Over the last couple days, I've struggled to answer the question, "What is Faction War?"
To be honest, I got bored trying to figure it out. I looked through some EVE lore, and couldn't find a whole lot on even why we went to war except that some dude in the Gallente or Caldari drove some mothership into a station. As far as the Minmatar/Amarr conflict, I couldn't find much as to what sparked an all out conflict. I asked around, and I think the best answer I was given was through the eloquence of a corpmate:
Kobal Nerios > wernt we slaves? and we escaped
Kobal Nerios > and boom warrrrrr
I was a little disappointed, as I was hoping to find some sort of storyline hint at what the primary goals of these nations at war really are. Some sort of fuel to say 'hey, according to the storyling, we want this from each other as factions, so it makes sense to take FW in this direction...etc.'
But I found no answers.
Then I went for official definitions. The EVE wiki said we were supposed to be a way for new and old players to get into PVP, as well as a new way to pvp for vet players.
EVE Uni, in their wiki, said we were a place where PVEers could ease into PVP. LOL
CCP Greyscale, in 2008 when FW was first introduced, said, "For now, [Faction War] produces no effects outside of the warfare mechanics, but once the system settles down and we get a good handle on the way things play out in the real world, we have the opportunity to give it more significant impact without risking seriously unbalancing other areas of the game."
Then of course, you have all sorts of people telling you their take on what Faction War is. It's one of the last places where small-gang pvp is prevalent. It's a glorified wardecing system. It's fightclub. It's where they make isk while farming FW missions. It's a place for RPers who want to get involved in the storyline--more examples of what they do in FW and not really answering the question of what FW is.
So, I reached my final conclusion as to what Faction War is.
It isn't anything.
It's ready to be something.
People want it to be something.
I think that ultimately, when people complain that 'plexes and occupancy don't mean anything' they are really identifying the general issue of FW -- Faction War ultimately doesn't have any purpose yet.
Then the question becomes. What should Faction War be? And this is where we come to a grinding halt.
CCP, in their proposals for FW, gave FW a tentative push down the road toward sovereignty wars. It's a valid direction that FW could be taken in. It would be an easy direction, because that's how much of EVE already thinks --that pvp is ultimately about taking space--ultimately about conquering stations and fighting over systems.
However, that's not the only valid direction that FW could go. FW could also be about conquering each other, instead of ultimately about conquering the 'space' we occupy. Faction War could be about.....war, in the bitterest, truest, most bloodiest sense. It could be about the battles, the victories and the losses. It could be about the politics and negotation that comes with war. It could be about the innocent civilians who get caught in the cross fire - who risk having their homes destroyed and put into danger. It could be about trying to protect those civilians--about protecting people's livlihoods and way of living.
But, we think too much inside the box for that right now. Too much in our 'highsec should be ultimately safe for everyone and shouldn't feel the effects of war box' and 'we should organize pvp into nice and neat little compartments box' and 'all roads leed to nullsec box.'
The question isn't whether FW is ready--whether FW is ready to take on nullsec mechanics or whether Faction War is ready to deal with station and system sovereignty, or whether FW is ready to change.
The question is...
is EVE ready for true Factional Warfare?