I came across an advert from an EON edition that noted crews for our ships. I have not signed up to EON (something I may well change very soon, I'll add) so I don't know the in's-and-out's of this idea. But I thought it would be fun to throw in my own spin.
First of all is the morale implication. It is a solid fact (stand-fast station-spinners) that we will lose our ships at some point through PvP, NPC or Concord. If EvE was real, I for one would not sign up to be an engineer to a Capsuleer's ship. Not unless I had a death wish. Although this is really nonsense, would it not be a nice touch to have miniature escape pods blasting away from the ship as it explodes and have your crew awaiting your arrival at whichever station you dock at? To combat lag, perhaps this visual mechanic could be included in the graphics sequence of a ship popping. Titans may be an issue with the amount of escape capsules accelerating away, granted. Or maybe an un-lockable (or not - yarr!) escape shuttle will remain following the explosion, which will then warp your crew away to safety. Perhaps the easiest away around this is to use expendable droids as a crew, which could be recovered through salvage if you really wanted them back.
The reason I am imposing some sort of 'crew recovery' system is because some depth could be implemented in the development of a crew. Crewman could have their own skills (AI controlled) that increase through time and/or experience as we progress through missions/PvP/etc. much like our standings with agents. So as we 'develop' our crews through game-play, they increase their effectiveness on our ships. Perhaps even crew specialised to certain player styles, such as pirate crews and explorer crews. But with every ship lost, a certain percentage of crew will not survive and/or have their bonuses reduced - much like our fitted modules.
Crewman could be bought/hired through a special recruitment hub through the market. The more you spend, the higher their rank and, therefore, the better their ability. Skills for our characters could be bought to increase our crews standing effectiveness as well as ones to accelerate their training time. I simple promotional system could exist with billeted slots, so that your ship isn't run completely by experienced Commanders. But such mechanics could lead to a complicated system that people quickly get fed up with.
However, a system like this is very much in use at the moment - Hard-wire implants. Bonuses to weapons, defences, navigation, etc, are already available, so to introduce a system that I have just described would only mean duplicating something that already exists in the game (apart from the increased bonuses through time). Plus, do people want to have something extra to manage with their ships when all they want to do is fly and fight? Probably not.
I'll say that a lot of thought would have to go into something like this, as it will need to be well-balanced. I'm sure players don't want to go through the potential painful motions of training and losing crew to make it a fair fight against their opponents. So maybe limit ships crews to Empire or even just High-Sec?
Who know's. It is definitely something that will make us more attached to our ships, but it will need to be simple enough not to effect game play as it currently stands.
I very much welcome your thoughts on this!