TL;DR: You can teach people about how gritty and dark the game is in a way that leaves them excited, or despondent. Despondent people leave, and don't come back. Excited people stick around.
I agree 100%. And actually, the experiences described in this thread perhaps notwithstanding, I believe far more often than not experiences in Armageddon land in the "excited" category, not the "despondent" one. That's what everyone aims for. I've seen situations like the Shadowrun mugging you described happen almost exactly as you told it in Armageddon, just swapping out the terms. I've also seen it go not as well as that. I expect every game has a similar spectrum.
Armageddon has -clearly- left people with a despondent feeling. Despite anything anyone says about "It's not like that anymore..." damage has been done. And the more you contradict yourself defending Armageddon, the less people are going to believe it. Really, ya'll are shooting yourself in the foot by defending, instead of saying, "Sorry you had that experience. If anyone wants to give it a try, contact me, and I'll make sure that experience isn't repeated, by being your guide."
I'm disappointed that it has left some people feeling that way, because the game can be, and is, so much better. I want experiences to be riveting and pulse racing, not sour. I don't think any game will have a perfect score at attracting and involving new players, but we do our best. If anyone tried in the past and had a poor impression I would invite you to see if anything has changed. And whatever your impression is, I'd be happy to hear about it.
Coordinating roles ICly via OOC means is not allowed via our rules (edit: to clarify, meaning I can't have my avatar roll up and befriend you to show your character around, etc.), but I am happy to be a guide and ambassador in any capacity I can be. You can contact me at email@example.com.