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The wastes
Could be fun, I promise!!!!

I feel like, aside from the grid, that this is a part of the game that is underadressed. It's huge, there's cool stuff to be done, and I've even seen posts that elude to it not being supported if you want an outside plotline. Is this something that is currently just totally shut down by admin, or a possible RP venue?

Badlands plots happen just not particularly often. The GMs are probably hesitant to support badlands PC plots because they only affect maybe a few players, whereas doing something in the city gives the rest of the game the opportunity to jump in on it.
You need players for RP. If you are one player wandering around in the desert it's an unfair allocation of staff resources to give you a lot of RP that is just going to revolve around one person.

If you set something up with a group of people outside the city it's more likely to see support but even then, if it's not likely to reach beyond four or five people it's not a good investment of gm time.

Everything happens in the city because that's where everyone is. Five minutes of staff RP with a single character in the city can ripple out to dozens of others because everyone lives in the city together.

You don't need a GM hovering over you to have fun and use your brain box to get something going on your own. Wether it picks up or not and if you stick with it without support is entirely on you.
+1 Thanks Grizz, good point!
Grizz is right. You'll notice that the gate into Withmore is not one way. You can leave whenever you want. And if you submit a puppet-request, it will be worked sooner or later no matter where that NPC is. Nothing stops you from visiting points of interest outside of the city itself. You can drive RP outside of WIthmore just like you can drive it within Withmore.

At the same time Vera and Waddlerafter bring up valid points. If I have time for one puppet and I see one for the city that will impact a variety of PCs and one for out in the middle of nowhere that will impact just one or two, I'm prioritizing the one that will have the greatest impact. Also, we simply can not let a PC hog an unreasonable amount of GM time via puppets because they only interact with NPCs - so keep that in mind.

Same for plots. We do use locations outside of Withmore for plots but when we do so we know that we are removing the action from the bulk of the playerbase. Sometimes this is something we want. Sometimes it's something we accept. Often it's something we avoid.

Personally, I am always very conscious of player density. We are always trying to drive PvP conflict and it is a very core part of the game. But that isn't very easy if you almost never run into another PC so I am a fan of locations outside of Withmore being great for a mission or visit or brief exploration but prefer for things to be built in a way that encourages people to get back to the heart of the game sooner than later.