When I was a very young EVE player, I had the advantage of joining a small, tight-knit old school pvp corp that was known for taking very small gangs successfully against rather large ones. Sometimes we roamed 0.0, and sometimes we wardecced large alliances to get targets.
I don't remember all the details about everything that we did, but I remember two primary things that they taught me during that time:
1. You don't fly things you can't fly well. They were very adament about this--even strict about it. Being newer, I flew a lot of caracals and blackbirds during this time.
2. Tactics and skill can trump brute force and numbers. Every time. It wasn't just a theoretical idea to us. We lived it every day.
In many ways, I feel that the old-school multidimensional tactic based pvp has been somewhat lost. Going up against 'larger numbers' usually means that your 9 man gang ran into a 10 man gang. 'Tactics' usually translates to using guardians, or having a falcon on field. Or flying kitey, range ships as a gang vs landing at 0 and killing your target in the face.
In those days--in that corp--everyone in our gang was important because we simply didn't have that many to work with. Everyone fit into 'the plan' somehow, and as a result, our 5 man gangs would often deal serious damage to much, much larger fleets.
So, what has changed?
First, I think that with tools such as EFT, etc., a lot of analysis has been done to get the maximum benefit out of fittings, and as a result, there is a different attitude toward the 'right' and 'wrong' way to fit things. In other words, we're a lot less creative. I remember swapping things out of my ship, and fitting things all different ways to counter certain situations. Back then, the 'right' way to fit your ship was whatever way you needed it fit in order to get a job done. Now, when I buy a new ship, there's usually only 1 or 2 ways I fit it, based on certain 'standards.'
I'm not saying EFTing is wrong. However, I think that the use of it, and other tools, has resulted in certain 'attitudes' toward fittings in general.
Second, I think that a lot of the GMs shy away from extremes now. Anything regarded as 'too good' or 'too overpowered' seems to get nerfed. Perhaps I only see it this way because as a new player everything seems to look 'big' and my view has extremely changed since I was flying caracals and blackbirds in that pvp corp. For some reason, I remember a lot more extremes. Not any one thing, but everything in general.
Now, it seems that instead of taking advantage of bonuses, and pushing ships and modules to their limit, we rely more upon countering things with numbers and brute force. Perhaps game mechanics--particularly the trend of ships and modules becoming somewhat standard and bland-- encourage this a bit.
Overall, I miss those old times in many ways. I miss the adrenaline of being an important link in the tactic chain, rather then another body in another dps ship. I miss having to do more then warping in, activate mods, shooting 'primaries' and etc.
I miss....flying, in general--skirting around an enemy, feeding off others in my gang, and knowing that it's me that's keeping me alive -- not just my EHP or whether or not the enemy chooses to primary me in a face to face slug fest.
I recently bought FRAPS, and pointed out to a corpy an odd habit I noticed of myself when I played back some of the video footage. "I spin my ship during battles. In the heat of it all, while primaries are called and I risk dying, I spin my ship. It makes me dizzy to watch sometimes."
"You probably spin your ship in battle because you're bored."