While we can have qualms about the statistical methodology, why would CCP “maliciously” misrepresent data? They are a business, they would love to have more paying customers and to milk the existing player base more. That is fine and how it should be. Yes, it could be that they got it wrong but even without a deep understanding of statistics it is easy to understand that, armed with only anecdotal evidence and a very small data set, our perception is clearly more likely to be wrong than theirs.
As far as being a new player is concerned, having played solo on and off for more than 10 years, I can fairly say that I have been a noob three times: 10, 6 and 2 years ago.
Why did I quit 10 years ago? The game was just too unforgiving for semi casual play. Learning learning skills, moving probes one by one, forgetting said probes, forgetting to insure clones, etc… I felt I was playing against the game mechanics rather than against or with other players. CCP has addressed that issue nicely imho: they kept most of the complexity but dropped the infuriating parts.
Why did I quit 6 years ago? A mix of boredom, lack of understanding of some game mechanics and “off-grid” everything that seemed something unfair I could do nothing against, some lack of content for solo play. Again, something that has decently be addressed by CCP imho.
As far as the present is concerned, I do, like everyone, have my pet peeves. But on the whole, I think the game has improved a lot on the whole. Yes, a lot of the recent additions have been mostly useless, pointless or simply boring. But there are, imho, less opportunities to be unfairly treated by the game and the game mechanics. While you can be unfairly treated by other players there always seems to be a way around that (except possibly for the ever lasting bumping issue, but CCP has begun to address that).
It is very possible (and fairly easy) to avoid being ganked in hs. While super proliferation may indeed feel “unfair” if you just got "Nyx"ed in a drake, there are tons of ways to avoid being put in that situation (including killboards btw). Being ganked in HS is a minor issue (again IMHO): I think that this is good that you can’t feel 100% safe there, that you may have to travel and pay attention a bit and, in any case, I feel that noobs who can’t take that low level of risk aren’t a good fit for the game anyway.
There are solutions around many of the problems you encounter and the ability to be creative about them is my main source of Eve pleasure.
And while I am at it, my current peeves would be
- structure proliferation (which is slowly being addressed, at least some steps have been taken in the correct direction) space shouldn’t look like a junkyard.
- the emergence, more than ever, of a big, unmatched and unchallenged, economic power. That, in itself, is too be expected in a game that favors emergent behavior and real world like politics/empire building. That’s, in a way, impressive to watch, but may have reached a tipping point (just my perception).
- that abyssal stuff which is essentially “loot boxes” in disguise. (Very clever from CCP’s point of view - the loot box part being several steps away from the act of payment). If it ends up being a success, this brings Eve closer to a pay to win lottery and removes part of the analytical aspect of the game (squeezing optimal tight fits out of standard parts) to favor unexpected mods that are the products of a chain of lottery like steps. Note: while I do wish it ultimately fails because it changes the nature of Eve as I see it, I understand it is only my opinion.
But anyway, the relatively rare new player blowing up and quitting because he has not learned from his mistake is probably totally irrelevant in the grand scheme of things…