For the past two podcasts the group on "Shut Up. We're Talking." have talked briefly about Eve. First off they talk about the recent "scandals" in Eve and ask why the players put up with it, and this leads to a general discussion in the latest episode of why players even play Eve with its scamming, possession loss, "griefing", etc. Unfortunately they have talked about the game without a hardcore Eve player present to give counterpoint (no offence to Jon from The Ancient Gaming Noob, whom I have the utmost respect and admiration for, as he was present the first episode but represents a very casual Eve player who partakes of only a sliver of what the game is about).
On the topic of scandals I think there should be an acknowledgement that there are two types of scandals: acceptable in terms of the game, and unacceptable.
Of the scandals listed on the show, most fall into the former category. Player scams, assassination attempts, pilfering corporate wallets, pilfering bank resources, and the most recent example of a disgruntled director disbanding the BoB alliance are all deemed as fair game in the enviroment of Eve. So the reason Eve players "put up" with those scandals is because they are part of the game; if you play Eve you accept that these things may happen, sometimes to you.
The only two examples of unacceptable scandals in my memory has been the Tech II BPO spawning by a developer for his alliance a few years back (who was caught and presumably punished... the incident led to the first phase of the BoB / Red Swarm war) and the more recent POS Exploit that went unnoticed for a long time but when it was detected it led to the banning of 134 accounts. Only the first was facilitated directly by a CCP employee; the other was overlooked by inefficient bug tracking in a notoriously convoluted part of the game and then exploited by players. To see players leave en masse over these two incidents seems unlikely.
Now, on to why people even play Eve in the first place.
After all, it sounds really harsh, doesn't it? Your stuff can be destroyed or stolen, your peaceful industrial corp war dec'd, you personally hounded across the galaxy by people who want nothing more than to kill you. Not to mention the aforementioned scams. Why would anyone want to play that game?
A few reasons.
1) There is no other game like it. No other game currently on the market has as much emphasis on all forms of player versus player interaction. When other players are the end game content, you never know what to expect and the thrill can be intense. The item loss makes combat feel very visceral as you fear for the loss of your stuff and thrill in the pain your opponent feels when you cause him to lose his stuff.
Furthermore, the single shard architecture allows for a larger and more indepth market play; it allows for all Eve players to interact with all others, and it allows for massive long term conflicts on scales of thousands of players.
Once you accept the basic premise of the game, i.e. that anything goes up to a point, and learn to let go of the fear of losing your stuff, you can really enjoy the freedom the Eve sandbox gives you.
2) The harshness is mostly illusion. Unless you are willfully incautious, your stuff can be very safe.
In high security space, someone has to either trick you into attacking them first before they can kill you or they have to suicide themselves to kill you. And the devs have been making the latter more difficult. Additionally, your stuff in a station cannot be stolen or destroyed unless you trash it yourself. Guaranteed 100% safe. So as long as you don't put all your possessions in one ship and fly it out in space, you are never at risk of losing your shirt.
All tech one ships can have insurance that makes them extremely cheap.
With a bit of healthy paranoia, getting scammed is nearly impossible.
You get a warning before venturing into low sec or null sec space.
Your empire corporation got war dec'd? There are lots of options including fighting back, hiring mercenaries, hiding until they drop the declaration, or just plain leaving the corp and living in the NPC corporations that cannot be war dec'd.
As you get experienced, your wallet grows and you learn to fly ships you can afford to lose, you realize an important fact: the two most valuable possessions you have, your experience and your skill points, cannot be taken away from you by anyone else in game. From the starting point of those two things empires can be built and destroyed.
3) You get to fly internet spaceships.
For some people this is a big thing. We are the people that were raised on Star Wars and Star Trek, who spent hours with little models of the ships pretending to have space battles over the couch. Its amazing what people like us will put up with for the chance to sit in our own ships and command them (usually to their inevitable doom).
While there are other internet spaceship games, none currently look as gorgeous as Eve with all its other features.
So there you have it Darren and Karen et al, from a hardcore Eve player for the past 2 and a half years.