Skill injectors may well be a problem, but as they didn’t exist until 2016, long after the decline of EVE, it seems unlikely they’re the core problem.
That seems like the sort of thing CCP would come up with - cheesy, easy, and most of all, benefits the largest groups to the detriment of the smallest. The concept of making the ‘increased cost’ a limited supply mini-game might be workable, especially if it was a ‘per corp’ limit. Although I suspect huge corps would then just fracture into alliances of smaller corps - which might also be useful. Interesting thoughts, thank you!
You’re actually missing the notion of ‘pressure from CCP’ here. When you herd things to a set destination, you aren’t issuing an ultimatum “Join this or suffer!”. You use a series of nerfs and benefits, such that the natural inclination of a great many players is to seek out the maximum game benefit.
In EVE, the rewards all scale in such a way that ‘maximum rewards’ leads to Null, trying to obtain those rewards leads to needing the biggest alliances with the most ships, Fozzie Sov leads to long, boring activity to ‘own’ that space, farming that space and protecting it leads to mass fleets of Rorqs, Caps and Supercaps, as well as hordes of semi-AFK farmers and bounty miners.
Not everyone will fall into the same trap, because not everyone has “I need to have the most power and the most stuff” as a goal. But one look at either EVE or RL is enough to tell you… most people do.
I mentioned this earlier, but your post is good. I don’t mind at all if CCP goes for profit. I just believe they went for the easiest, most short-sighted method for it. “Let’s introduce OP stuff that makes people sub longer and sub more alts to get it, and make money off the extra subs and Plex sales”, and then made the process even worse with things like Skill Injectors.
They could have gone the route of “let’s build a much more interesting, better designed game”, but it seems that everyone who was capable of decent design at CCP saw the writing on the wall of how the beancounters were taking over, and bailed before 2011-ish. Since 2009-ish (IMO), there’s been less and less creative design and more and more “let’s add something to the game that causes more subs”.
For an example, check this post: https://tagn.wordpress.com/2015/08/13/the-evolution-of-fozzie-sov/
At the introduction of ‘Fozzie Sov’, it declares in no uncertain terms that the new Sov mechanics would lead to the ‘death and stagnation of Null’. The post didn’t predict everything correctly that would result, because Null blocs adapted, CCP tweaked some things, and of course CCP buffed the Rorqual so much that everyone was motivated to lock their NullSov in that much faster so they could farm the hell out of Nullspace and build mass fleets of Nulltitans and eventually, sit on their giant piles of Nullwealth and do Nullthing.
That process kept a fair number of subs rolling for the years 2015-2018, but we can see that the actual long-term effect was a steep decline in players (currently hidden by introducing Alphas and F2P).