EVE Online has no comparison.
EVE Online is a player built and controlled world like no other where the only NPC (Non-playable Character) interaction you will have during your play time is with Agents (Quest Givers), Rats (Pirate NPC) and Concord (The space police). Outside of these small areas of the game everything you interact with is player influenced.
There is no Vendor to sell your trash items to after a mission, You sell to people who make buy orders on the market. They buy your trash cheap and sell it high at a trading hub. That's how they play the game and that is what they enjoy about the game.
There are huge business opportunities for players where you can mine asteroids with friends or corporations (Guilds) which in turn gives you access to minerals when you refine. These minerals are then used to create anything in the game from ammunition to a full scale space ship. A popular professions.
Players can enjoy a more relaxed game style of running PvE (Player vs Environment) missions (Quests) and make money this way. Missions consist of a large variety from destroying invading pirates, to transporting goods from one place to another. Everyone mission style has its own rewards and its own requirements but there are always corporations around who have the same goals, no matter what you chose to do.
Or, if you have an itching for PvP (Player vs Player) you can spend your time devouring your pray in gangs in the more dangerous parts of EVE Online. PvP combat is very open to everyone who plays this game, not only does a pilots real life skills and knowledge come into play but EVE is a huge, elaborate game of paper, rock, scissors with many more than 3 options. Every spaceship has a counter-ship, every attack has a defensive option and if you play you will quickly realize that the game is all about knowing your enemy.
Every aspect I have covered here are the larger roads a pilot can take within EVE Online. There are smaller mini-professions players can try which will keep you amused long enough to find another undiscovered gem within the game. There are no limits. You can do anything you want with the right amount of time and patients, you are not restricted by race or class or faction.
EVE Online is one huge server, which peaks at ~50,000 players and drops to 30,000 – 20,000 players during NZ player times 4pm-12midnight. The systems are always buzzing with activity and you will meet a lot of interesting players who have their own stories to share. My only advice if you involve yourself with this game is to trust only those you already know. Anyone else is out to get you.
Playing this game with a real life friend or someone you've played games with in the past will heavily increase your chances of enjoyment, and survival. As the title reads, EVE Online is not for the light-hearted and you will find yourself in blood chilling situations when something goes wrong… But it happens to everyone and it helps you learn. You just have to be careful, keep your ISK (Currency) to your self and experience the bigger parts of the game when you have a more disposable income.
I hope to see a lot of NZ pilots out there soon. This game is amazing and not a lot of people give it a decent chance. Now that it is on hard copy here it's easily accessable to those with a less than generous ISP.