So why the sudden change on the ground? On Tuesday, a faction warfare event started offering rewards to mercs who participated and won a certain % of their matches for a single faction. The rewards are varied by which faction you fight for, so looking at the current meta on the ground, a large amount of players are fighting for the Amarr because they offer the "best" rewards. The Minmatar rewards are nice too and I've personally been fighting for them, but the evidence suggests heavily that people want those drop uplinks more than they want the repair tools.
The bizarre thing about all this though is that while the rewards are nice, they aren't that nice. You're talking somewhere in the region of 5 million ISK on the Dust side to just buy them off the market. I've seen people throwing tanks close to that value into matches in order to keep their win ratio up. It's bizarre, but with not much else to do, I guess it makes sense that people will be going all out to get their rewards.
The event lasts until the 15th, so whether or not the Amarr will continue to hold everything past then is still unknown. It's possible we might see podsicles and bunnies start talking to each other to set something up going forward. There are a large number of mercs looking for work and with orbitals being a bit more commonplace now, the possibility of joint operations for a common cause exist. There's also methods of paying mercs across the games if you're willing, although the exchange rate heavily favours Dust right now (8:1 EVE:Dust).
Funny how a small carrot on a stick can impact so many.