Your first impressions sound like mine 5 years ago or whenever it was when I played for a month - after the tutorial and career agents I was doing ratting, hi sec mining and played the markets. I hated it - PVE was slow, and didn’t require much attention, the mining being in high sec meant I could watch tv and leave the pc on and come back (and I had little investment in it if I did die) the markets more engaging but that felt like a job. Unsurprisingly I quit. I knew the game had a billion more things to do which if I could get into I would enjoy, but it didn’t happen for me.
Like you I started the game up recently and this time around after a bunch of research and a few days on a new clone I was doing exploration in wormholes - chasing that itch to find loot, a constant threat of pvp, or rather me just being smacked on, and the need to engage my mind rather than be passive ratting or mining with frigates (I’m sure it changes up later in the game). Give it a go, you might like it as well. I feel like I’m experiencing the game properly this time without a need to wait 6 months for skills to come through.
I started a post here yesterday (newbro - advice please) had some great feedback on what I should aim for and some general questions; now it feels like I have a plan of progression that I’m really engaged with. I probably won’t go near ratting, until I get a bigger, badder, ship which can take on more difficult areas and try it again then; but even then I’m really not sure I’ll get into pve.
I’ve been having a great time - made a couple hundred million ISK in my first week (I know it’s not much for some, but for me - it’s been great), stealth bomber tried to blow me but failed, while later a wormhole NPC one shot me, I made my way to null and met someone trying to steal loot from a corp… no idea what he was talking about but it sounded great!
This time the game feels totally different for me - I’d say ignore ratting, find a corp you’re interested in gameplay with (pvp for instance) or try what I’m doing in wormholes, give it a try. I’m probably going to join Eve uni - well, apply at least. And try to me more engaged - give a bit more to get it back and all that - learn about the game and other things I’ll enjoy.
Like you, I think the community is brilliant. I had heard mixed things, and when reading replies to CCP posts or changes it can seem toxic, but to each other the people a great. As I said in my topic, even the title ‘newbro’ sets the community apart from others. There is obviously something that keeps everyone else around, and I’d like to be part of it. That said… if I was ratting again for a week after loading the game up there would be no way I’d be on this forum right now, or even thinking about when I can find the time to log back in, I’d probably have conceded defeat in playing the game again, thinking it’s not for me.