EVE Online has a free expansion that CCP Games hopes to deploy tomorrow, June 21, 2011. Incarna as an expansion is introducing a host of new features and changes, but most importantly is the first iteration of character avatar gameplay.
As touched on at E3, CCP will be adding Captain's Quarters to each space station in the game. The Captain's Quarters will allow players to exit their space ship and admire it as their own humanoid avatar--created when first starting out in the game.
"The Captain's Quarters are a seat of power, a hub of information and a quiet sanctuary for a pilot looking to relax a bit," says CCP Games. The Incarna iteration will allow players to interact with the various features of the game just as they did prior to the expansion.
Coming along with the new avatar system is one CCP Games dubs the "New New Player Experience"--a completely revamped starting experience that the studio hopes will help to ease players into the game while also smoothing out the learning curve.
Incarna is the first step, with many more updates to the avatar system planned in future patches and expansions. CCP Games prides itself on iterative development, and so far it's paid off for the company.
If you want to check out the patch notes in advance of the release, you can find them here.