Eve Online (stylised EVE Online) is a space-based, persistent world massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed and published by CCP Games. Players of Eve Online can participate in a number of in-game professions and activities, including mining, piracy, manufacturing, trading, exploration, and combat (both player versus environment and player versus player). The game contains a total of 7,800 star systems that can be visited by players.
The game is renowned for its scale and complexity with regards to player interactions – in its single, shared game world, players engage in unscripted economic competition, warfare, and political schemes with other players. The Bloodbath of B-R5RB, a battle involving thousands of players in a single star system, took 21 hours and was recognized as one of the largest and most expensive battles in gaming history. Eve Online was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art with a video including the historical events and accomplishments of the playerbase.
Eve Online was released in North America and Europe in May 2003. It was published from May to December 2003 by Simon & Schuster Interactive, after which CCP purchased the rights and began to self-publish via a digital distribution scheme. On January 22, 2008, it was announced that Eve Online would be distributed via Steam. On March 10, 2009, the game was again made available in boxed form in stores, released by Atari, Inc. In February 2013, Eve Online reached over 500,000 subscribers. On November 11, 2016, Eve Online added a limited free-to-play version.
Set more than 21,000 years in the future, the background story of Eve Online explains that humanity, having used up most of Earth’s resources through centuries of explosive population growth, began colonizing the rest of the Milky Way. As on Earth, this expansion also led to competition and fighting over available resources, but everything changed with the discovery of a natural wormhole leading to an unexplored galaxy subsequently dubbed “New Eden.” Dozens of colonies were founded, and a structure, a gate of sorts (which bears the inscription “EVE” on the New Eden side), was built to stabilize the wormhole that linked the colonies of New Eden with the rest of human civilization. However, when the wormhole unexpectedly collapsed, it destroyed the gate as well as the connection between the colonies of New Eden and the Milky Way. Cut off from the rest of humanity and supplies from Earth, the colonies of New Eden were left starving and disconnected from one another; many died out entirely. Over the millennia the descendants of the surviving colonists managed to rebuild their own societies, but by this time the memories and knowledge of humanity’s origins, of Earth and the Milky Way galaxy, as well as the history of the settling of New Eden, were lost; what little information that survived transmission over the generations was misunderstood, lost in translation, or consigned to mythology. Five major distinct societies rose to prominence from the surviving colonies, all growing into interstellar spaceflight-capable civilizations. The states based around these societies make up the five major factions in Eve Online: the Amarr Empire, the Caldari State, the Gallente Federation, the Minmatar Republic, and the Jove Directorate.
The Amarr, a militantly theocratic empire, was the first of the playable races to rediscover faster-than-light travel. In terms of physical proximity, the space occupied by this society is physically nearest to the demolished EVE gate. Armed with this new technology and the strength of their faith in their god, the Amarr expanded their empire by conquering and enslaving several races, including the Minmatar race, who had only just begun colonizing other planets. Generations later, after the intense culture shock of encountering the Gallente Federation, and in the wake of a disastrous attempted invasion of Jovian space, many Minmatar took the opportunity to rebel and successfully overthrew their enslavers, forming their own government. However, much of their population remain enslaved by the Amarr, and some, having adopted the Amarrian religion and sided with their masters during the revolution, were released from bondage and incorporated into the Empire as commoners in the Ammatar Mandate. The free Minmatar Republic, taking as inspiration the ideals and practices of the Gallente Federation, is presently a strong military and economic power actively seeking the emancipation of their brethren and all other slaves.
The Gallente and the Caldari homeworlds are situated in the same star system. The Gallente homeworld was originally settled by descendants of the French colonists of Tau Ceti; Caldari Prime on the other hand was purchased by a multinational megacorporation that began to terraform it. The terraforming of Caldari Prime was incomplete at the time of the EVE wormhole’s collapse, however, and the planet remained environmentally inhospitable for millennia. The Gallente restored themselves to a high-functioning technological society some hundred years before the Caldari, building the first lastingly democratic republic of New Eden in the form of the Gallente Federation. Originally the Caldari composed a member race within the Federation, but cultural animosity between the two peoples spiralled into a war during which the Caldari seceded from the Federation to found their own Caldari State. The war lasted 93 years, with neither nation able to overwhelm the other. The planet Caldari Prime was initially retained by the Gallente Federation during the war, and did not become part of the new Caldari State. Much more recently, however, a Caldari offensive managed to recapture their lost homeworld, a fact which is viewed with abhorrence by the Gallente, who see the presence of a significant Caldari fleet about the planet as a mass hostage taking.
Both the Gallente Federation and Caldari State are economy- and trade-oriented nations. However, the Gallente favour liberal economic policies, encourage individual entrepreneurship and social democracy, and maintain a progressive approach to social welfare, whereas the Caldari State is organised as a form of statist corporatocracy; the Caldari State itself is owned by and operated on behalf of a few trust-like megaconglomerates. The Gallente Federation’s official policies regarding multiculturalism and encouragement of diversity attract many immigrants to Gallente space; a third of all ethnic Minmatars reside as citizens there. As the Caldari did not share this enthusiasm for diversity with the Gallente, the Caldari State at the time of its formation found itself at a relative population deficit compared to its Gallente adversary; rather than encourage massive immigration to and diversity within the State, this population shortage was rectified by a Statewide programme of artificial reproduction, producing a generation of so-called ‘Tube Children’ raised by the Caldari State apparatus to enlarge the labour pools available to the megacorporations that ruled the State.
The Jovians (a non-playable race) were also descended from colonists. Unlike the other races of Eve Online, they maintained a relatively high-functioning technological society after the collapse of the EVE wormhole and did not need to spend millennia recapitulating ancient societal developments as the others did, and while the other four major races were still grounded, Jovian history saw two major periods of spacefaring empire. They expanded outward and eventually turned to genetic engineering in order to mold themselves into a species more suited for deep-space life and long-range interstellar exploration. Genetic experimentation and manipulation were not without their drawbacks, however: by the time period in which players enter the Eve Online universe, millennia of human genetic manipulation have rendered the Jovians barely recognizable as human; more critically, the Jovian manipulation of their genetics has resulted in the eventually fatal “Jovian Disease,” an inherited psychological disorder which, despite the best efforts of the Jovians to reverse it, has affected every individual of the Jovian race and thus crippled their civilization. Having experienced a catastrophic population decline (the Jovian societal structure is believed to be barely maintained by their immensely-advanced technological systems), the Jovians have effectively retreated to inhabit a region of space inaccessible to outsiders.
In addition to different backgrounds and histories, the races have characteristic philosophies of starship design. Minmatar ships tend to be quite fast but fragile, and rely on their high speed and maneuverability to evade the tracking systems of heavier weapons, while using projectile weapons such as artillery or autocannons, more sophisticated kin to today’s munitions technology. Amarr ships are ponderous, densely armored, and pack batteries of powerful laser-based energy weaponry. Gallente ships are sleek and designed to favor armor plating; they specialize in deploying fleets of robotic drones while mounting hybrid weapons that operate using superconducting magnets to accelerate mass toward targets at great speed (see Railgun). Finally, Caldari ships are typically poorly armored and not particularly fast but utilize powerful energy shields, and make extensive use of torpedo/missile launchers and hybrid guns, favoring engagement at extreme ranges. However, there are exceptions to these general rules in each race.