For the past few days I've been following the debate on some several FW blogs (mostly Gamerchick42 & Shalee Lianne) and forced myself too read some of the related threads on the forums. Related to what? Well the 'docking issue'.
At Fanfest CCP announced they'd be revamping faction warfare for the Inferno expansion and one of the now most hotly debated things they announced is denying docking rights to militia members in hostile systems. So if you're in the Gallente militia and you are in a Caldari controlled system you can't dock there.
This has basically divided FW into two camps those that love this idea because they think it will force people to fight and those who hate the idea because they think they'll loose access to their stuff.
And I think they're both wrong, because if there's one thing I've learned about EVE players since 2008 is that they are in one critical way no different from any other mmorpg's players, they love taking the road of the least resistance. And there's two easy (and frankly quite obvious) ways around the new system.
So lets get to it.
The first and most obvious way is to get around the issue is; not living in the actual faction warfare space at all. I predict that systems immediately adjacent to, but not part of faction warfare space are about to see significant increases in population, of mostly non-flashy and more casual militia members. I'm looking at you Egghelende & Aliette and also you Akkio & Gultraten areas.
Not only are these systems adjacent to but not part of FW space, thus avoiding the docking issue altogether, they have the added benefit of not having to deal with another new feature apparently coming in with Inferno which is cynojammers in FW systems, which could potentially hurt carrier and jump freighter logistics. I also suspect more militia members will start living in high security pockets like the Enka constellation. And similar areas and systems exist around Gallente & Caldari FW space too.
The second way to get around it and this will I think apply mostly to more 'veteran' FW players, is simply dropping the pretence of being part of some militia. Because a very notable thing about the new docking system is; it doesn't apply to non-militia members!
There's already quite a number of corporations in the militia that are essentially just 'pirates' that like the ability to fight on gates and access to the LP stores. The Amarr militia has a considerable Eastern European pirate presence and a lot of Minmater militia corps are comprised of mostly flashies too. And thus my second prediction is that many of these corporations when faced with docking & logistics issues will simply drop the militia and become regular 'pirates' (I hate that term, I'm a lowsec pvp'er not a pirate god-dammit can't recall the last time I ransomed someone).
Many of the veterans don't need or rely on LP stores as a source of income anyway. And being able to engage on gates or stations won't outweigh the docking & logistics issues I bet, but we'll see.
But being in the militia isn't a base requirement for lowsec PvP by any strecth of the imagination so that alone at least won't be a motivator to stay. Just look at Heretic in Amamake for proof of this, they aren't in any militia, or pen island when they still lived in Egghelende (do they still exist at all btw?).
So who will stay? People that are in the militia for reasons other then just PvP, I'm looking at you now role-players and lore fanatics. And people that are hesitant to hurt their security status, but that will incidentally also become much less of an issue with some announced changes to the crimewatch code so that may turn out to be a non-issue altogether.
Moral of the story is I don't get why the faction warfare people are squabbling about something that is so easy to just work around. At the end of the day in terms of PvP in lowsec being in the militia is more a game mechanics or roleplaying choice then a requirement for or a restriction to the actual PvP. Or maybe I'm just missing some subtle detail, who knows?