were essentially griefed into submission. It was fun though, because they did actually restrain themselves. Our GM let them know if it was going too far and they made a point of giving us a chance. When it started to get old, the conflict ended.
There is a leaders channel now. I don't know exactly how it is supposed to be used, but I'm sure Oleis wouldn't object to two org leaders planning a conflict, laying a few ground rules, and then during the conflict having a daily chat just to make sure both sides are still having fun.
"Hey Toz, I want to have a small scale conflict where my guild tries to free your dogs. You guys can retaliate by, I dunno, burning our library or something, and we'll try to end it in about a week. We'll keep all teams at 3 or less fighters. What do you think?"