I had a similar post to this around a year ago, but it got lost, so I am recreating it for the MMO subforum. My goal here is to give a basic overview for those unfamiliar with game, who have either just started or are interested in playing, and want to know what all these terms mean and how they affect the game. This is a big series of posts so bear with me.
First things first. I am assuming you've played the tutorial, learned how to fly a ship, done the missions, etc... I'm also assuming you are roughly aware of what EVE is. So what now? You've got a ship, a little bit of cash, and no direction. Now you get to decide what you want to do!
There a couple categories of things to do in EVE. Let's review them a bit.
Blow stuff up! There's a LOT of fighting going on in EVE at all times. You can just wander around asteroid belts in lower-sec systems killing rats, or run combat missions, clear a deadspace complex, or fight other players in a war or as a pirate. Of course, they can attack you too. Bounties, loot, and salvage can make this very profitable indeed.
Manufacture goods for fun and profit. Buy a blueprint, get some ore, and rent out a manufacturing bay somewhere. Then sell your goods on the market. Almost anything that players use in the game can be made by players.
Buy low, sell high. Get a bigass transport ship, haul goods from station to station. Can be very profitable if you know the market. Risky too, as an unguarded hauler in low-sec space is a tempting target.
Point mining laser at rock. Wait. Drop ore at station. Repeat. Process and sell, or use for manufacture. That's about it. Boring but you can make a lot of money, especially in 0.0
The newest thing to do. Grab a small ship and head out into the black, searching for lost and hidden treasure. It involves dropping scan probes at various points in a system, looking for interesting signals. As you close in, you'll need more accurate probes. Results can vary from hidden asteroid fields, complexes, or just floating ruins that you can unlock and find tasty loot in.
So now that you've read that, think about what sounds fun to you. Set yourself a goal. Maybe you want to fly a giant battleship and fight in a war. Maybe you like slowly accumulating massive wealth via the market. Maybe find hidden spots in the inky cold of space. Whatever your goal is, once you know it, you can start training the skills to get you there.
Defintions/info to know:
Attributes - Perception, Willpower, Intelligence, Charisma, Memory. This is not WOW. These stats will not affect how fast your ship goes, how much damage your weapons do, or how much money you make when trading. Skills do all that. Attributes determine how fast you learn those skills.
CPU/Grid - Two limited resources that vary based on what ship you are flying. Most equipment takes some combination of CPU and Power Grid. The more you have of each, the more and/or higher quality equipment you can install into your ship.
Capacitor - Cap is life. REMEMBER THAT. Without cap energy your ship won't do much. Your weapons can't fire, your tank won't hold, and you can't warp. (With some exceptions, projectiles don't take cap to fire)
Capacitor Regen - I mention this seperately for a reason. Capacitor energy regenerates at a fixed rate. Your capacitor will recharge, from zero to full, in a set amount of time that does not change. This means the more cap you have, total, the more energy will recharge every tick, which in effect increases your regen. Some equipment can also reduce the time this takes/regen per tick.
Shields - An energy shield that protects your ship from damage. Shields regenerate the same way cap does.
Armor - Plating that takes damage after shields are gone.
Structure - The final line of defense. When structure is gone, your ship explodes and you are ejected into your pod. Doesn't last terribly long either. If you are taking structure damage, you should be getting the hell out of there.
Tanking - The ability to survive or mitigate damage. In EVE that generally means boosting shields with more energy or using an armor repairer so as to not run out of shields/armor. In larger ships, resistances come into play.
Tackling - Hitting someone with warp scramblers and stasis webs to keep them from flying and warping away while you or someone else shoots them. Often done in small, cheap frigates that orbit the target at high speed (harder to hit).
Damage Types - There are four types of damage in EVE. EM, Thermal, Kinetic, and Explosive. EM will do the most damage to shields, whereas Explosive is most effective on armor. Thermal and Kinetic are a bit more balanced, but each leans one way or the other.