EVE Online is a massively multiplayer online space/science-fiction role-playing game developed by CCP Games that launched in 2003. The EVE universe comprises over five thousand solar systems that pilots can navigate through in a variety of ships. These systems contain space stations, planets, moons, asteroid belts (for mining) and complexes. Players can participate in a variety of roles in the Eve universe, including manufacturing and trading items, mining ore, combat with either non-player ships (through missions given by agents or through shooting pirate NPC players) or fellow players.
Unlike other massively multiplayer games, Eve does not have a system of experience point-based training, but rather 'skill points' are earned by training specific skills - the training process continues even when one is not logged into the game. The length of time skills take to train is determined by attributes, and one can train Learning skills or fit neural implants which increase those attributes. The skills are organized into levels, which usually provide a certain amount of increase in ability. Each skill has five levels, and each one is a geometric increase in training times - thus skills can range from as little as a few minutes to many months in training.
Systems in Eve are given a security rating, which ranges from 0.0 (no security) to 1.0 (maximum security). 0.5 - 1.0 are dubbed "high sec", 0.1 - 0.4 are "low sec" and 0.0 is "no sec". High security systems are ones where CONCORD, the game's police, roam and have sentries. If one shoots at another player in high security systems, CONCORD will fire back at the player and destroy their ship. This does not mean that attacks in high security space are impossible (until recently, pirates would use a method called fleet ganking to invite players into a trap, and they can still practice a method called suicide ganking), but the game is designed so that player-on-player combat takes place in low and no security systems.
Players, upon joining the game, are automatically made a member of an NPC corporation (usually titled as a school or university or agency of the particular racial faction one is a member of), but players organize into their own corporations which provide both companionship and support for players in their chosen roles. For instance, a pirate corp may provide subsidized ammunition to players, loans to purchase ships, or offer insurance for ships lost during corporate operations. Corporations are able to declare war on one another (called "wardeccing"). In addition, corporations may join together into alliances, and those alliances can declare wars on other corporations or alliances. Alliances are used mostly to colonize areas of 0.0 space, with the individual corporations serving different roles (manufacturing, mining, defense).
At any time, there are around 30,000 players logged into the main Tranquility server during busy periods, and there is a separate server called Serenity used in China. Many users also take advantage of Singularity, a test server which allows players to test both changes to the code and also try out ship setups without it affecting their account on the main Tranquility server.