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It seems like there's not a lot of people on, but that's just because everyone is in their corp chat instead of general discussion. The game is very much alive, I myself have three accounts and play it wayyyy more than Eve Online.
That said there's a lot of annoying things that might turn you off right away.
No autopilot. There's tons of crap all over the landscape to keep you having to pay attention to where you're going.
The assignments are stupidly annoying, and tedious. You can't access them from outside a base.
There is a whole bunch of ammo crap you gotta get to do anything. For example, to find titan ore you need directional scanners, tile scanners, and the miner charges. This is just a stupid system. Get rid of all the charges and have a generic one that allows us to choose what to search for.
The market is very empty. Which is a good and bad thing. Means you have full control of the market, and can really buy low and sell high.