The first "open universe" came out 2.5 years ago, in Winter 2015. Back then, leaving a ship into space and re-entering would cause you to clip through the floor, spin endlessly, die or otherwise glitch into an unplayable state. I was like "Fair enough, the multi-crew ships have just come out, surely it will be fixed in a month or two."
Today, the situation is identical. Entering a ship from space, which should be a pretty core feature, is still a buggy mess.
That's the story of the project for me. Yes, new features are being added, but the game doesn't feel any closer to a polished experience. I backed the project when the promise was "100 systems and a release next year." A year later, it was "We will do 6 systems right and ship next year, then add more." A few years later, we have no targets on having even 1 system in a playable state.
People who still have faith in the project will tell you "But it's still early in the development. These things take time." I won't disagree. But chances are 5 years from now, Star Citizen will still be early in the development.
At present, it is a buggy tech demo that has some merits, but doesn't resemble anything I'd like to sink time into. If the game ever does release in a playable, polished form, the question is whether it will still look impressive. The characters are already starting to look dated.
It's cool that you like SOTA, nothing wrong with that. I've seen a Youtube video of a lady storing human excrements in jars. Whatever floats your boat.
My experience has been different. I followed Richard Garriot's initial pitch. Ultima Online was fun, and I even enjoyed Tabula Rasa ... SOTA seemed like a nice successor. Richard has always loved the RP aspect of games, so I was looking forward to what he comes up with.
When I gave it a try, it was a pretty disappointing experience overall. The graphics felt fairly subpar and "flat", without much authenticity to them. The combat was enjoyable in its first iteration - it was a strange blend of card games and RPG. I believe they changed that now.
The real killer for me were the zones. I'm a huge Everquest 2 fan, but something that objectively fell short in EQ2 was the explorable zone size on release. You were supposed to be exploring immersive environments, but ended up feeling boxed in right from the start. SOTA has the exact same problem, except it is 2018 now. People expect more from games these days.
If it was a dungeon crawler, fair enough. But having forest environments as miniature zones with static NPC spawns is uncomfortable. That's my experience at least.
Most of my friends have moved to PUBG and Overwatch. At the same time, apparently Overwatch is losing players in Asia due to relatively slow updates. Hearthstone had a big event update yesterday. Fortnite seems to be fairly popular as well. And then you have some single player games releasing.
It may be the case that people are leaving MMOs for other genres in general.
Also, depending on what your game is, high budget MMOs tend to rapidly lose players unless they are constantly releasing big expansions. This is especially true for linear games with level systems. So it may also be the fact that your game is simply going through it’s cycle.