I don't get this fuss with elite, it gives you like a few extra k xp in a good match and if it's a bad one, which will be the case if you're just out of recruit and play a stock t3 ship without ob, there'll barely be any difference elite or not.
The problem is not the grind, but the lack of balance in ships, classes and matchmaking. There's no reason one must hate the grind, if they can enjoy the game itself in the process. Alas, that's hardly possible with the current progression system that takes players who are already at a disadvantage due to having less experience and sends them to compete against the best the game has to offer while giving them a demo version of a ship. New players come into veteran, get shat on by a triple x squad, flying fully equipped T4 ships, check out their reward, then quickly estimate how many more such games they'll have to play before they have at least one fully loaded t4 ships with at least 1-2 obs and uninstall and that's if they don't get the impression that this tiers business is a sign of a p2w model, which I've seen newer players complain about in the game chat after getting stomped by ships and modules they haven't ever seen. Cause if your game is not p2w, that is good, but not too much good if it still appears to be p2w on the first glance to some.
I bet my account on it that this is how it goes in most of the cases. And nothing is ever being done because unlike the "esteemed community members" who either played since the closed alpha and never faced the situation of climbing to a hilltop that was already occupied or just got through it and think that others should too, the players who come and go don't usually rush to forums to start debates and at the very best will just visit once and make one poorly-articulated thread that will be quickly visited by a dreadnought welcoming committee that will fend off all of their claims with the argumentation type of "we like it so it is good" which will hardly persuade the player to stay and reconsider his first impression.
This is clearly the same kind of a feedback the developers mostly get, since if you post on the forums, you probably play the game, and if you play it, you probably like it and if you like it then you don't want it to be changed, at least not drastically, so the discussion gets locked in a positive feedback loop which makes the impression that everyone in the world likes Dreadnought. But if the majority of the opinions are positive, yet the game's playerbase still isn't rising, then maybe it's time to consider the possibility that that those who give them are not representative of the majority of potential players and it's time to at least look into minority reports, if not elsewhere entirely.