Four races, torn apart by two horrific wars. When all that remained were the smoldering ruins of lost cities and shattered lives a universal truce was declared to end the despair.
— Eve Online Intro
The four playable empires of Eve have existed in a state of (relative) detente for over a century.
Standing amidst the flock, we should have feared their glory; instead, we drew hope. This moment is the first time I understood what it meant to be Caldari: Divinity in the flock, delivery in flux, one being, many changes.
— Janto Sitarbe, The Legendary Flock
Strident capitalists with a side of ultranationalism. The Caldari system might not be pretty, but it's brutally efficient, and is one of the few that offers true social mobility. Their homeworld in the Luminaire system was first colonized by a mega corp, though the Eve Gate collapsed before it could finish terraforming the planet, creating a harsh environment for the surviving colonists. Originally part of the Gallente Federation (by virtue of being in the same system as the Gallente), the Caldari seceded 190 years ago when the Gallente tried to take control over their mega corps' interstellar holdings. They won, but they lost their homeworld Caldari Prime in the process, leading to all Caldari being booted off it. This instance of ethnic cleansing fueled two centuries of anti-Gallente hatred among the Caldari... and a couple of years ago, they got their revenge, retaking their homeworld.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: The entire Caldari government. Thank God they're also somewhat competent. A reform movement on this front is a big part of the current Caldari storyline, though for storyline fans, the changes are contentious. And time has suggested that the bickering between megacorp factions is as lively as ever.
Death World: Their homeworld, Caldari Prime, wasn't fully terraformed when the Eve Gate collapsed, making it very difficult for those on the planet to live. While it's since gotten better, this may explain the Caldari's militarism and hierarchy-bound social structure.
Designer Babies: Popular among the Deteis. The initial justification for creating "Tube Children" was the massive disparity in population between the State and Federation.
Lensman Arms Race: Curiously enough, an internal one. They're militarist hypercapitalists who take market competition very seriously. As a result, their weapons development progressed at an astonishing speed, and they're now the most advanced of the four empires despite their humble beginnings.
Long Range Fighter: Caldari battleships can reach out and touch you from up to two hundred kilometres away. They need to, as well, because their weapons' low damage-per-second means that if something harder-hitting gets close, they're in trouble.
Standard Human Spaceship: The Caldari design philosophy prioritises functionality and technological sophistication over all other concerns, especially comfort and aesthetics. As a result, their ships are ugly, boxy, asymmetrical, and fit this trope in all other ways... but are also amongst the most advanced in the setting, second only to the Jove Empire.
Stone Wall: If there's one thing you can say about Caldari ships, it's that they're good at not dying. Their massive electronic countermeasure suites mean that most things that want to shoot at them can't, their superb weapon range means that most things that do shoot at them won't hit anything, and their thick shields mean that most things that do hit them won't deal any meaningful damage. On the other hand, the poor damage-per-second of their railguns and missiles and their tiny drone bays mean that the enemy won't be dying that quickly, either.
Weak, but Skilled: The State is, on paper, the smallest and weakest of the four empires, but its technological excellence and ruthless efficiency let it punch way above its weight.
You Can't Go Home Again: Formerly a major factor in Caldari society, and one of the many reasons for the bad blood between the Caldari and Gallente. During the Gallente-Caldari War, Caldari Prime was blockaded and orbitally bombarded by the Federation. Most of the population managed to escape to Caldari colonies, but the Federation eventually landed surface forces; by the time the war ended Caldari Prime was firmly in Gallente hands. 190 years later, the Caldari Navy took advantage of the chaos surrounding the Elder War and retook Caldari Prime, leaving a Titan in orbit to ensure things stayed that way.
The Federation is not a defined region of space, of planets, of mountains, rivers, or woods. It is a vision.
— President of the Federation, Arlette Villers. CE 23154.6.2
Truth, justice, and apple pie IN SPACE!. They are descended from French colonists originally from the Tau Ceti system, who colonized the second planet in the Luminaire system, the same system that the Caldari were in. The planet of Gallente Prime saw a number of nations and empires come and go, including the maritime city-state of Hueromont and the Garoun Empire that created an artistic golden age for the Gallente people, its former capital of Caille still a marvel comparable to Paris. The Gallente established the inter-stellar Federation 300 years prior to the start of the game along with three other peoples, the Intaki, the Mannar and, reluctantly, the Caldari. The last of these seceded from the Federation in the Gallente-Caldari War 190 years ago, their corporatism clashing with the Federation's libertarian, democratic ideals. They're huge fans of liberty and majority rule, even if they struggle with the minority rights part sometimes.
Beware the Nice Ones: It's easy to write them off as friendly, cheerfully addled hedonists, because for the most part, that's what they are. However, they're also second only to the Amarr Empire in the size and strength of their military, make up the difference by being far more technologically advanced, and have a nasty streak of repressive, expansionist far-right nationalism that crops up at the most inopportune moments, meaning that getting on their bad side is both deeply inadvisable and much easier than one might hope.
Close Range Combatant: Nobody comes close to matching the Gallente in a point-blank knife-fight, which is why the standard tactic against them is to pick them apart at extreme long range... and pray the pilot you're up against isn't packing a microwarpdrive.
Crystal Spires and Togas: Justified with the Crystal Boulevard in Caille. Not only does it make for a fabulously picturesque display of wealth, but all that diamond serves as excellent protection against an orbital bombardment. Hence the government fallout bunker underneath it.
Day Of The Jackboot: The ultra-nationalist government during the first Gallente-Caldari War. And if stories like this are any indication, it looks to be heading in that direction once again in the aftermath of the second war.
Eagleland/United Space of America: Their system of government is blatantly based on that of the United States, and they're all about freedom and democracy. The people often veer into the more hedonistic variants of Type 2, though the government (at least under the last President, Souro Foiritan) tried to uphold the ideals represented by Type 1. But ultimately subverted in one major way; they're descended from the French.
Free-Love Future: A non-utopian version, with a heavy dose of Sex Sells and not completely without Moral Guardians. Nonetheless, the Gallente are the most "liberated" of the empires in this sense too. Rule 34 probably has a Gallente corollary: if there's porn of it, you can find it in the Federation, quite possibly displayed in public.
Glass Cannon: Can drift into this. Particle blasters are the most powerful guns in New Eden, but their extreme short range means the enemy can easily hit you as well. One way or another, a fight involving a Gallente ship will be over very, very quickly.
Jack Of All Stats: Standard fare for Gallente ships. With the proper skills, they can do anything, but can't match the individual specialties of the Amarr, Minmatar, and Caldari.
Lightning Bruiser: Not so much on paper - statwise, their ships are slower than the Minmatar Republic's, and some even drift into Mighty Glacier territory - but their extremely short-ranged playstyle provides a strong incentive for players to mod Gallente ships for as much speed as possible. As for the 'bruiser' part, particle blasters have the highest player-available damage per second in the game.
Organic Technology: Slightly more fond of it than the other empires, resulting in their ships' characteristically rounded, bulbous appearance.
Secret Police: The Special Department of Internal Investigations and Federal Security (SDII), aka the Black Eagles.
Shiny Looking Spaceships: Unlike the Amarr Empire, their sleek, gleaming ships reflect their modern, high-tech philosophy.
The Amarr Empire used to shine as a beacon to humanity of what it meant to be civilized: To be strong, and to lead by example. Through God's words we spread civilization throughout the stars and it is by our leadership that New Eden achieved its wings.
— 24th Imperial Crusade Recruiter
A theocratic empire descended from the Conformists, a splinter sect of the Catholic Church that settled on the planet Athra, now known as Amarr Prime. About 3,000 years ago, after a people called the Udorians arrived in the Amarrian homeland (an island roughly half the size of Ireland), the Amarr, in an attempt to suppress foreign subversive elements, launched the Reclaiming, essentially an effort to Take Over the World. From their oppressive capital city of Dam-Torsad, they conquered and enslaved the Udorian nations and the planet's other peoples, the only ones avoiding their military might (such as the Khanids) being those who allied with them. After they "reclaimed" Athra, they were the first to discover warp gates and faster-than-light travel, which allowed them to keep going beyond the stars and enslave other planets and peoples, such as the Ealurians and the Minmatar. Their expansionism came to a rapid halt, however, in the wake of their crushing defeat by the Jove, as well as the Minmatar's successful overthrow of their slaver masters. Generally well-meaning, though their definition of "doing good" includes a lot of slavery and theocracy.
Attack Drone: A popular secondary weapon - Amarr ships are second only to the Gallente Federation in drone capacity.
Bling Bling Bang: Their 'Golden Fleet' earned its name honestly, providing a striking contrast with the rusty, bodged-together ships of their Minmatar foes.
Church Militant: Formerly the M.O. of the entire Amarr Empire. A fair number of elements throughout their society and government retain this role to varying degrees, such as the Theology Council and the elite guard known as Paladins. Under Empress Jamyl I, the Amarr have been favoring ideological warfare, freeing masses of slaves who are considered sufficiently indoctrinated with Amarr beliefs, building schools and churches in the Ammatar Mandate instead of subjugating them with force, etc.
Crutch Character: Amarr ships are skill-light and easy to fit, meaning that even novice players can get some very solid performance out of them. However, their lack of versatility means that they have much less to offer veterans compared to other factions' more complex machines.
Knight Templar: The Empire sincerely believes it has a moral duty to bring the poor, misguided unbelievers of New Eden into the warm and loving embrace of God. It's just a pity for everyone else that the 'loving embrace' in question tends to be from the slave collar they clamp round your neck. After all, suffering is good for the soul...
Macross Missile Massacre: The Khanid Kingdom, a separatist-but-currently-friendly Amarrian splinter state with ties to the Caldari State, favour concentrated missile volleys rather than the usual Amarr Beam Spam.
Mighty Glacier: Their ships are the slowest in the four empires, but also the toughest, and their powerful, long-ranged laser barrages mean you can't just ignore them, either.
Shiny Looking Spaceships: Unusually, this does not represent how advanced Amarrian ships are, but how old-fashioned. Every vessel of the Imperial Navy is a work of art, a devotional relic gleaming with golden light and inscribed with delicate filigrees by the finest artisans. Just... try to ignore the terrifyingly cramped, dangerous, and unsanitary slave decks.
Taking You with Me: Standard operating procedure for Imperial Navy battlegroups. Also commonly used by players piloting Amarr battleships, which are too slow to get away from almost everything.
We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: Justified. They feel that forced labor helps to bring the "lesser" peoples closer to God. Also, their technology is kind of obsolete by the other empires' standards, though the odds on getting an Amarrian to admit to that are slim.
Zerg Rush: As the largest and most powerful of the empires, they're more than happy to use their vast slave armies' sheer size to their advantage.
The holder stood atop his tower and preached salvation to the baying horde of slaves below. In answer, Korgoth raised his fist and let out a roar of defiance. The throats of a thousand Minmatar joined him, tearing through the air in a wave of pure hatred.
— Battle of Ariti, "Tales of the Rebellion", Minmatar Archives
A tribal republic. The people on the tropical planet of Matar in the Pator system managed to build a small empire spreading across three star systems before they made their most unfortunate contact with the Amarr Empire. Conquered and enslaved for over seven hundred years, the Minmatar rebelled against their masters about 130 years ago, establishing the republic that exists today. When they're not fighting amongst themselves, they're usually staring daggers at the Amarrians, who still hold a significant portion of their population in slavery.
Abnormal Ammo: Minmatar guns have a wide selection of this, from regular slugs to phased plasma and even EMP rounds. As a result, they're amongst the most versatile weapons systems in the game.
Dark Is Not Evil: Minmatar ships are dark, spiky, rusted, and lit with ominous red highlights, making them look like they were slapped together out of leftovers from the forges of Mordor. However, they're actually one of the most heroic (or least evil, anyway) of the four empires.
Difficult, But Awesome/Magikarp Power: Minmatar ships are designed with versatility in mind. As a result, it takes a solid understanding of how the game works and a heavy skill (i.e., time) investment to get the most out of them. However, the results are usually considered to be worth it, and many (some would say most) of the most feared, respected, and sought-after ships in the game are of Minmatar design.
He Who Fights Monsters: The long war against the Amarr Empire hasn't done the Republic's moral compass any favours. They're still usually better than their foes, though, but only because you'd have to get really creative to match the worst of the Empire's excesses.
Lightning Bruiser: Minmatar heavy ships, as a consequence of being the most speed-oriented of the factions.
More Dakka: Employ old-fashioned slug-throwers rather than the fancy railguns, lasers, or particle blasters of the other empires.
Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: With the 'your' in this case referring to the Amarr Empire. Few costs are too great in the Republic's struggle to free the Matari people from slavery, especially when it's the other side that's paying.
"The explosive package that the boss told me to deliver to the Senate seems to have gone off in one of our cargo ships. The hold's contents are now drifting in the void, attracting scavengers of all sorts. To finish the mission, I will have to go to the installation in LN-56V and pick up a new device. The Senate's new order must be suppressed."
— Angel Ship Log 349584483
Imported Alien Phlebotinum: They had the good luck to set up shop in abandoned Jovian territory. It's the alleged source of their bizarre ships and meteoric rise to power.
Lightning Bruiser: As befitting Minmatar pirates with Jovian tech, Angel ships are tough, well-armed, and insanely fast.
More Dakka: In contrast to their sleek, high-tech ship designs, they favour primitive, Minmatar-style autocannons and artillery. See Schizo Tech below.
Schizo Tech: As a consequence of being relatively impoverished pirates turned into one of the galaxy's deadliest threats by Imported Alien Phlebotinum, they fly around in ships that mount both bleeding-edge Jovian tech and antiquated projectile-throwers.
The Cartel: Apart from just the name they fit this trope well with their dealings in drugs and Minmatar revolutionaries.
Bloody Omir ran away, Hiding from the light of day, Made a base out in the night, Far far from the Empire's might, Holders think they all are safe, Protected by the Emp'ror's grace, Silly people, they should know, You shall reap just what you sow, Bloody Omir's coming back, Monsters from the endless black, Wading through a crimson flood, Omir's come to drink your blood.
— Amarr Nursery Rhyme
The Sani Sabik are a collection of heretical sects rooted in the Amarrian faith, united by two beliefs: one, that certain people were destined for greatness, with others existing to serve them, and two, that these people could attain immortality by following Sani Sabik practices, one of which was the consumption of blood. Suppressed on Athra due to the threat that their beliefs posed to the Amarr Emperor's power, they rapidly expanded once the Amarr entered space, able to create colonies far away from the inquisitors. One group founded the Takmahl Empire, which reached great heights before collapsing under the weight of its religious practices, while others either reverted to primitivism or turned to piracy. One of the latter was the Blood Raiders, which takes the emphasis on blood to heights unseen by other Sani Sabik sects, engaging in kidnapping and "people farms" in order to have a steady supply of blood for their rituals.
Ax Crazy: Tend to be the least characterized of Pirate factions, with most of their actions attributed to their Religion of Evil.
Beam Spam: As Amarr pirates, they're naturally fond of this.
Cult: A derivative of the mainline Sani Sibik faction of the Imperial Faith, only with less reverence to the Emperor and more blood drinking.
Gradual Grinder: They specialise in using electronic warfare and energy-drainers to render their prey helpless, rather than just blasting them out of the sky as other factions do (though they're more than happy to do that as well).
Hollywood Satanism: With their kidnapping of children for ritual sacrifice, their "breeding" camps to ensure a steady supply of blood and sacrifices, and the nature of their beliefs, the Blood Raiders bear a number of surface similarities to the pop culture conception of Satanism, of both the '80s "Satanic Panic" variety and the pseudo-Nietzschean kind popularized by Anton LaVey.
"I can neither confirm nor deny the allegations that... what are we being accused of again, Rabbit?"
"This time? G-g-grand piracy, sixth-degree m-m-multiple-homicide, terrorism and littering, i-i-if I'm reading this right."
"Yeah, that. No comment."
— Jirai "Fatal" Laitanen and Korako "The Rabbit" Kosakami
Damaged Soul: Fatal after the Crielere incident. Due to a bad clone he suffered from acute memory loss and fine motor skill problems. His charming associates took the opportunity to oust him and send him into hiding.
Faux Affably Evil: Fatal, always quick with a smile or a joke while he undermines international stability for his own profit.
Do you know what you are, capsuleer? The truth will not comfort you. You are a frightened child running headfirst towards oblivion. And I? I am the only one who tried to stop you. I am the messiah that you turned against. You persecuted me, hunted my children. Vowed to burn my promised land to ash. Now I have returned, and I know you better than you know yourself. I will vanquish your fear, and commute your flesh to dust.
— Sansha Kuvakei
A "utopia" created by Mad Scientist Sansha Kuvakei, dependent on zombie-like "True Slaves" for its labor force. The four empires objected to these monstrosities, and in a unique show of solidarity, united against The Nation, reduced it to remnants of its former self and killed Sansha. Or did they?
A God Am I: See the above quote to get an idea of the soaring vistas of megalomania Sansha has reached.
Back from the Dead: Sansha, or someone claiming to be him has begun posting on the in-character "Gal Net" forums, and Sansha activity is on the rise.
Cult: While his true slaves don't get much of a choice in their worship, true citizens and many outside groups idolize Sansha's utopian dream.
Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: "True Slaves"; those citizens who have been cybernetically Brainwashed in just such a way that they retain all the creativity of a normal person, but have the unrelenting obedience of a machine.
Enemy Mine: When Sansha's Nation attacks, everyone retaliates.
The "undesirables," criminals, and dissidents, heavily modified via cybernetics. Despite being completely obedient and wholly devoted to the nation, they still possess have sufficient capacity for creativity and independent thought to be extremely dangerous opponents.
and True Citizens*
The people the nation was supposed to appeal to- artists, intellectuals, philosophers, and so forth. With the more mundane tasks of life falling to the True Slaves, the True Citizens would be free to live out their dreams.
Wetware CPU: How True Slaves are placed in their zombie-like state and used as ship pilots.
Zerg Rush: In keeping with its Zombie Apocalypse vibe, Sansha's Nation is very fond of drowning its foes in legions of True Slaves. If you see one Nation vessel, expect a couple of dozen more to arrive shortly.
Zombie Apocalypse: Cyber Zombie Apocalypse occurs whenever they take a populated planet. They are also the only faction the four main empires have ever united against.
The DED has been making some inquiries into our operations in the Erme system. We're making inquires into how much the agents value their families' well-being.
— Anonymous Serpentis Employee
A drug syndicate with close ties to Angel Cartel and the Intaki Syndicate. They are the primary enemies in Gallente space.
Even Evil Has Standards: When the stellar flares tied to the appearance of wormholes at the beginning of Apocrypha slagged the Gallente planet of Seylin I, Salvador Serpati sent freighters of medical supplies to the system. The Gallente president and CONCORD admiral made it clear they wouldn't be giving him any return favors for it but the three of them agreed to the temporary truce needed to bring them in anyway.
Lightning Bruiser: Serpentis security forces use heavily modified Gallente hulls. That Vindicator? You can be sure its closing in with eight neutron blasters and a stasis web for the Eve equivalent of a knife fight.
Palette Swap: Their ships are black and gray hued Gallente ships.
The Chase: A world event focusing on Serpentis CEO Salvador Sarpati, who had the alloyed tritanium balls to hijack a Titan.
The Syndicate: They control much of organized crime in Gallente space. They also have influence in the region of 0.0 space called The Intaki Syndicate, which was set up by Intaki exiles who sympathized with the Caldari during the first Gallente-Caldari war.
A strange group of people who may not quite meet the strictest definition of "human" anymore, the Jove emerged from the collapse of the Eve Gate nearly unscathed, and soon after embraced genetic engineering to "perfect" the human race. However, their genetic experiments produced a debilitating illness, the "Jovian Disease", that drives its victims into a deep depression that ends in suicide. While harmless to non-Jovians, this disease crippled the Jove and their empire. Their highly advanced technology meant that they were still a force to be reckoned with, though, defeating the Amarr in a Curb-Stomp Battle that shattered their illusion of invincibility.Since then, the Jove have retreated off to their own corner of the galaxy, closing all jump gates to their territory, their only contact with the outside world being through the Society of Conscious Thought (known outside Jove space for its elite university system) and their famously advanced spy network. They also gave capsule technology to the other empires.
Death By Despair: Their attempts to control their own emotions and limit their aggressive instincts led to the 'Jovian Disease', a psychological disorder that involved vast swathes of their population simply giving up on life.
Path of Inspiration: The Society of Conscious Thought is strongly suspected to be one. They present themselves as a benevolent, non-partisan religious and philosophical organisation, and they've done a lot of good for New Eden, but their operatives have been linked with some deeply sinister experiments, they have a Secret War going with the Saintly Church of the Servant Sisters of Eve, and they used to be essentially the shadow-government of the Jove Empire, before the other factions kicked them out. There's little, if any, concrete proof of anything, but...
Space Elves: Long-lived, stagnant, melancholy, and massively technologically advanced... yep, they fit.
Transhuman Aliens: They can barely even be considered tangentially human by this point.
An enigmatic race whose ruined stations and bizarre structures occupy Wormhole Space. The only contact with them has been through their drones, millennia-old robots that use cunning tactics against those who would trespass around the now-defunct Sleeper stations. Unlike the Jove, it's not even known if the Sleepers are, or were ever, human. Apparently, they were in contact with yet another extinct race known as the Talocan.
Attack Drone: Pretty much the closest to any (confirmed) contact anyone's ever had with them. Not a very friendly bunch, evidently.
Human Popsicle: One piece of CCP's artwork for the Sleepers shows literally hundreds of what appear to be cryochambers crammed on the walls, floor, and ceiling of the inside of a small room on a Sleeper station. Apparently they are also very good with efficient use of space.
Lotus-Eater Machine: It is noted that the Sleepers were masters of Virtual Reality technology, some of which can still be scavenged from their stations and drones.
Abusive Precursors: Some of their technology is not only far more advanced than any of the Empires', but it is also far, far older. They're also not very nice to wormhole explorers.
The Plague: Given how many of their drones appear to be guarding 'quarantined' stations, it seems that some variation of this may have affected their civilization.
Ragnarok Proofing: Functiong technology that is thousands of years old? Check. Said technology has been exposed to the rigors of space, including radiation, micrometeors, etc. for that period of time? Check. That said, their stations have not held up quite as well as their drones, although some of their stations are still broadcasting stupidly massive amounts of information concerning... something.
Extremely little is known about this race. Apparently they were masters of Spatial Manipulation and Hypereuclidian Mathematics (whatever that may mean). What's left of their ships and structures are occasionally found floating around, guarded by the Sleepers and under quarantine for some reason. Rumor has it that some of their ships can still be found in at least a semi-functional state.
Precursors: Not as abusive as the Sleepers, due primarily to the fact that all of the Talocan seem to be dead and their equipment non-functional.
The Plague: It seems that the Talocan were wiped out by some sort of plague, given that their ruins are all under a (millenia-old) quarantine by the Sleepers.
Perhaps the most mysterious of the current races, the Enheduanni, also known as "The Order", are a race that have mutated so much as to no longer be considered human. They are bent on manipulating the four great Empires into a devastating war, directing the course of history to suit their own interests. All that is known for certain is that they have a complete understanding of the human brain, and that they are utter masters of genetic manipulation, particle science, and quantum physics, far beyond the understanding of even the Jove. With whom, incidentally, they are at war. All that is known about them comes from a single Jovian, so who knows what the truth may be.
A God Am I: The Enheduanni have grown so powerful and old that they have begun to believe this of themselves.
The Chessmaster: It is hinted that one of their sleeper agents is responsible for the liberation of the Minmatar from the Amarr.
Manchurian Agent: They make extensive use of artificially-grown agents, given full memories and none the wiser to their true masters. Upon activation, undetectable nanomachines in their bodies give them nigh superhuman abilities and the irresistible drive to accomplish their objective, even if they don't fully understand it.