PvP has higher entry requirements for end-game PvP than when we played. This isn't unusual given the time that has elapsed since we played. When we played the soft-cap (read "minimum for competitive") for gear was TRI Boss gear. It is now TET Boss gear. On top of this, changes have been made to node wars though I have not read the changes thoroughly so I can't speak for how they've changed the barrier of entry. Keep in mind, this is all for end-game competitive PvP, which should be an ultimate goal but not an immediate objective. First you'd want to aim for T1 node wars. Unfortunately, I haven't seen much discussion about lower-ranked node wars as the PvP community in general has been heavily diminished by waves of rebalancing that were done poorly. (Sometimes the wave would only balance some classes, leaving the others strong, sometimes the wave wouldn't only partially implement balancing, leaving a broken system in place until the next wave; it was pretty bad.) Because of this, I don't know what the barrier of entry is for lower ranked node wars.
Economic dominance can go hand-in-hand with PvP, as guilds that manage to conquer a nation reap some pretty heavy rewards for doing so. However, we would not be able to pull off such a feat. As such, the best alternative is sea monster hunting. The basic gist of it is that members get boats, and the guild gets a gally, and we hunt sea monsters in our free time. Sea monsters drop items that can be sold to NPCs for guild currency. A lot of guild currency. It used to be that only guilds that owned a node were allowed to cut bonuses. This has since been changed. All guilds are now allowed to cut bonuses to their members. The total amount cut per week is not allowed to exceed 40% of the guild's current funds. This is what has caused radical inflation in BDO. Fight fire with fire.
As for other activities that can be done, there are guild missions that reward guild boss scrolls. A lot of guilds will do these missions exclusively so that every week all members can get together to stomp bosses. Guilds will also often maintain spreadsheets of what members have what daily/weekly boss scrolls so that members can be matched up to more efficiently farm daily/weekly bosses. Setting standards for what channels to go to for World Bosses is also a common practice so that members can expect help during world bosses.
As for life skilling, it's hard to find life skills that benefit from having other people. The only 2 that really come to mind are trading and hunting. Trading because scattering members across a wide range of channels allows for more effective finding of channels that have specific trade goods on bonus. Hunting because of world hunts like whales and khalk, etc.
I would personally recommend going for economic dominance first via sea monster hunting, as we're likely going to have the most success recruiting new players on the olvia channels by offering to help people reach 56 so they get the game for free, in exchange they join our guild and help us establish economic domination of the seas.