As a disclaimer of sorts, I personally play Eve as a hauler and sometimes an explorer of sorts, so my perspective is a bit different from the more pvp-minded. And so, I’ll try to appreciate different viewpoints.
I suggest that we do away with gates and replace the entire system of inter-system navigation with a new one that i’ll try to describe and defend here.
Instead of having star systems connected by gates, systems would merely have a signal beacon that indicates their general location inside a 3-dimensional plane of space-time and any ship that wants to navigate to a certain system has to enter a series of constantly changing pathways (in a sense, wormholes that can be opened/entered forcefully but in a much smaller scale compared to existing wormhole mechanics) to navigate towards the signal or indeed any signal that the scanners on one’s ship might spot.
There are two main reasons (with multiple sub-reasons) why I’d advocate this over a gate-based mechanic.
Navigation and exploration becomes more of an active process, one has to always find a new route even to same destination, and you can always find something different on the way, since a pathway that connects to literally anywhere might open up on random. It would be indefinitely more interesting to pilot any ship from system to system in this fashion, so any player from a freighter pilot to a pve ratter stands to gain from this alone.
PVP and ‘anti-PVP’ (avoiding ganks, tracking down gankers) becomes more interesting and more skill-based, as gankers would have to scan a constantly changing network of pathways to gain understanding of the general direction of where a potential target might be headed and intercept their path. Meanwhile, a hauler or an explorer would have to actively scan their ‘space-time surroundings’ to gain an idea of whether or not someone might be tracking them down. There’s tons of fertile ground for skill development and ship build mechanics in a system like this as well. Depending on how the exact mechanics and math behind all this is formed, the balance can go either way, as a difference on what one can see on their end of the screen based on skills and ship build, but in any case, it would still be better than the current mechanic where one just has to wait behind a gate and the only way to gain info of the situation and fight against any of it is to drag an alt there or wait for a friend to scout ahead.
Now, I realize that this is both a massive rework of the existing system and massively different to what has existed since the start of the entire game, so all this could be a pipe dream (or someone else’s nightmare) but either way, i just wanted to get ‘the system’ out of my ‘system’ so well… gimme your thoughts, if it provokes any, and ask questions if I’ve failed (which I no doubt have) to communicate all the details in a clear manner.