Now that DUST 514 closed beta is over and open beta has begun, I want to put something out there, and I'll make it quick.
I'm not going to be playing DUST 514.
I obviously have no objections to the genre. I like FPS MMOs and there's a whole set of guides to one of them that I played a lot off to the right. I'm going to be looking for another one to play and I will probably give Planetside 2 a try.(1) And I have no objections to the platform: the choice of the PS3 hardware didn't bother me very much, and I expect DUST to migrate to the PC in due course in any case. I have no objections to the F2P plus micro-transactions model. It's built into DUST's design from the ground up and the system for advancement within the game that CCP has chosen makes sense to me. And finally, I have no objection to the basic design of the game. I think the idea of ground troops, ground vehicles, and air vehicles in the same MMO fighting over persistent objectives linked to the EVE Online universe is every bit as revolutionary as CCP thinks it is.
But I do object to and I have no interest in the underlying mechanics of the game itself.
Nowhere was this made more starkly clear to me than when, as I was demonstrating DUST to a friend, he started complaining about the sniper rifles. "You can't hit with the damn things," he said. "It takes too long for the reticle to turn red and you miss if it isn't." I explained to him that such things were governed by the DUST 514 skill system and that there was a skill that you trained that would cause the reticle to speed up.
His reply? "Ugh."
That was it. And yet I knew exactly what he meant.
And I have to admit that I kinda had "what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity" at that point. Do I really want to go through all of this again? Do I really want to spend years training skills that make character skill catch up to player skill? Do I really want to watch the parade of super-rich, super-capable DUST players who have been playing for years and have a hundred hours a month to put into this just roll the newbies night after night? Do I really want to argue with people who've been "playing DUST since beta" and therefore demand that everyone one else kowtow to their opinion of what the game's about? Even if I have the opportunity to be one of "those guys" with whatever the DUST equivalent of a blap Titan turns out to be or could knock a dread out of orbit, do I really want to?
Yeahno. Not interested. I'm already playing one game where it takes a half-decade before I feel like I'm being successful. I'll stick to games where I can hit the top of the curve in four or five months instead of four or five years for the rest, thanks. ;-)
I'll still keep an eye on DUST 514 and if something comes up in the game's meta or mechanics that I think is interesting, I may write about it. I'll also probably mention stuff that I think EVE should steal from DUST from time to time (let's start with their skill point system!). But that'll be the extent of my involvement. Just thought you should know.
(1) Though PS2 also strikes me as the sort of game that you'd have to play seriously or not at all. I suspect I'll try it for a while, then pass on it for something more casual.