Updated Mon, Jul 26, 2010 by Space Junkie
EVE Online is a fantastic game, and noteworthy as one of the few successful MMOs that are not essentially WoW clones. The game has a lot of salient characteristics, but the economy, meta-game, and politics are probably the most important. This isn't your mother's MMO. Read this list and see why.
#10: EVE Online Only Has A Single Shard
EVE Online ain't your grandmother's MMO.
There's just the one server, and on it you can find anybody that plays the game. If somebody insults you on an EVE Online forum, you can find them and mess with them. If you want to start a business plan with somebody that you know plays, it's on the same server. It's all one world.
#9: EVE Online Is Always Growing
EVE Online has had a steady increase in players since its release date. Despite being a sort of dark horse MMO game because it deals with science fiction and is not associated with any intellectual property, it continues to grow. EVE Online has two free expansions a year, with lots of things going on in them.
A sample: this year we were given the ability to set up factories on planets. The feature itself lacked in many capacities due to its basic nature, but the point is that it was something completely new and interesting, and that it will continue to grow over time. Lots of things in EVE Online are like that. If you start playing EVE Online, you can be sure that things will continue to improve. It's not one of those games that is abandoned or relegated to a skeleton crew after a few months.
#8: EVE Online Is Full Of Mystery
There are all kinds of weird easter eggs, niches, and sites throughout EVE Online. It's rather baroque, really. There are agents floating in space that can only be found with probes, that give rare missions that only a few people will ever know about. There are complex riddles and puzzles that reward solvers. There are strange sites out on the other side of wormholes that no player has even seen, and that expound on the story of EVE Online ways that other players have no ideas. There are entire areas of industry that are not well understood by the general EVE Online population, that you can explore and exploit. And that's just the developer content.
Players have all kinds of weird things going on. Swarms of fifty ships all mining at once, with almost no protection. Satellites that have run out of fuel but still contain equipment worth billions. People flying extremely expensive ships without having any idea what they're doing. Supercapital construction yards with minimal defenses. All kinds of stuff. It's all out there, waiting to be found.
#7: EVE Online Rewards Intelligence
EVE Online isn't a "twitch" game. It rewards intelligence and patience. Players that come up with ideas, first, are rewarded appropriately. Innovation happens in ship fittings, fleet composition and, most especially, in business. Lots of people spend their time trying to figure out how other people are innovating, and why, in all of these categories.
If you are good at combining seemingly unrelated pieces of information to form a picture that nobody else has seen, yet, then EVE Online is right up your alley. Although often slighted as having a difficult learning curve, those players that are skilled at educating themselves can quickly find themselves more competent than players that have been at it for years longer than them.
#6: EVE Online Is Intensely Political
No matter what area of space you are in, there are dozens of corporations all competing for the same resources. In null-security space, there are hundreds of corporations trying to stake out a claim and defend it against all comers. In high-security space, there are hundreds of corporations trying to get an edge over each other in trade and private wars.
All these interactions make lots of room for personal charisma, interpersonal guesswork, and manipulation. Larger corporations often have specially appointed diplomats, whose job is to be the public face of their corporation. These people spend lots of time developing ties with other organizations, sounding out possibilities regarding ever-shifting alliances, and negotiating truces. If that sounds like your style, there is ample room to play.