@Zarozian Anecdotal, but here's my experience:
Me and some friends liked to rank in pso2jp, and some/most of us stopped playing for one reason or another (ep4 was like 42 years long), and when it got released here we regrouped and thought it would be a good idea to compete for the rankings, which seemed fine for the first few weeks. We ranked TA and cm on all ships, each of us had significant expenses with extra characters, skill trees, mags etc.
From around 2-3 weeks after PC release, rankings got completely taken by trainer users, you could clearly tell they were using trainers because one of them got a time that would only be possible about when we got level 90 cap, but he achieved it at level 70 and without any crafts on harukotan.
All of us sent several tickets regarding these and the CM ranking exploiters (there was even video evidence of them being able to just warp through cm and fighting anga at like level 6?) our tickets ALWAYS got a standarized response several weeks, sometimes up to 2 months replying "we're investigating but due to the nature of the report we can't give you updates on the matter", but the hackers were clearly still there, we could see the same names in the rankings, some are still there now.
The friends quit, because the only challenging end game is unattainable, people still playing see no reason to improve their gear or skills because the content that's competitive isn't there.
So whenever people make threads complaining about lack of expert or how shit their pugs are, I know of at least half a donzen of the players that would be on the top few percent that are just not here at all because of it.
Even myself, I'm barely logging in because there's nothing worth grinding for.