I've posted on the FD forums and multiple times since before and throught CQC's implementation on Reddit and elsewhere.
CQC should have been structured as the Naval progression avenue.
Instead of matches- you have sortees.
Instead of Arenas - you have warzones
Instead of 1500 credits for a win or whatever the joke of a reward is - you have the best per-hour naval rank progression rate + competative pay.
For a "loss" (having your capital ship driven away), you get rewarded by choosing a rare material/piece of data from a selection of 3.
For a "win" You get to choose 2/3 out of a selection of 5
Instead of zoning in to a map that needs to be loaded - you get launched from one of the capital ships.
Each side has tickets and there are 2 ways to win. Run down the tickets, or kill all the capacitor things (how you get the cap ships to retreat currently).
Instanced "War zones" that preclude outside player ships - BUT keep the current warzone AI ships. Imagine the friends you'd make and fun you would have and the organic development of multiplayer and WINGS - when you are 3 others gel well and take down that Anaconda that is suppressing your right flank together. Think more horde mode than death match.
Why the hell the didn't do these things... why the hell they didn't solve... a half dozen problems in one fell swoop - I have no idea.
I've posted much longer explanations than the above. Detailed ins and outs and how tos.
Now imagine this -
Imagine if "Elite dangerous CQC" - "free weekends" dumped players into the deep end of this...
instead of this ...
Once a month make ti free, have it keep the player's progress and funds for if/when they buy the game. A nice little narrative link "I served in the Imperial Navy for 3 cycles then was discharged".
There could have been other more "Competative" modes - taking a bit of a page from WoT's special events.
A wing of 4 need to escort a Python through an asteroid field for [x] minutes while the drives repair while another wing has to take them down. One launched from one of the "CQC" stations, while the others Frameshift in from a carrier. Have it self contained and instanced - but have it influence the actual BGS and war conflicts.
There is so much more... but CQC could have... can still be a link that ties a lot of the game's disjointed parts together.
Everyone is exploit grinding for Navy rank - That should be a huge red flag for FD that something isn't working - make the reward for CQC participation - be the way to prgress towards the Cutter/Corvette - Still have the other methods... but how many would give up exploit grinding to... once again CQC in epic battles while making proper progress - over staring at log in/out screens for hours.
I'd almost be angry if it wasn't so poetically tragic.
But we shouldn't fool ourselves. The reason why the above never happened was because CQC was a sleight of hand to do this sort of wierd Xbox gamebro mountain dew EPSORTS MILLIONS thing.
I wish FD paid attention to the rise and fall and fail attempt that was Planetside 2's Esport attempt.
A viable esport needs at least 10's of thousands of players to grow organically *first* before any whisper of esports can be muttered.
It's an awful lot of dev work, but some really good ideas.