exactly what maxbacon said.
killing any sort of plant or animal towards extinction, polluting oceans, rivers, the world. these are things (and this isnt a complete list) that new players could do while they try to figure out how the game works, before they even begin to realize that a mistake could have been done.
this is unintentional. the intentional grief would be all this but amplified both in intensity and rapidity.
you cant claim the entire world and for a longterm game it's the entire world you need to protect and not just your backyard.
laws help to some extent, but can also backfire pretty hard. ive seen a server trying to save camas from extinction by limiting camas harvest, which essentially disabled camas from the game, because you couldnt harvest them effectively to make use of em. just one example.
laws in its current state are obtainable too late, permanent and exceptionless. even with a team that knows what it's doing you need a couple of days to be able to set laws. by then your world could be ruined. gov/admins should be able to remove laws. but most importantly: laws need to be more dynamic. why am i restricted to harvest 1 camas a day when i made my very own camas farm of 100 blocks on my own property? you can kill 5 elks per day BUT ONLY IF you have hunting yield rank 3, otherwise you are allowed to kill 1 elk per day. nobody is allowed to cut any trees down.. unless they planted equal amounts of tree seeds that day. just some examples of how dynamic laws could look like.
IMO without grief protection (intentional or not) this should not go into early access/steam. public servers would likely be dead within 2 days. everyone would whitelist their servers. new players would have a harder time finding active servers. honest players would get frustated very fast. it would overall be a bad start for the public community and for some that sticks.
the current community is small, i have not met anyone who deliberately tried to destroy anything. most players are open to the aspect of preserving the ecosystem and are trying to work together to achieve this.
but i also have played enough of these kind of games to know that not everyone wants to play the same way. some like to exploit resources without looking back.. or further than the next day and it's their right to do so... but maybe they shouldnt have that right on every server.
and then ofc there are the kind of people that like to intentionally destroy things just because.
so.. to get to the tl:dr:
bugfixes and content are important, but the permission mechanics (just gonna call it that for now) needs some love too!