I don't think I can answer that in general, but I've played EVE I've wanted to like it, and yet I keep going back to World of Warcraft.
I can think of 3 thing that make a difference to my game play.
At various points of my life I've played MMOs to avoid feeling lonely when I was living alone. At some point I realized that the little bouncing characters I was driving around in WoW were registering as a "person" to some elder part of my brain. Part of it is the player characters react spontaneously, but part of it is all of the PCs are shaped like a humans, and there's part of my mind that responds to that human shape. The static EVE character portraits seem not to register as "real".
Additionally WoW has a rich emote system that allows communicating emotional state in addition to intellectual information about the world. The emote system is sufficiently important that /hug, for people I like, and /facepalm, /golfclap for stories about dumb people, as well as others emotes regularly punctuate my non-MMO instant messaging.
For many of the standard emotes it helps that the player character also responds with an appropriate animation.
It may also be important the the NPCs are also animated humans.
The last part is the new Random Dungeon mechanic was a joy to use (if you're playing a needed class), because you can arrange for zero downtime, though it may be wearing out as I was using it to see the dungeon content that was more challenging, though now my WoW characters are getting geared enough that the dungeons are becoming less challenging.
In thinking of ways to improve EVE, one of the frustrations is you get a neat character creator, which you can spend hours getting just the right look while logging in and then once you enter the game, you only see that as a 100x100 static pilots license photo.
At the very least I wish that the mission agents in EVE were animated, I spent a lot of my time when I was playing running missions and it would be nice if the agent looked a bit more real. The simplest thing might be instead of showing a photo, pretend that its a video call, and animate them more like someone on a call. Breathing, shifting position etc. I think it would be extra interesting if the agents general emotional reaction changed to you as you gained in faction standing.
This animated talking head mechanic might be useful when chatting with other players as you could then use it to communicate emotional information to others more easily, though after thinking about it more, I'm not sure how one would dedicate the space in the UI for it.
This is more difficult for CCP to do anything about but in WoW I managed to meet people I got along with and the easy of having positive shared experiences in WoW makes it much easier to form friendships that effectively make playing WoW more sticky. If you're playing an MMO mostly by yourself, there's less reason to keep going back.
I found it very difficult to connect with new people in EVE there wasn't really any kind of low risk way to develop shared experiences with someone. Most of the missions are soloable, so there's no real mechanic to start interacting with other people.
Also I talked with one of my co-workers about her experience with the trial of EVE, she found that she missed being able to buy cute fluffy creatures. Farming for stuff in EVE wasn't that much fun for her if she couldn't use it to buy something she liked. EVE could definitely improve in the ability to customize your character, your ships.
Extending that, I think that EVE could use some form of non-combat cute. The WoW non-combat pets are fun, they're apparently fun enough for people to spend real money on them.
It is pleasing that the EVE world is fairly internally consistent, but it like its 100% serious. People do like humor and cute. Even real-world leaders are caught petting puppies and laughing.