Eve Online is a player-driven, persistent-world massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) set in a science fiction space setting, developed and published by CCP Games. Characters pilot customizable ships through a galaxy of 7,800 star systems. Most star systems are connected to one or more other star systems by means of stargates. The star systems can contain moons, planets, stations, wormholes, asteroid belts and complexes. 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 character advancement system is based upon passively training skills in real time, even while not logged into the game. Eve Online was released in North America and Europe in May 2003. Players start the game by either selecting a previously created character or by creating a new one. Each Eve Online account allows for up to three characters. When a player creates a new character, they start by choosing one of the four playable races – Amarr, Gallente, Minmatar, or Caldari. Each race is further divided into three bloodlines that give characters different pre-defined appearances, which can be finely tuned by the player. The game's primary mode of play is flying around in space ships. Players can dock at stations, where they are safe and can use station services such as repairing, refitting, and the regional market. All space combat takes place in real time at sub-light speeds from around 100 m/s to 8000 m/s, depending on ship size. Unlike other massively multiplayer online games, player characters in Eve Online advance continuously over time by training skills, a passive process that occurs in real world time so that the learning process continues even if the player is not logged in.