The emerging pattern here is “people”.
Players are what we miss the most. I see another thread in these forums about nobody talking in local any more. But who can blame them? They are bots - well maybe most of them or some, who knows. But talking in local can get you harassed or decced.
Even if there is talk in local, it’s usually insulting smack and occasional references to some criminal activity that some “enemy” did.
The problem is people. The game itself looks better than it ever has. The additions to the game, had they happened say around 2008-2011 time frame, would have been epic instead of meh. All we have had were bad examples of how rotten people are.
When I started it was impossible to go more than a few weeks without making new friends. There was always bantz and fun. Before anybody thinks I’m singing Kumbaya here, keep in mind we still shot each other often back then. There just wasn’t this spergy mental disorder about the whole affair. And if you are thinking on one side of the matter: grrrr carebears or grrr gankers, then you are part of the problem.
People have become the problem. People are degenerating. The game has improved vastly, but it’s pearls before swine now. Almost every post here is how people miss their friends, miss their fleets, miss making friends, and having known them: fellow players who had lives, depth, and were characters themselves, even if they were not role-playing.
Now it’s all silent names in local. Without a word. Like names on gravestones. But it’s not really the game that died.