I have a request to all the players first, before I try to explain a way of how Claims would still be functional but also fun to play with, while removing the need for Judgementhour completely.
The Devs do most likely know that the current system is not working out for them. Instead of reminding them of a broken system, try to fix it yourself. Make suggestions and post your ideas, how you want to experience PvP with Claims is what is currently the best course of action for us players to get an idea going that both makes it into the game and fixes the current problems with PvP.
My suggestion would be to first remove the need for Judgement Hour, and thus removing it from the game.
We have a few Problems with PvP how it was before Claims.
1. Players would raid at night, eliminating the risk involved completely.
2. Players would, to counter this, always hide their Stuff at night / Log out with it / Put it into a safe House, effectively (or not) eliminiating the gain for raiding at night.
3. There was no alignment loss for any criminal activity (such as stealing stuff at night) and no way to fend off raiders without losing alignment for the defenders, as you wouldn't risk a first hit for them to get criminal.
4. Obviously, being forced to log on to claim your belongings every day was very annoying. Having to build several gatehouses, one for every player in your group, was annoying aswell.
5. PvP was all or nothing. You either set out to gain everything you could carry, or lose everything you carried. While Full Loot is absolutely beautiful it has its downsides, especially in a game that builds its beauty from the completely player driven World.
Thus, we need a system that both integrates PvP as a valiable strategy of "leveling up" (in terms of equipment, resources, and technology) but does not invalidate a peaceful approach.
However, players need to have a reason to be cautious _all_ the time. A feeling of complete safety, without consequences, cannot be in this game for it to succeed.
So, lets see how other Games approached this.
Haven & Hearth, for example.
It's been a while, so I might get the details wrong, but to get to the Idea:
You had your claims, in which nobody but you could freely act. This was good in early game stages, because once you had your (expensive) Claim set up, you were rather safe.
Until you got to a point of relevance, that is. As soon as you had something worthwhile taking, people began to raid you.
You had seperate skills that had their sole purpose in "thieving, raiding, murdering" and you had to invest time and effort into getting them. This made grieving with freshly built characters impossible to an extent, so you could not avoid risking something as a thief.
However, everytime you commited a crime on someone elses Claim, you left a scent - and as such were trackable.
You could level "Manhunting" skills, to combat grievers and thieves. People in your group or even complete strangers could set out to retake what has been stolen and kill the thief.
The higher your thieving skills, the higher of a Manhunting skill it would cost to find you. It is also vague data, you don't just "Get a name", if i remember correctly. So actually finding the thief would mean actually tracking him down and identify him in a way.
The more crimes he did, and the more scents you found leading to him, the easier it would be to hunt him.
so to tl;dr (not really, bear with me) it:
There must be a possible reaction and counter to every, crime or lawful, action you do.
Steal something? - Alright, leave a scent, make it trackable. Make it an "Offer to PvP with eachother" instead of plain "Grieving in the middle of the night with no way of countering it".
Want to get it back? - Make the Item unstorable for an extent of time. Every Stolen Item should have to lay in the open for - lets say - 24 Hours (just an example. I don't mean it to be a viable extent of time) as "realisticly" people would come looking for it and recognize it as theirs.
This should not apply to items looted from your corpse, only to items (and equipment, such as Spinning Wheels) stolen from your claim! Also, buildings with LOCKS would still be unlootable, see further down (at "Sieging") for an option of looting Warehouses and Houses.
As a result: People could still leave stuff laying around outside, people could walk into your claim and for every chest they look into or take stuff out, they will leave a stronger scent.
Maybe they even leave a very small scent as soon as they enter your Claim. As a form of "trespassing territory".
What about Sieging and destroying stuff?
Well... Thats another Topic. I guess since their is no real reward for anyone that destroys someone elses Houses, except for maybe grieving, it doesn't really make sense to actually be able to do it.
However, Walls and defensive Structures should be destroyable.
Thus, I propose a System consisting of Defensive Points.
1. The Claim becomes destructable and everything on that claim becomes destructable and lootable as soon as several points are met:
1.1 The Claim gets a new form of stability, lets call them "Social Stability Points". Everytime a new player becomes part of this claim, the social Integrity rises for a set amount. Everytime a Player on this claim builds something, raises a skill to 30, 60, 90, 100, or kills an intruder on the claim, the Points rise (slowly!) - Thus making the Social Stability - well... more established.
1.2 The Claim still needs to be fed sacrifices to remain as it is. Nothings changed here.
1.3 The Claim gets another form of stability, called "Defensive Structures Points". Default, it starts at zero. As soon as people Build defensive structures (Walls, Towers, Siege Weaponry, even Houses to some extent etc.) the Level rises.
To destroy a Claim:
2. Players must first wreak havoc on the enemy claim. Kill players, steal stuff, destroy, etc. - To lessen the social stability. This means: They first need to raid the enemy camp several times to actually combat them actively, instead of raiding them at night and destroying all their stuff undefended while nobody is online. You _need_ to do PvP and kill _online Players_ to advance in a raid! No destroying structures without first lowering the Social Stability Level.
2.1 Players need to siege the Claim actively, destroy defensive structures until they have destroyed enough (how much actually is "enough" remains to be seen) to actually have had to invest time, effort and skill into it. This should not happen in just one night, as the Enemies first have to kill the Players on this claim.
2.2 Depending on how much the enemy players actually killed, pillaged and raided in this camp, and depending on how many defensive structures the defenders had and the attackers destroyed, the claim becomes partially vulnarable and unstable.
You might just be able to access the warehouse or maybe even just a few chests, without leaving a scent or losing alignment. As the system dictates the items as undefended and free.
2.3 If the players continue to pillage, after a good while of fight, the Claim becomes unstable and gets attackable. One would need siege weaponry, or loads of time, or loads of people, to effectively tear down the monument.
A typical day to day raid shouldn't mean you lose everything.
A full fledged declareation of WAR would however put much at risk, on both sides.
PvE Players would still be viable at this, as they actively help with their day to day deeds, and raise the social Stability of the claim.
PvP Players would be there to defend it against siege.
Bandits have a viable strategy of actually stealing from PvE Players without ruining their game by forcing them to PvP (as they can still hire strangers that are interested in PvP to do so)
Please, do share your opinions and add to this Idea(s)!