Three years after its launch, EVE Online has racked up 100,000 players and a dedicated fanbase. Developer CCP is in the midst of a graphical revamp, upgrading the game's look and feel without increasing its system requirements.
As a game where it takes months to even learn to fly a ship, let alone build it, there's a refreshing contrast to the instant gratification of some other MMOs. Skills are learnt in real-time, rather than based on level, but specialisation options and the power of numbers mean new players can stand alongside older ones.
The player base is diverse, and provides a great deal of the game's content in the form of corporate machinations. Corporations of players operate similarly to real corporations, with mergers, alliances and feuds, and the theories of international political relations can be easily applied in this world. CCP doesn't interfere unless rules are being broken -- instead, the developers sit back and enjoy the show.
With a game this size it's difficult to keep track of the various player alliances, and some players have taken the task of charting the galaxy upon themselves. While new players may be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of politics and economics to absorb, we're assured that you don't need to pick it all up at once -- instead, learn about the world as you play.
For anyone interested in trying EVE, a 14-day free trial is available from various sources. Players start in the newbie area, and we're assured that other players are helpful both in-game and on the forums to get you acquainted. As for what's in store, CCP is looking to the future, with a planned Vista release that will use DirectX 10 to improve its distinctive graphics.