Have had Stylus Colour Esc P2, Photo 700 and Photo 870, none of which gave the problems you fear.
The 870 (current) is now sometimes left for 3 weeks without use and still works first time every time,(I shall probably regret saying that!) because I use a small Epson Lazer for routine stuff.
Epson as a company does have a hard nosed approach these days, and though they will replace under warranty, if you are looking for driver support on an obsolete model, forget it!
Finally - for some reason text is no better and perhaps poorer on a photo printer. than their bog standard cheap ones.