"Many MMORPGs have been created and will be created in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that Eve Online is perfect. Indeed, it has been said that Eve Online is the worst MMORPG ever published except for all those other games that have been tried from time to time."A lot of people hate Eve Online. Sure, the UI needs some work and the physics reminds people more of submarines than of space. And there is the rather boring PvE combat that grows old after awhile. Did I mention mining? Many players say that you don't win at Eve unless you are not playing the game.
So what accounts for Eve's success? Why do so many people follow the game even though they do not play? The game takes the term "Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Game" seriously. Do you want massive? Look on Sundays when Eve routinely sees over 50,000 accounts logged into the same shard at the same time. Fleet fights occur involving up to 2,000 ships that are playable due to time dilation technology.
Do you want the necessity of interacting with others? To reach even the middle level of success usually involves joining player-run corporations. Those individuals who are highly successful outside that structure usually wind up interacting with a lot of other players. And it is that social interaction which creates different stories for each player in the game.
Do you want role-playing? Every player who logs in engages in it to some extent, from space truck drivers to space despots who rule empires of thousands of other players. Even The Mittani publicly admitted to the difference between himself and his in-game persona.
In the wake of the success of World of Warcraft, companies made MMORPGs that can be played as a single-player game until the level cap and then demand players become social and play together. Sure, some of those games are more popular, at least for a time, than Eve. But that formula for success has never matched that of WoW. Eve is different in that the developers want players to join together as much as possible even in an environment that discourages giving trust to others without care. In most other MMOs, the developers create the story and the players follow the yellow brick road to the pot of gold. In Eve, the players are the story and nothing is guaranteed. I think a game is better that way.