You have the liberty to choose what ship you want to pilot, what sort of roles you want, and what you want to accomplish. You can get rich in any number of ways such as mining asteroids (and selling the refined minerals), building ships and modules (buying blueprints, minerals, and other resources off the player market or from your own acquisition), hunt NPC's for a living, be a pirate and extort money from people, sell transportation services, and the list goes on. The liberty which CCP gives the players is unparalleled in any other game. Examples of these include the lack of a defining storyline, which makes most of the storyline based on actual player alliances, or written by fan-fiction authors or role-playing characters. Somewhere in this article i'm sure someone will reference the Corp thefts performed by a espionage-oriented corp. On http://www.escapistmagazine.com/issue/25/3, you can read how a corporation actually mimicked a real-life corporate IPO in order to finance a very expensive project, complete with shares and stock value. There are dozens of ships for each class (which can be piloted by other classes, too), hundreds of skills (which certain ships and modules require at varying levels), and many hundreds of modules, possible setups, and tactics.
The game really is what you want to make out of it. If you want to escape the fairies and wizards paradigm, desire developers who play their own game (and are addicted!), capped-shards, simple markets, and (most importantly) the direct plot control of the developers, EVE will definitely take you for a ride. I came from Earth and Beyond, and am kicking myself for not trying it out earlier. There is a fairly sharp learning curve, but if you want something besides a boring grind, rewards come to those who like challenges. I'd recommend to ignore the posts of those who never joined a corp, only played a trial period, or who have only heard from other players, because they don't have the faintest idea what they have missed, or what's changed since they left.
And no, i'm not getting paid. Is your MMO good enough that you would write a long post about it on slashdot? Mine is.