It IS fun. And, to give that "new privateer" perspective, I'll talk a little about the newcomers scene.
When you start you'll be hit by a 4 hour tutorial (which is alright, cause it will give you money and stuff to start out) that will teach you everything you need to know. Almost literally. This is a MUST. It's not like WoW which is so simple a 5 year old can play it to a certain extent. There really is a lot going on. It truly is a game of math, so if you're afraid to do number crunching (basic arithmetic) then it's probably not the best game for you.
Anyway... as was mentioned: how DOES that lone, new player exist in this game? Especially with pirate corps camping gates and people with millions of skill points ready to pwn you from here to the next galaxy?
Easy: be careful! Look before you jump, get to know your systems, carefully plan your ship loadout. Stick in the safer, higher security, systems until you're REALLY ready to venture into lowsec. Find a corp that will allow you to do what you like to do (mining, missions, pvp, hauling, trading, etc.) and will help protect you. The map is so massive that, honestly, even with as big as the war is, it's easy to stay well away from. Hell, I was Mito for awhile, and was alright, save for a pirate corp giving us problems. (Now I'm, in The Citidel, which is considerably safer, I believe.)
Playing the game and getting good is just a matter of planning your skill training carefully and getting to know the ins and outs of your ship, your modules, your weapons, your skills, your tactics, your opponents, and your enviornment. Seems like a lot, right? It's not that bad. I picked it up in a night. It's a friggen blast, really.
And yes, there is a HUGE roleplay community, and even the non-roleplayers dive headfirst into their own intrigue and politics. A very realistic game, IMO.