In my opinion, faction warfare should be eve’s primary place to find solo and small gang pvp, and the current game mechanics aren’t doing much to encourage that.
The problems are:
Territory control and tiers are completely driven by the market not pvp. The statistics say the caldari/gallente war is pretty even, and the minmatar/amarr fight is pretty even. However, the fw window informs new players that caldari and amarr are getting dominated. That’s wrong. The tier system encourages farmers to all push the winning side until those loyalty points are so devalued that it makes sense to all switch to the other side which will then almost immediately begin to dominate. It’s also strange that you gain more “loyalty points” by switching to the winning side. That’s not loyalty.
Pirates were not considered when designing fw mechanics. If fw space is the place for solo and small gang pvp, players that are willing to fight both militias add a lot of value, and there are no fw mechanics that encourage them to be here. You also shouldn’t wreck your security status by defending them. This is a warzone. If a guy in my militia corp has committed war crimes, I still have to defend him against neutrals. Not that he should have been punished for killing neutrals in FW space to begin with. FW space is about fights.
FW missions don’t encourage fights. All they add are jackdraws that warp before anyone can lock them. You could certainly figure out ways to kill them, but why? FW is about fights. These PVE farmers aren’t interested in fighting and aren’t equipped to fight players. That sort of pvp is better handled by wormhole space.
FW mechanics don’t do anything to encourage small gang pvp. If infrastructure hubs were worth defending, you’d want to defend them with as many people as you can find. (Admittedly, people do defend hubs, but it’s only because there’s a fight there. Its not because anyone cares about the hub.)
Some simple solutions are:
Eliminate the tier system. This will make it so territory control is about epeen instead of farmer’s profit motives. It’ll also reduce profitability, which will encourage people not interested in pvp to go away.
Make it so you can kill anyone not in your militia without penalty in FW space. It’s a warzone. Expect to die.
Make FW missions encourage small-gang fights. They should require a group, be worth as much as 5 plexes, be behind an acceleration gate, force you to kill every single npc, not require pve fits, and they should be equally profitable as less dangerous PVE. The point of missions should be to broadcast that your small gang is in system, and that you’ll wait 10 minutes for them to fleet up to come fight. The mission level would gate what level of ships could enter. Making it equally profitable as less dangerous activities will encourage people not interested in fighting to go away.