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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I want to do it all again

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.


  1. Being a playstation only game already precludes me from playing DUST as I do not own a PS nor do I ever intend to (a subrant of this is that I blame the console crowd for killing the competitive FPS genre from the heyday of Unreal Tournament 99 and Quake 3 to the obnoxious state of dying more to random shit falling from the sky than from other players guns. No CoD player has a concept of map/item control, nor rocket jumping uphill through fucking lava to get to school. /rant).

    I'm sure their game designers have already asked themselves the balancing questions about how the variety of weapons get unlocked and damage applied to other players. I find my feelings on it similar to yours in that I don't want to play yet another game of Skill Training Online just to catch up to my personal skills with an FPS in the unlikely event DUST is ever ported to the PC.

  2. Honestly, that is just a silly complaint and I expected better of you. Why in the world would you want to play a game where you can hit end game in a few months? That is a receipe for failure - it means that folks will burn out and move on - unless of course ccp is able to continue to grind out new content which will be consumed just as fast - putting dust on a treadmill that cannot be kept up with by any company.

    1. I looked at DUST and decided that I don't want to have to play it for three years before I can be a valuable member of the team, that's all.

      With an FPS MMO, I want to get in, pick some gear, and start shooting at people. I don't want to deal with suit/vehicle fittings, whether I've trained for this or that gun, or whether I have enough skill points to join a mercenary corp. I have all of those things with EVE. Why do I need them with another game?

    2. personal preference is one-thing but you make it seem as if it is a defect in dust when in actuality it is designed to prolong interest in the game. There are many fps out there - almost all of them burn out in 5 months or so and everyone then moves on to the new fotm. If dust is to be successful and stay relevant it needs things like a prolonged skill tree.

    3. Quake 1, 2 and 3 doesn't have end game, you play and play and play and I remember playing for hours everyday, no skills, no market, and was fun as hell.

      New FPS players doesn't know NOTHING about that.

    4. Isn't it an argument being made for EVE, when it fits the purpose of the speaker, that even a noob pilot can be a valuable member of ANY group in less than a month ?! Haven't you written so as well at some occasion ?

      Why should DUST be any different or even faster in that regard ?

      And to comment on Anonymous : the end game will not (only) be defined by the number of SP. It is not in EVE and it will not in DUST. Example ? The Mittani initially grew his fame as a spy; I don't see any in-game SP requirements for that.

    5. Quake 1, 2 and 3 are basically dead as games. Whereas eve is still growing 10 years after the fact. So yea, people played quake 1, 2, and 3 for hours but then they burnt out and the games died. Eve on the other hand had a system to prolong its playability. Its no knock against dust that it wants to be something more then your typical fps 5 month wonder.

  3. This coming from someone without access to a PS3 and no knowledge of Dust:

    They made an FPS with Eve like skill training? The "put in skill, then wait a loooong time" type of training?

    Seriously? Oh dear.

    1. Not quite like that. Skill points go into a pool that you then use to train up skills. There is no skill queue. Skill points build up over time like in EvE but you also get skill points for playing in matches (up to a daily cap atm).

      It's not as bad as Jester makes it out to be. I routinely kill players with equipment that is better than mine, and get killed by players with worse equipment.

      It's all about situational awareness. If you get the drop on someone, you're far more likely to kill them no matter how good their equipment is.

    2. You get as many points for playing matches as you do for eve-like skill training. When Jesters says that EVE would be fine with a DUST aproach to skill training, I think he is thinking about how in DUST you get unallocated skillpoints for training, and then place them in whole levels of skill.

    3. Not exactly - in Dust you accumulate raw SP that you can then spend to instantly buy a level in a skill. I'm not sure if it has passive gain-over-time SP like EVE does, but I know players get rewarded with a chunk of raw SP for participating in a battle, with more or less based on their performance (winning side gets a bonus, I think players who contribute more with things like capping etc also get more than those who don't).

      However like EVE most in-game activities will be heavily affected by player skills, including things like damage, weapon accuracy and recoil absorption so there are significant advantages to veterans over new players even with the same gear, and of course for something like sniping where your accuracy is very important, even if the player has high skill if their character doesn't they'll be kind of screwed.

    4. Qvar: yes, you've got it exactly. If I had my way, attributes in EVE would be abolished and all EVE players would just accumulate the same amount of SP over time which would be spent on skills. Simplify! Simplify!

  4. For someone that wants to be a future CSM, I find your post to be pretty uninspiring.

    Dust514, if done well, could have really deep, interesting and positive effects on ALL of New Eden.

    A disinterested CSM candidate isn't going to help that process.

    Talk to Hans about getting a clue.

    1. The CSM deals with the DUST/EVE *link*, which is a very different thing which I'm quite happy to participate in and offer my views on. But unless I'm completely mistaken, the CSM has not been invited to offer input into DUST 514 itself, nor will they. It's the Council of *Stellar* Management.

      I assume that in due course if the CSM adds enough value, CCP will have a Council of Planetary Management, too. I'm not and won't be running for a position on that. ;-)

  5. "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?"

    If you think not having a time-based advancement system would prevent this one iota, Jester, you are living in a fantasy world.

    1. I have yet to run into a game that has this disease to the level that EVE does sometimes. I've literally been told by people that my opinions have no merit because I haven't been playing EVE for enough years yet.

    2. Mate, I've been playing for nine years and I still get told that. ~Nam

    3. Every single MMO has this disease in the high level raiding enviroment (if that game has one). Only reason it seems more prevelant in EvE is because every player has the SP amount tied to himself and that indicates how long youve played for the most part, if its one of your main characters we're talking about.

      EvE is too in depth of a game for someone playing 4 or 5 months to even get close to fully understanding how it all works. I look forward to an FPS that will take me longer to master, as I burnout on current ones like COD once it becomes a game of "grind more prestige"

  6. Makes me wonder about the possible success of Dust 514. From the little I played of the beta, the sense of scope and persistence seemed to be missing. I really hope CCP can knock this one out of the park.

  7. I don't play PS2 seriously. Log in for awhile, get a few kills, and move on. It's surprisingly more relaxed than Global Agenda was.

    Most of that stems from the fact that I can leave whenever I want. In GA if a match slogged on and I had to leave I felt like I was letting the team down. In PS2 if I gotta go, I gotta go. There are a few hundred other people around to pickup my slack.

    It's just log in, go to a hot spot, shoot people, and move on.

    1. There is a downside though, PS2 doesn't have a sense of.. "Community" is probably the best catch-all term. There is grouping, guilds, and all the bullet points. But it doesn't gel into a whole because it's so chaotic and most players, even if they are all at the same base capture point, don't act as a cohesive force beyond their class roles. I'm sure there are some outfits who act as more than just a blob, I just haven't ran into them personally yet.

    2. It is nice to jump in and play.
      But you do get out of it what you put in.
      Playing with a group really helps it become more than just shooting people.

    3. The really addictive part of PS2 is you are viable as a complete noob dropped on the planet that first time but the upgrades and certs make you want to get them for additional mayhem and fun --- not to simply be a viable team member.

    4. Its real bad news for SOE and PS2. The game was intended to retain people and keep them interested. It's failing for exactly the reason you are interested in it. An interesting observation, if nothing else.

    5. I think it's all about joining the right outfit.
      The outfit I joined was useless and didn't organise anything. But I've joined platoons run by outfits that have proper coordinate armor, air and infantry squads and its a lot more engaging and fun.

  8. You know SP is supposed to factor into casual matchmaking (not corp battles) in DUST, right?

  9. I am a 08 eve player and was invited to the closed closed beta something like 3 builds before they gave eve players codes. I was really excited about the way the game was looking and the grandness of battles. Since then tho it feels like a slow decline into failure as ccp cuts chops and hacks game mechanic's that the fps console puppy's form rage over. Then it hit me. They are not making this game for me. And jester I think you hit the nail on the head. This game is not for Eve players. Its not. So it should be no suprize the eve players don't like it. And I'm fine with that. The only thing that I can hope is that the people they ARE making this game for play it. And micro transaction the hell out of it. The other question I have is are you going to be covering the connection from an eve point if view and what u think its effects are on eve, and ccp as those effects become apparent to you?

  10. Wait, so why shouldn't all of us Eve newbies say the same thing about Eve?

  11. I have a PSTriple sitting there unplugged (got a Bluray player with my new computer so there's no real need for the PS3 anymore). I'm not even bothering to plug it back in and try the DUST Beta for a couple of reasons:

    - I'm not a big fan of FPS games
    - I dislike most of the online FPS crowd (omg xbox live voice chat...)
    - When I play FPS, it's mostly for short sessions / instant action type stuff, having a skill system overlaid on top just makes it frustrating because you are never good enough (in-game skill wise) to accomplish what you want to do. Carrot-on-a-stick formula doesn't quite work with the genre.
    - I kinda want Dust to fail so that CCP crawls back to putting their ressources back in EVE, but at the same time if Dust catches on, it could also mean good things for EVE... hard to choose a stance on this one.

  12. Like eve, you get the most out of ps2 by being in an outfit. An organized large outfit. Sturmgredier like :)

  13. This post raises a pretty big, important question, so forgive me if I bust out a little geek philosophy of my own here. You say that you wouldn't want to play another game where skill training is based in real time, where players have to train for years in some cases to get certain gear or fulfil certain roles, where there will be constant drama between the old, rich Dusties and newer players. That's definitely a fair perspective and I'm sure many EVE players would agree with you.

    But it certainly begs the question "Why do people start playing EVE in the first place?" Are they just ignorant of what EVE is really all about, and by the time they do figure it out they're too sucked in to quit?

    I started playing EVE just over a year ago, so I'm still very much in the stages of the game where there are plenty of things I can't do and plenty of ships I can't fly. But I did a TON of research before I started playing the game. I started reading guides, articles, wikis, blogs, whatever else I could find about EVE almost a full year before I ever downloaded the demo. I think this is probably not typical of new EVE players, so I probably had a much better idea of what I was getting myself into than many other newbies do.

    I believe some time last year you wrote a blog post that basically asked the question "If you could start all over in EVE from scratch (no alts, etc.), would you?" or the similar question "If everyone in EVE had to start over from scratch, would you do that?" I remember reading through the comments and being astonished at the responses. Hardly anyone answered "yes" to the first question, and, while the responses to the second question were more mixed, IIRC a lot of people said they wouldn't start over even if everyone else had to also. (I can't find the post that I'm referring to right now; could you point me to the link?)

    If the grind through the newbie stages of EVE is so grating and annoying that many vets look at it and say "I would never do that again," then what the hell made them do it the first time around? What does it say about EVE that many of its oldest, most dedicated players would rather quit the game entirely than start over from day one in a Velator?

    I don't have answers to these questions, but I think they're extremely pertinent considering one of CCP's most important goal in the next decade is attracting brand new EVE players.

  14. In a world of great shooters, something that feels /wrong/ until you get levels up in a few %s simply won't be competitive.

    I don't even like call of duty, but their core mechanics are RIGHT. DUST doesnt play well long enough for me to give a shit about the underwhelming metagame. Say what you will about the potential (it could be cool to nuke people from orbit) but potential shouldn't be a selling point, the product should.

  15. So many anonymous "bs" replies, jeez, you'd think that people playing spreadsheets online would learn to read.
    "I do not want to play this game because of x, y and z." Where in this sentence do you people find disinterest in the game's future, or a comment about its possible success or impact ?

  16. From my crystal ball;

    CCP releases Dust for the PC/XBOX in some near future and because it would be 'unfair' to let PS3 players have an advantage purely because the game was released their first CCP will introduce skillpoints and/or skillpoint boosters to the DUST shop. DUST ain't EVE after all.

  17. Hang on, I thought that the exp system is DUST was based on your in game performance and you'd earn skill points to then spend on skills you want.

    I think the problem that DUST has is that its just too complicated for its own good. Like you said you just want to jump on, grab some stuff and kill some dudes - with DUST its talking about various skills for different things and fittings and modules and all the other stuff that while works with EVE just seems too much for a F2P game and I would imagine that most people will simply stick to the template fits and live with that.

    I think CCP are trying to create another EVE that is very much another marmite game (love it or hate it) and the players who love it will find its depth and complexity a source of continual amusement while the ones that hate it at least feel that they can stick to the basics and get some pleasure out of it even if they never touch the fitting screen at all.

    I hope that eventually CCP will start to filter out players by skill points so that games aren't so lop sided that the side with the most advanced players always win. The public games can probably be split into skill point ranges so that everyone who plays will be against people of a reasonable range above or below their own skill levels but not too much to be insta-death frustrating.

    Personally the reason why I won't play it too much is that I've had my fill of these type of 'Battlefield' games. You spawn, shoot someone, get killed, respawn, shoot someone, maybe kill them, get killed, respawn, blah blah blah blah. We won? Great! Who knew! Did I have any sort of contribution to this win while I was running around like a headless chicken? No idea but who cares we won, woo! :P

    Get some money, get confused about what modules do what, end up buying something that looks reasonable, go into battle and still only use the defaut fits. Rince repeat.

    I guess I'm getting too old for this stuff - damn kids and their heavy metal music.. grumble grumble :P

  18. I said it before and I'll say it again...

    The average FPS player is not ADD enough to spend 3 years skilling up as your friend demonstrated and you summed up nicely Jester. So, that leaves a FPS that;
    A.) Many current EVE players will not play for the reasons you mentioned.
    B.) Many traditional players of FPS shooters will not find immediate stimulating (press lever=get bacon)playstyles.

    Dust will crumble...what frightens me is the degree to which CCP has shackled itself to this corpse of their own creation...

  19. Who wants to play a FPS where your ability as a player is completely trumped by your time playing it, and you have zero ability to "catch up" to the artificial skill imposed by timed training?

    Example: in Battlefield 3, your continued play gives you minor upgrades to capability: different optics, accuracy improving barrels, suppressors to avoid detection, but none of these are essential to play. Your gun will still shoot 95% the same as every other weapon on the field. If you achieve decent twitch skills, not playing for a few weeks won't put you behind anyone else.

    On the contrary, DUST 514 requires continued training to stay relevant. The capability ceiling continues to raise as the game progresses. It's the moving ceiling that sentences DUST to the same fate as EVE: not having played long enough makes you irrelevant and incapable of competing effectively.

    Time based training is great, but it should not determine whether you can hit the enemy as mentioned as the sniper rifle reticle. Any training should provide a minimal advantage, but not enough to secure victory single handedly.

  20. In eve new players are valuable because they don't hurt your fleet.

    In dust a bad player is taking the spot of someone who may have more sp. So noons hurt the team because there is a limit on the number of people in a battle.

    Ps2 is more like eve in this.

  21. TBh, so long as the skill system doesn't utterly gimp your ability as an FPS player then it sounds reasonable. They probably need to change their approach for sniper rifles a bit though from this.

    I have been playing some MechWarrior Online lately and that arguably does the same, early pilot skill unlocks do things like drastically improving your heat management, but not having unlocked those skills didn't make me feel like I was at a huge disadvantage - pilot skill and tactics is still the bigger factor in success. Hopefully Dust will achieve something similar.

  22. ....When i first heard about dust in 2010 I was exited and had very high hopes for the game. I lurked in the un-official forums for dust 514 and had a lot of fun reading the speculations and ideas people had for the game then they started to release footage of the game for people to see and I admit it was disappointing to see.

    In time they made progress and it got a lot better but never at the same level as other "traditional" shooters.
    Then SOE announced PS2 and I admit I got frustrated by the fact that it looked better than dust in every way but I still had hope for the game.

    You know how they say people are ignorant?
    Well that was/is everything people said about dust...they didn't understand it and I cant blame them for that, people lashed out at the game, it seemed the populer opinion was that it was doomed to fail from the start and I just sighed in silence for the time being because I could understand what they were coming from but not from the reasons they had stated.

  23. Dust is a lot better then PS2 in my opinion, I foresaw PS2 shortcomings months before it ever released and it still plagues them to this day.
    Dust vs. PS2 vs. Cod/battlefield(the new one, not the old ones)

    You are biased in the idea you never even wanted the game to succeed from the beginning, I find many EvE players not wanting to accept dust because its connected to there game and worst of all its on an console.
    What I find to be the most daring thing CCP had done with dust is not the connection to EvE but there bravery to be the fucking first to fight the stereotype of the "console gamer", you know why that stereotype existed in the first place? because they didn't expect anything more from console gamers so naturally console gamers don't know anything better, PS2 proved that the console stereotype is not console "only" if that were the case you would have seen a much better game from the get go.

  24. Why ohh why are they even trying to make dust for console, why even bother trying... because they can?

    Look at it this way, when eve was first released it was a mess, Indy funds and no real experience on how to do things right and yet against all odds they fucking survived and thanks to that eve has become a legendary game which in no doubt many will look for inspiration in the future, you made the game as it is today right? wrong and right at the same time....what was eve when it first started other then a mess but with out the hating and the ridicule dust gets, now then you would say that CCP was a small company and now they are bigg(er) and it just should not happen and you are right it should not happen that they released an broken product but it hasn't happened yet, the game is still much in beta and most of the content of the game is missing or still in development.

    You/they are judging a book by its cover as they would say....and I cant blame them for it, really i cant blame you for ever thinking that there is a thing as an gold standard for FPS games which dust fails to deliver...

  25. Its and MMO or and MMORTSRPG shooter AKA a thinking mans shooter which no one has ever played on console(looking at you average console gamer) so can you blame them for not understanding it well yes you can because they got fooled into believing that it was all just a FPS game, some get angry others get intrigued, others....well just don't expect much other then "wut" they will leave in droves but the damage has already been done. If they had spent any time with it and really tried to learn its basic mechanics they will be spoiled for life, everything less will seem like a waist of time, dust has left a mark on them. There is a reason why I have tried the EvE trial so many,many times.

    I never could get into EvE because I could not grasp it all and it took many tries to even learn that double-clicking in space means you move there, it was really, really confusing because no other game worked like this, I was also young.

    A one of its kind.....surprisingly not many games go this route, there are very few "new" games out there and often not they have an identity crisis because there is pressure to be like everyone else, its kinda stupid when you think about it and childish to boot.

  26. They are heading into the right direction with the game, they are using the same lessons EvE taught them about games and that's the only advantage they will ever need, until SOE, EA, hell any other game-developers understand what CCP REALLY did that was so revolutionary then they will be able to compete, until then its just a matter of time until CCP makes a better product.

    I fucking hope they succeed just so I can rub it in your faces.
    What makes CCP different than every-other developer out there, what makes or brakes an EvE game, doom and gloom all you want but don't hide the fear you have for this game, biases and all.

  27. One more thing, I don't know if you would maybe guess or think i was a developer of some-sort but you would be wrong, I'm in collage right now and hoping I can be a developer someday but that is very much in the future, my dream is to be independent and make what i want to make. Selfish...very much so!

    The industry is going through a growth stage, a development stage a coming of age still its fighting against its self, new ideas clash with old ones. Honestly i don't think people ever knew what a great game is or how its made, cookie cutter style monetisations and a chilling fobia for change is affecting gamers to developers to companies to publishers.

    "Dust will prevail" -some guy(me) who doesn't know what he is talking about.

    Jester hope you criticise the hell out of the game.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.