Earth and Beyond Online is a new MMORPG by Westwood Studios, based on a sci-fi theme. The game is currently undergoing beta testing. Instead of the other MMORPG formats, which usually consist of moving a character (walking) through a game world, casting spells to kill things, etc., in this game, you control a starship. Your character can fly from sector to sector, landing on planets and starbases.

There are three races, the Terrans, the Jenquai, and the Progen. The character classes are Tradesman (usually Terran), Explorer (usually Jenquai), and Warrior (usually Progen). Based on your character class, you have different missions. Tradesman cart goods from one sector to another, profiting from their sales. Explorers prosper by exploring the galaxy and mining asteroids for minerals. Progen blow stuff up and loot the remains.

Here is a brief excerpt from the background story from the game (quoted from Westwood):

"The age of the Universe has been estimated at more than 15 billion years. The oldest stars humankind has been able to chart are dim Red Dwarfs, some of them ten billion years old. When the first Ancient Gate was discovered on the fringes of Sol, the human race had no idea that it was merely one of many Gates - countless Gates - that spanned the galaxy. The Gates had linked those ancient Red Dwarfs when they were viable, younger stars, bestowing life on civilizations that flourished and declined before the formation of Earth, itself."

The rest of the story can be read on Westwood's web site. The game is currently accepting applications for beta testers. If you are accepted as a tester, you get to play for free during the beta period. At the end of the beta period, the game will have a monthly fee (which Westwood has not yet determined).