In the most recently answered questions post you were asked...
"What plans are in the work to get more people interested and wanting to play?"
To which you replied...
"Once we are satisfied with combat revisions and other small balance issues we will set up some free time for all players to get inactive players back in game. We will then also start to do press releases with regular content patches throughout the summer. We have been holding back on all publicity until we these combat changes are ready."
I would highly suggest you hold off on the free time, return to game promotion atleast untill you have the contested totems in and working.
I know for many of the pvp mindset that have left the problem wasn't just that the combat was lackluster, but that there was no real meaning behind it. I really think your best bet to possibly retain/regain the pvpers will be to show them that not only has the combat been revamped but there is also a purpose to pvping.
One of the most accurate posts i've ever seen. More will come back and say "combat has barely changed" and "we still cant attack people on their land?" and many other variations of what is true and still lacking from the game.
wait until the game has expansion totems and siege mechanics to go with them (such as ladders and battering rams) before you start trying to bring people back.
lets be honest here.. sandbox games don't have any meaning to them.. other then what the player set for themselves..
Also you guys need to understand if this game is to survive at all they need people NOW.. not 2-6 months from now.. Servers and dev teams cost money.. And this game sure as heck isn't making any money for them right now.
while i personally don't mind if free time is held off.. I doubt it will happen. The game needs players a lot more then the benefits of waiting would provide.