Unfortunately the vast majority of people never see past this 90% mark and simply get stuck in some of the most woefully awful and repetitive PvE ever encountered in an MMO. Some of the lucky or possibly unlucky people in this group at least get to join a terrible player run hisec corporation and get to sample the paint drying levels of excitement of shooting red crosses and rocks as part of a team. Add in an extremely steep learning curve and a noob experience that basically chucks you in at the deep end and it is easy to see why subscriptions to this game have never been stellar.
The other 10% of EVE Online is some of the greatest and superlative experiences in current sandbox MMOs. The Real EVE that most people never find is a wild west of diplomacy, shifting allegiances, teamwork and meta-gaming unlike anything else. Throw in some epic, and I mean epic, spaceship wars with palpable universal effects and it is also easy to see why subscription levels have remained consistent despite the game being well into it’s eleventh year.
It is this 10% that I have found myself in for the last two years. In a motley crew of wormhole mercenaries, flying and making a living in the most hostile regions of space the game has to offer. The fights were brutal and you were always in danger, but the rewards were huge. Personally I made enough in game currency not only to assemble a veritable armada of battleships and combat vessels, and buy a dreadnought, but I did all this whilst funding two accounts with in game currency. Fight hard, risk it all, play for free.
All good things come to an end, and after participating in some very punishing grudge wars I decided to leave the wormhole life behind me and retire. Retire in a way that only seasoned billionaire capsuleer should, and join the entity known as Red Versus Blue.
Red Versus Blue is one of the biggest organisations in game. Essentially it is two groups, Red Federation and Blue Republic at constant war with one another over some piece of fluff in the alliance info I have never bothered to read. You get in your ship, you fly out of the station and get straight into a fight. You eventually explode only to repeat the cycle all over again until you decide to go watch TV. Except when fleet status is condition purple*, no-one in their right mind would watch TV then!
If you are a capsuleer of means then this can be a good, non-committal way to play the game. I think every capsuleer should do a stint in this organisation just to learn that bigger spaceships aren’t always better and actually the ten seconds before your spaceship explodes provides some of the best fun the game has to offer. No matter what you do in EVE Online, eventually some git (normally in a Tornado) is going to blow you up and the earlier you get used to this fact and start dealing with it the quicker you will abandon the dull drudgery of PvE and actually go out there to start making things explode for yourself.
* think of what colors make purple if you aren’t nerdy enough to get the reference, you may need to ask a friend if you are unfortunate enough to be colorblind.