Tribes 2 fixed this community problem quite well. They made an extensive combination of access and ease of playing online, and talking to others easily, especially with their internally based player email system. Pity names had to be registered though, although, I wouldn't mind a system like that.
Highly doubtful that would happen though. I think we're looking at dedicated servers. Lucasarts is giving off the vibe that there's going to be a good form of 'team based multiplayer gameplay', and I'm sure they've realised that most of this MP gaming WILL be online. I think it's safe to say Lucasarts won't choose the zone as the primary gaming location this time around. It may very well be supported, but I think we're looking at dedicated servers for sure.