With a combat mission or a combat site/anom a spawn wave might vary a little in terms of makeup or numbers. But the details don’t vary that much. It might be 3 or 4 frigates. In a site/anom the commander may/may not spawn but it’s the same commander. The big variable is in the commander loot but if I run enough blood raider sites, for instance, I get the same armour tank modules/ammo and some rarer things.
So I warp into the Mul-zatah Monastery and I know what damage type I’ll face. I know the ewar . I know on the second room I am about 60km from the Inner Sanctum and I have the sentries to blow that up with no danger. I’m hoping for the adaptive or the repairer rather than the resist/ammo.
Wouldn’t it be more fun if once in a while one of the Blood Raiders employed a frigate with a different ewar? What if there was a spawn of mercenaries* that had different damage types/ewar? A stasis tower where it wasn’t expected? And then why shouldn’t a Blood Raider commander (rarely) drop a chip for a drone ship? Or something else entirely. My character is one faction but I use items from all different factions.
(*) You would want the randomness to make sense. The variation still has to fit. Which pirates would, rarely, be visiting a different pirate? Maybe the sympathetic empire faction might pop up for instance. That is more work but it gives a basis for the rules.
This may be getting too much into the specifics. But if damage types may vary then i’d like to see the damage window changed. I’d want to know what types of damage I was taking so that I stood a chance of understanding what was happening and do things differently. Maybe I should be picking that up from the graphics and I’m just not good at it. If an unexpected rat was there the name should be something different for the same reason.
The closest I can think of that currently exists is the leaking casks in Haunted Yard. I found something like a faction small railgun in one worth about 8m isk. No big deal but I know a few other people have found other odd stuff and because we have we keep looking. The small chance of something different keeps it interesting.
At a big stretch I’d like to see things more like a Diablo type procedurally generated rat with a theme and matching name/loot. But that is a lot to ask.
It shouldn’t spoil the flavour of any faction. 95% of any faction would still be the type we all keep a list of. You should still be able to know, mostly, what you are getting into from experience/google. But it would keep us thinking, give us better stories. I’m more likely to follow the escalation to a riskier end if the reward is more exciting. Note - exciting does not mean more valuable, it would just be a small chance of something that could be got from an equivalent tier but different faction.
This could be ongoing. Maybe try it with just Rogue Drone Infested Asteroid at first. It’s not great as it is. If the feedback is good gradually tweak some more over time.
TL/DR rare variations in mission/site/anom rats and loot that do not inflate/reduce difficulty/value very much, do not change the flavour of a faction but are more interesting and, well, varied.