Access to ships and credits for outfitting is the main thing us veterans have that new players don't. The whole engineering stuff can be done in two weeks if you're in for grinding. I unlocked engineers when I needed to and didn't grind anything. People like to complain about the unlocking process but I never found it tedious. Same with getting grade 5 access.To be fair I never mentioned any credit buffs. I'm in agreement that credit gains are too damn high. If it were up to me I'd slash credit gains to somewhere between launch levels and now. Buying an Anaconda after an afternoon in a mining ring definitely has cheapened the sense of awe.
And I definitely agree that learning to fly is better in the smaller ships then working your way up. But none of my suggestions would make players getting an Anaconda in a week any faster. Credits are busted (as the recent Jameson Memorial Relogging CG would show)
Regarding engineering and materials - all I'd really suggested is reduce the overwhelmingly large and unnecessary number of currencies due to traders rendering most of them far less unique anyway, given that we're probably getting a boat load more in Odyssey for suit upgrades.
Mentioning "catching up" has definitely triggered people and I'll refrain from using such words in the future...
I'm playing for 5+ years now and up to about 2 years ago I unlocked two or three engineers I think, since I don't need any weapons. Then Distant Worlds 2 came and in the process of completely engineering my exploration Phantom, I unlocked a few more, including Marco Quent who needs those modular terminals and a Sirius permit which took me two days of doing stuff.
People somehow treat engineering like it's some kind of holy grail or a tedious chore, but unlocking them is pretty fast.
Gathering materials, well, I don't know, it's not that "veterans" have them appear magically. I think most people who farm them also don't accumulate them over time but are farming them in a few days of play which is totally possible to do for new players.
Experience is what makes a veteran. I am pretty sure any combat veteran player will obliterate a new player in an engineered ship using a smaller unengineered one. That's not me, because I do no combat and any new player training for a few weeks would most likely shoot me... Well, or not because I'm pretty good at dodging and getting away.