Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DUST from Iceland

Yeah, the blog title is unoriginal.  Sue me.  ;-)

The first devblog specifically related to DUST 514 has been posted.  Speaking as a communications professional and someone who loves reading between the lines, there were so many interesting references in this release.

Let's take this:
You turn on your PS3, and launch DUST 514. You choose the character you created before, and log onto our servers.
A lot of other people have said this too, and I agree with them: I can't help thinking PS3 exclusivity was a massive mistake.  DUST 514 should have been ported as widely as possible.  Since the quote specifically states that you'll be using "[CCP's] servers", that says to me that the challenge of linking PS3 players and Xbox 360 players wasn't technical, but on the business side.  Either Microsoft proved too difficult to work with for some reason, or Sony offered some kind of incentive to CCP to make DUST PS3-exclusive.  It's unlikely that the question of why this choice was made will ever be answered.

The other question this raises is whether there's a future now for Planetside 2, which was gently announced by Sony back in September 2009.  The answer would now seem to be "no."  Still, there's not going to be any lack of competition.  I count at least four other major persistent shooters released or close to release this year, including Fallen Earth and FireFall.

Next, there's this:
You worked hard getting there, training the right skills and acquiring all the right blueprints.
This says to me that DUST will follow a very EVE-like model for skill training.  I wrote about upper limits in leveling the other day.  Every game with a physical avatar has these upper limits, but as I mentioned, EVE does not.  Will DUST?  That's going to be a key question.  The second clause indicates strongly that market purchases are going to be a key element of the game as well.  The implication here is that items that are destroyed are destroyed permanently and have to be rebuilt using blueprints.  That is common in EVE, of course, but not at all common in avatar-based MMOs.  Is this similar to the gold penalty I'm told that WoW players pay if they're killed in PvP?  Or is it more similar to the massive infrastructure that has to be built for a player to be competitive in EVE PvP?

EDIT (8/Jun/2011): Yeah, they're definitely using the EVE skill model.  More in my next post.

This raises a second interesting question which is related.  The notes also mention a "preferred fit", which again echoes EVE language in ship fittings.  Presumably, this means that you're going to have to purchase blueprints for a lot of different fits...

Here's something else that jumped out at me:
With DUST 514 we intend to provide an open setting and give players the tools to define and be part of the experience. We do this instead of spoon-feeding the player, as is the case with "theme park" games where everything is a directed experience and an individual’s impact and influence on the world is minimal.
This says pretty clearly that there will be no or very limited PvE in DUST.  In the past, CCP has talked about there being a PvE element to DUST wherein players could participate in faux battles in faction warfare as one of the four major EVE races.  This would appear to now be off the table.  Not providing "directed content" is also an EVE choice and means that CCP is going to be relying on DUST players to provide the stories and the drama.

Then there's this:
EVE Online players can join DUST 514 corps. Likewise, DUST 514 players can join EVE Online corporations.
That one is going to have a number of impacts all across EVE.  How many EVE players judge the threat of a potentially hostile EVE Online corporation by the number of members that it has?  Some of those numbers are likely to become wildly inflated after a free-to-play game allows hundreds of thousands of PS3 owners to sign up for EVE corps.  This will also probably prompt a lot more churn from EVE players switching corps, either looking to escape hundreds of PS3 players on their corp's comm channels, or who are fooled into joining corps that appear more active than they actually are, due to the same hundreds of members listed in their corp information, but not actually active in EVE.

It also raises the question of how EVE players and DUST players will communicate audibly.  So far as I'm aware, there isn't a version of Teamspeak for the PS3.  ;-)  So presumably, CCP assumes that this will happen via EVE voice.

The whole economy section is also interesting to me.  Here's the money quote:
DUST 514 will, as EVE Online does, have a dynamic virtual economy and market that offers the tools that will give you a competitive edge, when used skillfully.
First, notice the phrase that isn't there: "player-driven."  As in, maybe the economy is going to be player-driven, but I think it's more likely that it's going to be game-driven.  There doesn't seem to be any real information here about crafting yet, something that was promised for Incarna, but only vaguely hinted at for DUST.  Looks like it won't be making the first release.  Second, that phrase "competitive edge" seems to be code for "you can use RL money to buy better weapons, vehicle, armor, et cetera."  So it's likely that there are going to be more and less successful mercenary companies in DUST, depending on how big their RL bankroll is.  The Pandemic Legion of DUST will be interesting to find: having a lot of disposable income does not generally travel hand-in-hand with having a lot of twitch gaming skill, and vice versa.  ;-)

So, lots of interesting stuff here!  And the DUST 514 website now has quite a bit of content.  I'm going to go through some of it now and see if I find anything else that jumps out at me...

5 comments:

  1. Point of interest: the "gold penalty" in WoW is for PvE death, not PvP death. You sustain durability loss to your equipment any time you take damage (PvE or PvP), but that amount is negligible when compared to the loss you sustain from PvE death. PvP death has no such loss.

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  2. I was also dissapointed by the PS3 exclusivity deal. I have a 360 and several PCs and no interest in a PS3, especially not for a single game. Hopefully they'll come to their senses and at least make a PC/Mac release. Frankly I think they would have been better off entering a partnership with Hi-Rez and using GA to simulate assaults on planetary facilities, it is nearly a perfect fit. I suppose they likely had too much work completed on Dust to scrap it all tho.

    Re: WoW gold penalty. Unless things have changed in the last 4 months since I stopped playing, there is no gold penalty for a PvP death. When you are slain in PvP you suffer either loss of time if you run to retrieve your body, or a temporary stat debuff if you choose to ressurect at the graveyard. If you are killed very frequently, a respawn timer is imposed that requires you to sit out for a few seconds to several minutes before you can come back to life. PvP scenarios have an additional feature at the graveyard that respawns all players waiting at it every 30s or so with no penalty.

    The gold penalty occurs when you are slain in PvE, which causes damage to your equipment, which must then be repaired at the cost of game currency lest it become useless.

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  3. Just to get your information about WoW and the mentioned "death penalty" straight:

    In general, it works as followed:
    When dying in PvE content, you will take a 10% durability loss on your armor and end up as a ghost at a spirit healer. When dying in PvP, there is no such initial durability loss.
    You then end up as a ghost at a nearby spirit healer. You can either walk back to your corpse, resurrect and you're done, or resurrect at your spirit healer. The last option will end in a 25% durability hit on all carried items.
    You have to repair your items at a NPC, paying gold.
    Additionally, the durability decreases slowly when being in combat.
    However, comparing the amount of gold one can easily earn to the amount of gold it costs to repair the armor, I wouldn't call it a "penalty". For that, it is way too cheap. It is more like a minor gold sink and a reason one has to remember to visit a NPC for repairs regulary.

    If you are interested in the details, you might want to check out the following links:
    - http://www.wowpedia.org/Durability#Durability_loss
    - http://www.wowpedia.org/Death

    Regarding DUST, I'm also concerned about this PS3-exclusive-thingy. I suppose, that CCP wants DUST as an addition to EvE that will stay there for years. With this consideration, I think limiting to only (one) consoles is a major issue. The PS3 isn't new anymore. It will eventually be superseded by a new generation. Will players stay with the PS3? Or change to newer, shinier games on a new console? The hardware of the PS3 is fixed, so CCP don't have the option to make a major graphics update to add a "now more shinier"-tag on it, like they did with EvE.
    It'll be interesting to see how it'll work out. I personally hope that it'll work out, because I think no EvE player wants CCP to lose a bunch of money on new projects. In the end, this may backlash to the development of EvE.

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  4. Thanks for the corrections regarding WoW death. As I said, I don't know a lot about it. ;-)

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  5. None of the things, like creating your own content, skill leveling by time (?) etc sound like something the average console player would be interested in.

    I could be wrong ofc !

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