This was a feature planned from the beginnings of ryzom, that never saw the light of day.
It may never have seen the light of day but it was actually mostly complete, including some example content. It was going to be sort of like EVE Online's sovereignty system. But the fact that it was going to expand the scope of PvP, as you can tell from the other comments on the thread, meant it was met with visceral opposition.
I think it's a good idea but I'm a fan of anything that gives players more 'ownership' in the world. And I'm also not a heavy player so it doesn't affect me quite like the other veterans.
In Ryzom Core we've begun investigating where this was left off and working on documenting it for use with other games. You can see the concept and what very little we've uncovered here: