Man, I must've answered this question a dozen times already... I hope people actually care about it.
I actually owe my one-time (well, several-time, just not anymore) EV addiction to my brother, who downloaded the game back when I think it was at version 1.0.4. I don't think I noticed the difference in graphics when I upgraded to 1.0.5, but I'm sure it was the older version when I first got it. Of course, those test pilot files always gave me that error when I tried to load them.
I definitely got hooked on the game right away, but I must've been pretty happy as a trader / deliveryperson, because I just did mission computer missions for several months (in real life) before working my way up to a corvette. Soon thereafter I discovered the actual mission threads, plug-ins, and even plug-in development.
Of course, EVO came around a while after that, and I was one of the people who opposed splitting up the boards. In retrospect that was obviously a good move, although today it looks like the EV and EVO boards wouldn't suffer much from being reintegrated. Still, nothing would be quite like the good 'ol WWWBoard, would it...?
Ah, good times. It'll be summer soon, and I'll be bringing my laptop to NYC (which is where I'm working this summer). Maybe I'll break this game back open again...