Many people have left AO over the years, for a plethora of reasons.
Funcom has had a soft spot for players like froobs, who bring a valuable commodity to the game by just being present. Without froobs, this game could have not continued the way it has in the past.
As much as it pains me to admit it, in these harsh empty times the s10 nerf hit and many farmers also rapidly vacated the game. Some say this needed to happen, others say it didn't. TBH, the farmers never really bothered me unless they were purposefully ripping my own farms from underneath me. For the most part, that was a rare occasion, and thats just a beef between players. Very little of it had anything to do with funcom, AO, or the direction of the game.
I approved it when my guildmates built toons for s10. I told them it was a valuable resource for people to get ahead should they not mind staying at the appropriate levels for a while. I also approved it when they went there in groups.
Over time, farmers in AO are like farmers in any game. You can't be rid of them without stripping from them what it is that they farm. Stripping the bounties and the CRU from cut deeply into a huge portion of people making money and tokens. The game feels already rapidly approaching a death rattle, and has been so for a long time. Is it really smart to divert it so much that you end up removing farmers from the game as well? I farm. I won't lie. Parts of this game are designed to allow farming of things, from money, to tokens, to rewards of rare drops and other things. It is kinda beaten into us. Now, I don't make it a daily habit to farm like a madman but these people do have a place in the game as well, just as much as froobs. Farmers pay to play too, though, not all of them are not on the straight and narrow so much. But, that doesn't remove their total niche in the game as much as anyone else.
If you wanna destroy exploiters, the fine. You won't hear any argument from me. Exploiters tend to be farmers, but its not always mutually inclusive. I'd mostly suggest an implemention that doesn't stop other people from farming what they choose or need to.
It takes work to make money in this game. It takes money to buy the higher end things like alien armor and the like. People feel a sense of accomplishment when their hard work, patience, time in, and subscription fees come to fruition. I'm not saying rollback s10 either. But, like the newbie island experience it should still feel like its a asset to the game.
That's called progress.