Just for a moment engage your "willing suspension of disbelief". Imagine that CCP, at downtime today, reset everything in Eve Online. Everything! When you logged in you were in a starter system with your character... but now with less than a million skill points, a mere 5000 ISK and a noob ship (now with civilian afterburner!). Markets are pretty empty other than a few seeded items. All Sov is gone. All player structures are gone. All PI infrastructure is gone. No corps or alliances exist. Nothing remains. New Eden is suddenly a completely level playing field and the next great gold-rush is on? Or is it? What happens now?
I've really enjoyed reading others' takes on this, and they make good points:
- A lot of players would quit.
- A lot of CCP trust would be permanently lost.
- The real-dollar PLEX market would absolutely disappear for a bit.
- Big capable organizations would still have the advantage due to their size and capability.
One point that I think may have been somewhat underplayed, though, is the effect of wiping out the large ISK and asset reserves that certain large players and orgs have. This has some pretty interesting consequences.
Chribba would largely cease to be a thing in New New Eden. He would still have the same high level of player trust he had anterenascentia. However, without his huge wealth to back escrow for deals, the process of rebuilding might be significantly complicated. (Also, we'd lose the Veldnaught. What's EvE without the Veldnaught?)
The Elder Alliances (Bee Guys, PL, etc) had crazy banked assets derived essentially from CCP mistakes. For example, the Goonswarm Incarna LP arbitrage thing dumped many trillions of ISK into their coffers in just a few days. While it is safe to say that the Elder Alliances would once again quickly become the wealthiest in New Eden, it is not clear they could ever gain back those huge, huge pockets: at least not unless CCP messes up with the economy again. This would lessen these organizations' ability to mess with the overall economy (for good or ill).
Ontogeny would recapitulate phylogeny. The time just to complete a build of a capital, much less a super or a Titan, forget a Keepstar, is pretty long. However, building up the assets needed to build these large items would take even more time. In the meantime, New Eden would see a rapid climb up the ladder from quick-to-build low-materials ships. It would be a race to see who could build ships with enough DPS to grind structures, and build enough small ships to support entosis.
To the extend that large alliances would be damaged or destroyed, this would be terrible for new players. CCP provides very little training to new players directly, beyond some basic "this is how your ship works" stuff. All of that has been provided by EvE University, Karmafleet, Pandemic Horde, Signal Corps, RvB etc. Without this training available, the retention rate among new players would likely be even lower.
Looking over these effects, I am on net happy that this is just a thought exercise. Let's not push the big red button.