My character is now two years old. I will continue to play this game indefinitely because the skill system does not require me to actually play the game. I can log on, set a skill to train and come back a week or a month later when the training is complete.
There is no grind for skills besides the ones you acquire from playing the game (like knowing where a gatecamp is likely to be set in 0.0 space and how best to avoid it). The skillbooks can be expensive (about 1 billion isk total to get into a carrier) but there is plenty to do in the game that does not require expensive ships/skills.
The only grind you will encounter is for cash (mining, ratting or mission running). There are many other ways to make money, I personally trade massive amounts of minerals in a couple regions. I am able to sustain a minimum of playtime with a maximum of fun in 0.0 space just by the profits I make from the mineral markets.
The only parallel I will draw to WoW is this: anyone who reached level 60 (or whatever the max is now) and was in a guild capable of running the high level instances knows the game doesn't really start until then. Everything before level 60 was basically training to work in a group so you would be prepared for 40-person raids. In Eve the game does not start until you join a corp/alliance in 0.0 space that is fighting over sovereignty. Until you take part in your first deathstar anchoring, you have not really played Eve.
The trial is disingenuous because it just shows you an overly complex system that overwhelms pretty much everyone. Pay for a year of the game and you will understand the necessity of the complexity that allows for the huge 0.0 territorial wars.
Check out this map: http://sov.eve-dev.net/maps/influence.png
Each one of those dots is a system with a number of planets, each planet with a number of moons. Each moon allows for the anchoring of a control tower which can be built out into a number of different things: interstellar jump bridge, moon miner, factory, research lab, defense base, system scanner, etc.
The complexity of this game may be overwhelming at first, but once you start to understand things it is fun, as long as you don't burn yourself out on it. The most important thing to do is keep a skill training at all times. The best part about that? You don't even need to play to game to do so.
That's right: the BEST part about this game is that you do not have to play it to advance skill levels.
The further one gets from power, the closer one gets to the Truth.