I've read a couple of my fellow bloggers attempts to categorize EVE player. They have categorized by quantification and I think this is such an incorrect way to go. Any game that increases game play opportunity by increasing avatar stats over time lends itself to this. None of them are any different. I've seen the noob in every MMO I've ever played. I've also seen the grumpy veteran in every single game. Carebears are everywhere. Noobs often become grumpy veterans given enough time and patience. Being a carebear has more to do with RL time and disposition than avatar. I have enough combat skills to be a good pirate or ninja. I'm not by choice, not by capability.
If one wants to categorize EVE players, one needs to become more metaphysical. EVE players are people. Their motivations are based in RL. Their avatars actualize these motivations in game where it is widely perceived they can't hurt anyone. That, BTW, is completely wrong headed thinking. You can hurt people in RL through a game and pretending you can't is just a rationalization. However, that is perhaps a topic for another post. This post is about categorizing EVE players.
Game play is dictated by personality type. Reference this if you want more specific information: Personality Types. Introverts make great carebears. They thrive on internally generated rewards and generally won't seek externally derived accolades though they might want them. Extroverts love fleet fights, even the laggy ones. They want to be talked about. They want people to ask how their fit works. On overload, extreme extroverts might even troll the boards because even negative response is still response and they want to be noticed!
Then there are those who act and those who pause before acting (I really hate the term thinkers; as much as I hate the term elite in fact. Everyone thinks.) Those who act right away probably make the best PVPers. I can't quantify this but it seems to hold true in most endeavors that, providing they go in the right direction, they are quickly successful. On the other hands, those that don't act by impulse often hesitate until all is lost. On a 1v1 that is a catastrophic down side. However, I would much prefer an FC who was more the later than the former. The stakes change when you have dozens of others relying on your decisions.
Game play doesn't change throughout most players EVE careers. People stick with what appeals to them and that is driven by their personality type. Pirates move to null-sec fleets and perhaps to ninjas then perhaps back to pirate. The function of the action changes but not the nature of it. They may carebear to make money but it is only to buy more juicy ships with which to pew-pew. It is never an end unto itself.
I on the other hand get satisfaction out of a self-derived bank account. I am loath to spend my hard earned ISK on pew-pew toys. I want an Orca but NOT until I have 2.5 billion in the bank damn it. It is a goal. A goal that I look forward too. But it is also a restriction. I could buy the Orca now. I did cave last night and train the skills to fly it home. Then I immediately realized that I had set myself back nearly 50m ISK in getting an Orca. That was how much the skill books cost. The realization redoubled my self-imposed restraint. I'll not buy that Orca until I have 2,500,000,000 in the bank damn it or else! Now what pew-pew stick jock would ever do that to themselves?
So I think you have really only two types of EVE player when it all boils down. You have those who must be noticed and those who want to be noticed but aren't dependent on it. It must be very hard on the first if they don't get what they crave: the accolades, the carebear tears, the flame wars on the boards. It almost makes me feel sorry for them. Almost.