One of the most common hypothetical chit-chat sort of questions about EVE on EVE-related forums is some variation on "If you had to start playing EVE again with zero skill points, would you?" The answer from long-term players is usually "no." The responder usually cites the legion of support skills that would have to be trained in order to have basic competence in all ship types. With skill queues and no Learning skills, this is certainly better than it used to be. But it still takes quite a while to build up the basic ship fitting skills. Following that is the complaint that it takes years to build up enough skill points to be capable of flying ships across the four major races, and more years still to fill in the more specialized T2 ships and capital ships.
Usually -- fortunately -- by the time that you realize the long long climb up the ladder is in front of you, you've been hooked by one or another aspect of EVE's play that you really enjoy.
Once that question is out of the way, the follow-up question is usually "What if everyone else had to start over, too? Then would you be willing to start over?" That question usually results in a more nuanced response, and there are more variations to the question. The most common variation is "What if CCP lost the EVE database... just lost it? All the player character sheets, all the sov, all the markets... everything reset?" The implication here is that good EVE players, regardless of previous total skill points, would quickly vault to powerful positions or the best ships or control of key markets. As a result, the answer to the question tends to be a variation on "Well, maybe... I dunno."
As I've written about before, skill points and having fun in EVE tend to walk hand-in-hand. If the game isn't a new experience, one tends to track pretty closely with the other. As I wrote then, this can cause "the strong desire to start playing a game where it doesn't take three years to get to the end-game goals."
These days, we're going to have to add a third question to the litany: "What if you could buy skill-points with ISK and everyone had to start over? Would you be willing to start over then?" And it turns out that this is an easier question than the second one. I've reached the conclusion that for myself, the answer is "no". It sure makes me wonder -- in this alternate universe -- how long-term "been playing since beta" EVE players would feel being surpassed by newbies that happen to be rich in real life. And actually, in EVE, this happens fairly frequently. A player with a real-life bank buys a bunch of PLEXes, and uses those to buy a character and a ship. The result is hysterical over-priced kill-mails because in EVE skill points does not equal player skill.
But suppose there were a lot of other EVE-like games out there where your skills translated? Suppose you could play EVE-like games for years, build up your skills, then use a real-life bank to buy EVE skill points? Or suppose you could play EVE until you hit ten million SP or so building up experience, then used a ton of cash to buy a 90 million SP character? I think that would change the dynamics a little bit.
Particularly if everyone else had to start over at the same time. It'll be interesting to see how it comes out-- er... never mind. I forgot. This discussion is completely hypothetical.