So with the gamma release, you start in a "random" area. I have no idea how random, except that I spawned in the Cosi system. Never been there before. Which made me want to explore the zone, since I have no idea of where to even begin to start trading. So the idea of being ganked immediately is kind of silly. Maybe ganked by fools not knowing what you're doing. And if you die? OMG, free ship, nothing lost! Like I said earlier, pirates will focus on higher profit targets.
The slopey trade tool has been broken. It worked great for the betas when there were less than 400 billion systems. Then Frontier told him to fuck off, because with that you can make insane amounts of money trading without even trying. It exists, but is a player controlled spreadsheet now. And we all hate spreadsheets...especially now after figuring out ourselves a decent trade route.
Basically, the game in Beta was on easy mode. It's hilarious, because this is probably the most complicated game (outside of Dwarf Fortress) I've ever played. And Dwarf Fortress has more documentation. I remember killing myself more than I'd like to admit by pressing "afterburn" instead of "reverse" on my throttle stick. And then Elite mocks you by sounding up the afterburn and then you blast into a control tower and explode. I still smile because everytime I dock, there's a 30% chance I hear some other ship exploding.
In beta, I was so happy! I grinded to an Anaconda for 4.5 million. Took a fair bit of time, but once you got the space cow with it's ~400 ton cargo hold, you could make millions on each trade pass.
Now, the space cow costs something around $145 million? Something crazy like that. And in beta, your newly bought ship had fully upgraded components. Now, you have to spend time finding a station to then make your ship better. Boom! I bought a pimp set of cannons. Boo! I can't fly anywhere now because my ship weighs several orcas. And the frameshift drive to warp farther costs 5 times the amount of my ship!
I've grinded out a cobra about 6 times now. I'm glad I don't have to do it again. And I'm a trader/explorer...pretty crap at combat, though I like shooting your windshields.