Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
EVE online is a world of itself, and quite intentionally so. Thousands (actualy 5431) of star systems, each with planets, moons, asteroid fields and so on... with starbases, planetary colonies, moon mines. Flying in the space in between are traders and pirates, smugglers and cops, mercenaries and businessmen, researchers and explorers. No classes, no set path to follow - you pick your destiny, it's a sandbox game.
And it is the first game where the "massive" in MMO was true. Whenever I logged in, I saw no less than 24000 players, most of the time over 40000. They are in the same "shard"; it's not divided in separated instances as most other multiplayer games are.
Most of the game is player created. You can go solo, mining away for riches, trading on the market of far worlds or scouting for hidden riches - but most people group with others in corporations, which are run like businesses. And those businesses form alliances. And almost inevitably, those alliances go to war every now and then, over the control of star systems, groups, even constellations, with all that entails - rallying, logistics, diplomacy, spies, counterespionage, sabotage, and of course space battles. It's all there - and you can pick what you like.
While the scenes are beautiful, I find it hard to become immersed - the interface is both on a rather abstract level, and it is inconsistent too, making it a bit hard to learn. But the stuff you can do is amazing. Players can build and operate space stations, for which other players produce the parts and yet others research those designs, others gather the materials and so on - it's a massive network of interests and contracts and virtual money and real gametime. And politics - but you don't have to participate in these (they'll influence you anyways. Sounds familiar?).
While not everbodys mug of quafe, I think it's worth giving a try.
Free trial accounts for 2-4 weeks are available, and for regular play, you spend about 0.50 per day. If you cannot afford that but are really good at playing it, you can earn your gametime ("PLEX") inside the game, too.
Game Traits applied to EVE: Online (PC-MAC) by TheRealFoo