The first choice a new player to EVE must make is which race you are going to play. Unless you’re really into the roleplaying aspect of EVE, this choice is going to be centered around the ships you want to fly (although this may change with the future Incarna expansion). Here is a good place to learn about the four player races in EVE—the Amarr, the Caldari, the Gallente and the Minmatar. Each race also has bloodlines and ancestries that you will choose. Beyond roleplaying value, these choices have no real impact in the game other than determining your starting star system.
Your race will determine the ships you are able to fly when you start the game. Each race’s ships have their own distinctive focus. If you are a min-maxer type of player, then you’re going to want to delve into the general strengths and weaknesses of each race’s ships. There is no “best race” in EVE, just as there is no “best ship”. Each ship has a purpose in the game. You will fly many ships throughout your career as an EVE pilot, and if you follow this guide, you will have a few ships to choose from a few hours into play.
If you’re not as concerned with in-game statistics, you may want to choose you race based on the look of your race’s ships. Each race has a distinct style to their ship design. Likely at least one of them will appeal to you.
When you begin the game, you will be flying frigate class ships. Frigates are small, fast and maneuverable. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that frigates are “noob ships”. Frigates serve many purposes in the game, and some of the coolest ships in the game are frigates. If you want to fly covert ops ships or interceptors, for instance, those are all frigates. Here is a good place to see what the different frigates for each race are.
As you advance your skills in EVE you will learn to fly bigger ships. Some of the early classes of ships you’ll fly are (in order you’ll learn them) frigates, destroyers, cruisers, battlecruisers, and battleships. If you look over these ships, you will have a good idea of the ships you’ll be flying in the game. Here is a place you can explore the different classes of ships, and here is a site where you can see numerous pictures of each ship.
One of the best things about EVE is that, unlike many other MMO’s, you’re not limited in what you can do by your race or by a class. Any character can learn any skill in EVE. If you want, you can learn to fly any ship in the game, not just your race’s ships. Just keep in mind, it takes time to learn skills. So I recommend finding the race that has the most ships you like, and playing that race. It will save you some time training skills in the future.
Good luck in choosing your race! My next post will help you out with your first hours in EVE. I will provide you with a lot of resources to help you.