I think I found a very simple way to get rid of a lot of issues people are currently unhappy with: make EVE significantly smaller.
Imagine something like this happening: since everyday tasks for mankind include correcting market numbers by 0.01 ISK, activating modules before going AFK, clicking on a button to “invent” something, posting images on websites which they wrongfully call memes, farming easy kills and thinking about the powerful magic behind the phenomena called SKIN, which makes their ship go all colerfull, the entire human race in space has gotten stale and utterly dumb. Not only are their brains wired to overly simplified daily activities, but they have even gotten so lazy that they don’t procreate and thus the number of people didn’t change for ages. Medieval times were intellectual compared to it. Due to a misfortunate event many structures which the people call Stargate cease to work and in the entire universe there is no one smart enough to figure out how to fix it.
Suddenly EVE has 75% fewer reachable sunsystems. 3 in 4 systems gone, people are forced to live closer together and somehow cope with having fewer overall ressources available.
Now, wouldn’t that be fun and wouldn’t that solve a lot of current issues?
Specifically I think it would:
Create a real fight for ressources.
Currently and even with the upcoming moon changes there is no inherent reason to fight each other for space. You might have a little struggle here and there, but shortly after the dust settles and so do the people. Less space will mean real good reasons to fight for it, real good incentive to get a hold of these ressources. Perfect preconditions for war and conflict between groups of all sizes.
Introduce conflict about ressources inside large groups
But not only between groups there will be conflict, inside them as well. Who will be the first to activate modules and go AFK for running the desired Forsaken Hubs or mining these juicy belts? Will you be nice to each other and share or will greed get the better of you? Do you like your Alliance members as long as they stay in their system and form a Blue Donut for you, but you will hate them once you have to be Sunsystem neighbors?
Sourcing and Production become more valueable, realistic
While you don’t judge, you know that the people flying your ships mostly use them to activate modules and go AFK to reload websites where some post images and others comment on them. Now, your job has always gotten a certain amount of respect for doing what others didn’t want to do. Still you were replaceable and deep down you knew it - a useful idiot. Now in the times of chaos, your profession suddenly becomes much more important. Creating ships and being able to provide them to your group has never been more important than now. You and your colleages have a hard time keeping up with production in face of constant and massive destruction of goods in this chaotic war.
No Safe Zones for anyone
Are you used to live in the last corner of the Universe were rarely anyone ever goes? Do you put funny transparent chewing gum bubbles on stargates which magically shut down parts of everyones spacecraft? Do you carefully destroy every suddenly appearing connection to other parts of the Universe? Just so that you can activate modules and go AFK? Well… you might want to know that this has just gotten much more difficult.
Less Botting and AFK Mining.
With less overall space, humans are less happy with robots stealing their precious ressources. Robots have no brain at all and prefer to stay docked, because they don’t trust humans in their systems. Same for humans who only activate modules: other will come after them.
The CHAOS EVE desperately needs
I don’t even know how to explain this, but I will try: a huge part of the motivation to play this game originally was to dive into a world of constant conflict, chaos and ever emerging situations. Many people blame the Gods of CCP, many other blame themselves. Blame was never a good solution for anything, real solutions are what matter. Less space will motivate everyone to fight for what they want - be it with war, diplomacy, ninja-tactics or whatever.
So, serously. I guess that many people hate this idea. My general suspicion is that the people who are still playing EVE are mostly grinders who don’t actually urge for conflict or chaos. I hope to be proven wrong though. There are too many systems in EVE compared to how many people we are. We need more density. 25% of now will still be vastly enough to give New and Old players the feeling of a great and complex universe and you will still find an empty system now and then. But what you will not find anymore is entire regions being competely empty, cherrypicking and conflict avoidance.
So: if you want excitement and real conflict, I see no other way. CCPls shut down the Stargates, merge systems, do whatever is necessary to force humans closer to each other.
Throw us in the pit you promised us.