EVE Online is a unique scifi sandbox MMO by highly renowned Icelandic developer, CCP Games. Recently I have been working on my review of the latest expansion pack Odyssey, albeit rather slowly as many of our EVE articles do due to their complex nature. Returning to EVE has reminded me why I get so passionate about the game in the first place and I couldn't wait for the review to write about it - so in the meantime here's an opinion piece on the top 10 reasons you should be playing EVE Online, complete with videos and all.

#1 No Classes, Just a Career of Your Choosing

As a pilot in New Eden your journey doesn't begin by picking a class, you create your own persona for your new virtual life where you will forge an online career of your choosing. EVE Online is a true sandbox, players aren't provided with specific paths to follow, you make your own decisions on what you do and when you do it - every choice is your own.

One thing EVE does well is offer choices, pilots looking for a life in combat may find themselves running missions for local NPC agents, form up with fleets to roam dangerous locations looking for targets to kill, become a pirate in the lawless parts of space or become extremely ambitious and build an empire fuelled by war and the capture of solar systems.

The more humble pilot may take the life of an industry or business pilot, mining asteroids in space to be converted in to space ships or sold for profit, hauling freight throughout space as a space trucker, play the market in an economy so large and active that it requires a team of qualified economists to maintain, or become an entrepreneur.

These are just a few of the options available, and while EVE does provide guidance on certain popular career paths - players are free to create their own unique experience, you aren't required to do exactly what everyone else is doing and even if you do, you definitely don't have to do it the same way. EVE rewards the creative and ambitious.

#2 Victory is Sweet, Revenge is Delicious

One fact that can't be denied is that New Eden is an extremely dangerous place, especially for those venturing outside the mostly protected high security systems. Featuring open pvp with full looting of players, opportunistic pirates can capture prey unaware and take away everything in their possession. Corporations can build empires only to have them destroyed.

The chaotic battlefields that can feature just a small handful of pilots or thousands facing each other are just one example of the beauty of EVE. While defeating your enemy in direct combat can be gratifying, that isn't where the conflict ends as EVE gives all pilots many roads to revenge. Some pilots have gone as far as infiltrating their attackers corps, spending at times over a year gaining trust and building friendships before liquidating the corp of all their assets. This just touches the tip of EVE's espionage and revenge schemes.

Patience is a virtue, victory or revenge doesn't always come quickly and pilots who are determined and committed to their cause will often reap the rewards. Your skills will be tested, the game will punish you for your mistakes and you often may want to give up but every moment will intense - players with heart issues should seek a doctor's advice.

#3 Exploration is a Core Ingredient

In some MMOs developers encourage you to explore the world they have created but often the only incentive is cool hidden areas or an achievement. In EVE Online, exploring the universe is a major part of the game, it's even a career path that many follow full-time because in the heart of every star-bound pilot is the desire to discover the unknown.

Hidden throughout the universe are anomalies, ancient sites, and even wormholes leading to secluded off-the-grid solar systems. Equipped with probes - little scanning drones used to track down these locations - players can earn big rewards or discover a new place to call home through this lucrative career path. Exploration isn't just sightseeing though.

In many of the anomalies and wormholes lie hidden dangers awaiting the unwary explorer not well equipped for combat. From rogue drones to pirates, players will have to stay on their toes or face the consequences. Other anomalies however often provide great opportunities for industrial pilots, meaning explorers are valuable to a lot of players.

#4 Politics Has Never Been So Interesting

With pilots all over New Eden forming corporations, running in-game businesses, and capturing territories to call home - it's inevitable that both alliances will be formed and wars will be fought in order for corporations to maintain power or increase their earnings. This has opened a new sector for EVE, player-driven politics and mass propaganda.

Whether you are in the middle of the heated politics or just reading the reports, the politics and struggles between corps and alliances in EVE is something that has made the headlines of numerous gaming sites over the years. Trust between players hangs by a thread and it's always exciting to see how others take advantage of or manipulate that trust.

#5 Criminal Masterminds Welcome

EVE Online truly is a unique MMO in many ways, but one of those is CCP's stance on in-game theft, scamming, and exploitation. All forms of deviant acts are completely acceptable as long as they are executed using only valid in-game mechanics and doesn't involve stealing a players account or personal details. Players are free to stab each other in the back.

While many are quite lazy and attempt to pull off simple trade scams, EVE enables ambitious virtual criminals to scheme and put their social engineering skills to the test. From infiltrating corps to steal all of their assets, to running large scale scams worth billions of in-game currency - players can earn big rewards by catching a player with their pants down.

Some pirates - as criminals are often called in EVE - make their living by simply catching people in a vulnerable position where the risk far outweighs the cost of the ransom that the pirate may ask. Pirates are often found flying through space looking for valuable marks to either assassinate or ransom for variable amounts of in-game currency.

#6 Lore Junkies May Overdose

Since its release in 2003 EVE Online has amassed countless pages of lore and expanded its universe with storylines and events that will captivate players looking to lose themselves in a game with a rich back story. EVE Online draws players in with mission chains that tell the stories of the universe and many hidden locations hold the secrets of the past.

New Eden is constantly evolving and as history is written, new events take place as pilots head in to the future. While there are still many improvements to be made on the immersion front, EVE Online is an extremely detailed MMO in almost all aspects.

#7 Two Games, One Universe

If possessing the largest online game universe wasn't already enough, CCP is pushing the boundaries of online gaming by connecting a second game to the EVE Online universe. DUST 514 is a free to play MMOFPS for the PS3 which lets players fight land battles on the planets located throughout New Eden. All players from both MMOs inhabit the same universe.

Players of the console based shooter aren't just playing in the same universe, they are fighting along side EVE players for the same objectives. Ground forces can call upon pilots in EVE to bombard the planet they are fighting on, or accept contracts to capture territory - some corporations even buying loads of expensive equipment for their ground forces.

The integration of the two games in to the same universe is something you won't find in any other MMO, and whether you are a space sim fan or a shooter fan you can still enjoy the EVE universe just the same with all the politics, intense combat and sandbox gameplay.

#8 EVE is Real

Being a part of the EVE community can be extremely special, each year CCP invites players from all over the world to join them for the EVE Online Fanfest - an annual convention solely focused on the EVE universe. Situated in Iceland, lucky attendees are treated with special events, reveals and activities including discussions with the developers themselves.

For those who can't attend, the event is always streamed for external viewers so they don't miss out on any of the reveals or events. Gamers who love EVE are encouraged to go though as each fanfest ends each day with bar crawls with the developers - CCP loves drinking with its fans, and they drink like Vikings so ensure you have your iron stomach packed!

#9 Massive Tournaments, Massive Prizes

Each year CCP hosts a massive e-sports event, the EVE Online Alliance Tournament where alliances take each other on in controlled pvp scenarios to see which alliance is made up of the most skilled pilots in EVE. The winners are rewarded with epic prizes and rewards.

The EVE Online Alliance Tournament doesn't go without its fair share of plotting and controversy, with previous tournaments ending due to a deal struck between two alliances - resulting in one throwing the match. This was met with an uproar but ensured that the tournament, much like the previous was exciting from beginning to end.

#10 History is Written by the Victor

With such rich lore in New Eden, the explosive politics and a vast universe enticing players to take control - players have begun to write their own stories, events going down in history and conflicts that literally change the face of New Eden itself. EVE Online is lucky enough to possess brilliant video makers who bring these stories to life, or tell their own.

For those who truly invest themselves in their game, the entertainment provided by EVE players as they tell their stories about their lives as a pilot or the wars that have been fought - it's a truly cinematic experience that shows off the talent of the players that live within the universe on a daily basis. If you're a machinima fan or just love a great gameplay video, EVE players won't disappoint.

To find out more about EVE Online visit the game page, or head on over to the official site and sign up for a free trial.