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In EVE, carebears get thrown out the airlock.
EVE Online was released in 2003 by CCP games, and was immediately panned. Nobody in the press could seem to make heads or tails of what you were actually supposed to do in the game. It seemed like the only activity was to mine at asteroids for hours on end in order to bring them back to a space station to sell, and that was all there was to do in the universe. At release, that really wasn't too far off of the mark. EVE was released far too early, and although it didn't suffer from many technical issues and was graphically beautiful, there really wasn't much game there. It foundered, searching for an identity that would set it apart in the rapidly growing MMO genre. They found it in emphasizing two aspects of their game - the dynamic player economy and their open PvP system.
EVE is a space-based RPG, in which players control space ships through a vast universe mining, trading and fighting. A large portion of the world is considered "high security" space, in which it is rather difficult - except for so-called "suicide gankers" - to kill other players. The profits from playing in high security space are low, but it is mostly safe. As players fly further from the core areas and reach 0.0 security rating space, they run the risk of getting blown up, but higher quality ores for mining are available out there, and far higher potential for profit.
Player Corporations can produce their own space stations that they can defend, and can even create empires. Pirates prey upon traders. If you lose your ship, it's gone, and the victors can loot your hold of the remaining objects and can even pick up some of your ship components. Many massive wars involving hundreds of different ships happen over these systems, as empires vie with one another for control. The battles are free-form, and can involve as many players as the servers can support at once.
EVE has over 200,000 subscribers at last count, a remarkable success for a game with such a hardcore PvP ruleset. It's bolstered by the fact that the entire game takes place on a single server, and that it has significant worldwide appeal, particularly in Europe. The separation between high security and low security space helps to ensure that players who aren't interested in PvP are protected, while the structure of the galactic conflict helps to add focus, structure and a reward system to the combat to encourage players to stick with it.
Unfortunately, EVE has a higher learning curve than most professional flight simulators, making it highly difficult to understand. There are hundreds of ships and subsystems to familiarize yourself with, along with all sorts of complex tactics to digest. New players are faced with a boring tutorial that lasts for hours. Although it doesn't take long to be able to contribute to a fight with a small ship, it remains very difficult for new players to get into without a lot of help and encouragement from friends.
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Released on May 6th, 2003
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