"So... it's an MMO where you fly a ship through space, but you can never really get out?"
"Well... yeah. Pretty much."
This is how it plays out, almost inevitably, when I show my friends EVE Online. For some, not being able to see yourself as a 3-D avatar creates a barrier to immersion. For others, the game is too much of a departure from how player characters are depicted in most other MMOs. That's due to change soon, with the forthcoming release of CCP's Ambulation project. Ambulation will allow players in NPC space stations to walk outside of their ship hangars and interact with each other in a number of new ways. CCP clarified some information about the Ambulation project at the recent New York Comic Con.
CCP aims to bring the same level of detail to avatars in Ambulation that they have to ships in Trinity. To that end, they've hired fashion designers who are tasked with keeping the numerous combinations of outfits and material textures interesting for players, yet not allowing manipulation to the point where players can break the sci-fi immersion of New Eden.
Also in keeping with the idea of realism in a virtual setting, the physical traits a player selects for a given character will affect its movement and body language. Physical imperfections can be created and modified, making each avatar truly unique. This attention to detail and customization is a much-needed feature in the character creation process.
One last benefit of Ambulation that CCP Games isn't likely to address is that all those virtually identical min-maxed Achura Stargazers, whose numbers are legion, will finally be more distinguishable from one another. This, alone, makes Ambulation worth the wait.
Sorry, Achura players, but it's true.