I logged in at 2:04pm and checked a few times. Didn't see more than 2 people online who I believe were afk.
People may be more interested if there was more polish to the demo. And there needs to be more users; Em8er's population is still fledgling and only brought ~33 peak players for Thursday's demo release. The community isn't big enough or informed enough to organize within days. With a small community more noise needs to be made to organize events
certainly incentives help but I disagree with the generalization of people not caring about non-incentive pvp. Firefall didn't have a ton of progression for pvp and it was popping before the dramatic changes. Other games like Paladins, Overwatch, Unreal Tournament, battleroyals, don't have significant progression/incentives yet people still play them. What actually keeps people playing is up to debate but I'd point to their fun and perceived player skill factor.