Retribution (ugh) is coming this winter and it has a lot of changes that will impact a lot of areas of the game. In particular, I'm going to look at Faction Warfare since that is where I have been for a few months now (and loving it) and I can speak fairly reliably to the estimated impact.
Prediction #1 - Militia numbers will drop significantly as alts created to take advantage of broken mechanics leave.
The basis for this prediction is easy: currently there are a large number of alts in various militias who do nothing but farm loyalty points to cash out when there is a push for warzone control tier 4 or 5, making billions of ISK with a character sometimes only weeks old. With changes to faction warfare including lower LP payouts for low tier control and smarter AI in the plex NPCs, these alts will no longer be able to farm ridiculous amounts of ISK.
At first this appears to be a win as these alts are not setup to fight and run at the first sign of trouble anyways, but this does mean fewer travelling targets overall for the PvPers of the militia to hunt, and there is a chance that as players draw their alts out of FW for greener pastures, they may draw their mains out as well.
Whether or not numbers drop enough to affect quality and frequency of PvP in faction warfare area remains to be seen.
Prediction #2 - FW Cyno Jammers will not see a lot of use for faction warfare operations.
First off, the fact they can only be deployed in systems with level 5 upgrade means that you will be lucky to have more than one or two systems you can use them in (except maybe in a weird scenario where one militia is totally dominating another to the point of absurdity). Secondly, they have to be deployed at the IHUB and have very few hitpoint and no POS to protect them. So you won't set one up and forget about it, you will need to actively defend it.
So what's the most likely FW use case? Enemy is harassing or all out assaulting something in a friendly level 5 system so the defenders setup the cyno jammer and then undock the carriers/dreads to chase the hostiles off. The enemy does not come back because they can't counter-drop their capitals. Sure, there might be some fights on the cyno jammer itself but as soon the capitals are on field they will have a hard time knocking out that cyno jammer with just conventional ships, and even if they do, they don't open it up to just their own fleet, but rather any watching on alert null sec alliances are free to bomb the party too now.
However, I can see nullsec alliances taking advantage of this mechanic more often. Get an alt in a militia, give them a few FW cyno jammers, and you have defensible systems you can operate in low sec for logistics and training with no threat from any other capital fleets other than whats in system with you.
Or pirate corps using and alt to create the ultimate gate camp with carrier support and no threat of hot drops.
But helping FW corps have their own capital battles? That I don't see happening.
Prediction #3 - Faction will have one to three fortified capital systems, and the rest will be no man's land.
This already happens now. Gallente militia base out of Heydieles, Nennemaila, and Vlilirier. Caldari in Tama and I think Rakapas recently. And so on. But with the changes to FW in Retribution the effect will be even more pronounced as miltias are encouraged to develop fewer systems and are rewarded for the defense.
I don't think this is a necessarily bad thing, but it is interesting and promises to be worth watching in the new year.
Prediction #4 - More and More Ship Types will be seen in space.
Faction warfare is unique in that it requires pilots in different ship types to enter certain complexes. This means you see a lot of tech I ships you don't see in null sec and high sec. But as tiercide continues and ships are balanced overall with respect to each other, pilots will have more options for taking different ships out. We already see this with the rebalanced frigates that have been released. Hell, two nights ago I engaged three Condors for fuck's sake! That is more Condors than I have seen in space in 5 years!
As the new Destroyers, rebalanced Destroyers, and rebalanced cruisers hit the scene in Retribution, there will be a plethora of choice and it will take many months for the meta to settle down. Expect to not know what the hell you are facing on any given battle.
* * * * *
To sum it all up, there will be fewer pilots but less farming and the pilots that remain will be fighting out of a couple capital systems to engage the enemy in the no man's land between the capital systems and in many different ship types. But don't expect any more capital fights than we've seen in the past.