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Everyone I play with (at least 3 different groups, ranging from 5 to 7 players and play experience from 1 to 30 years) builds their characters based on flavor and story as opposed to how much damage they can deal. Therefore, when Prestige Classes make sense to them, the players in my groups utilize them.
It should also be noted, none of my groups have ever raised any question about entry requirements. The newest FAQ ruling falls in line with all of our base assumptions that we've been running with all along since 3rd Edition came out (i.e. nobody ever built a character based off of using SLA's to meet a prerequisite).