PVP is an acronym for 'player versus player'. Ashes of Creation is a PVP dominated game. There will be both static and open areas dedicated to PVP. Battlegrounds, open world guild wars, caravan looting and city sieges are just a few ways players can involve themselves in PVP.
PvP Flagging and Penalty
There is a PvP flagging system that allows the players to choose if they wish to partake in PvP outside of static PvP areas. There are actions tho that will determine their current flag state (green, purple or red). If a noncombatant (green) player attacks a combatant one (purple), they become flagged for a short time.The player will not suffer Corruption for doing so. Anyone within a static PvP area is automatically flagged for PvP as long as they remain. All players are considered noncombatant by default.
The purpose of the design is to allow players a fairer and more balanced world to play in. Players who wish to go on a noncombatant player killing spree outside of designated areas will earn additional Corruption (red) with each kill. With a high enough score, this penalty will render the hostile player inept to keep killing. This mechanic was introduced to keep players from 'spawn camping' other players. A Corrupt player can be attacked by both noncombatant and combatant players. Noncombatant players will not become flagged.
There will be ways to reduce Corruption, but it will take time. Players can pick up bounties and hunt the offenders down. There will be a justice system in the game. Not a whole lot is known yet, but it will likely contain a court and prison system similar to that of Archeage and other economy-driven MMOs. The developers have also mentioned a Pirate title but little is known on this as well. There are no player factions so we do not yet know what the role entails.
Static PvP Zones
These are always located at specific points of interest. Static PvP areas seem to be areas surrounding caravans, settlements under attack by players, and arenas. This includes cities (during sieges), castles, and hunting grounds. Castles are in limited supply and need to be acquired. Once players have one, they will then have to defend it to keep it. Players who own a castle will also be in control of its nearby lands. Defending and keeping a castle has its rewards. Castle sieges could easily see hundreds of players on either side of the castle wall.