You probably wouldn't like EVE. I don't either. That doesn't diminish the fact that it's maybe the most important game in the world right now. I can't think of another that has come closer to the ideal notion of a parallel world you can live in and influence through your own hard work.
And here I'm gonna disagree with you, Batt, I cut my MMO teeth on this game and after 9 months and several corps, I found out a guy I respected and trusted was the leader of a pirate corp on his main account and had deliberately baited me out for a couple of his buddies. To put it quite simply, you can't trust a single person in that game that you don't know in real life. The environment that CCP has fostered in that game is so toxic that I can't describe it. The players there are among the most base and unlikeable I've come across in an online game. I dearly love the universe and how it's presented, it's a dark place, full of cool, interesting plots. But the player base barely qualifies as human. Setting foot outside the certain systems is akin to walking into Auchwitz, asking directions to the gas chamber and for a schedule of when would be the best time to go in and sit down. I don't hate the game, I hate the people playing it.
I would disagree on a most fundamental level... Eve's playerbase is very much human, which is the very reason why everyone will screw you over for fun and profit.
It is indeed a very intriguing social experiment...
What i dislike about the "game" is that...
... actual gameplay mechanics, especially combat gameplay, is very basic to the point of being utterly boring.
Eve's premise is that "everything" is done and made by the players... the disappointing part is that pretty much every activity that is not "accumulating skillpoints" or "PvP" is the most mundane grind i have ever seen in any game... and PvP's only complexity really comes from the amount of players on the battlefield... and certainly not from the simplistic gameplay mechanics.
Eve allows you to do "everything and anything" ... that's true... but also... "everything and anything" that you have to do to participate in the more interesting aspect of the game (which is not gameplay, but social interaction) is so repetitive that real life may soon feel like a recreation
What is really great however are the stories and videos coming about of the community about ingame events... which is especially amazing because participating in these events in the actual game is mostly as engaging as watching paint try.
The only reason it "works" (i.e. people play it) is the very reason that you seem to find appalling: Everyone can and will screw everyone else over. Aggravation and conflict is fueling the game. As long as you are "working" towards getting payback or screwing over someone else.... the gameplay mechanics become tools to achieve your goal. And human beings doing as human beings do they will band together for safety in numbers and try to dominate their neighbors... conflict and large scale wars ensues.
If everyone would live peacefully and respect their neighbors, ... then all that's left in Eve really is mundane repetition with little risk and no purpose... and I'm pretty sure the game would be dead within a month
In summary... while being one of the "worst games" that i know Eve also happens to be the first "Virtual world" that actually deserves the name.