that's pretty much all 1.0 did, lol.
best gear is still crafted etc., raid gear is only as good as tier 2? i think.
the thing that makes a game a sandbox isn't solely its features.
e.g in archeage if you want to be a mercenary/pirate/farmer etc. you can.
the game doesn't say 'no, you HAVE to do this or this' (pretty much every mmo lol). instead it lets you do what you enjoy doing.
1.0 may have hurt that in some regards, but not as much as people like to think.