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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Saturday, June 22, 2013

And in this corner

So, how'd you like to be a DUST 514 developer right now?  If I were one, I'd be sweating a little bit.

E3 is now over, and CCP had one really nice thing to smile about: EVR, the virtual reality EVE-based demo where you play as a carrier-based fighter pilot, was chosen as PC Gamer's "Game of E3".  Even though it isn't even a game, just a short demo.  That's certainly good news and hopefully will spur CCP to assign some formal resources to this game, which as I mentioned in my Fanfest wrap-up, I thought was incredible, and incredibly fun.  But the same article also spends a lot of time bitching about the other games at E3 that weren't so PC-friendly.

And that would be much of what got the remaining buzz at E3 this year: single- and multi-player shooters of all kinds.  It seems like every dev at E3 had one to show off.

The big one, of course, is Battlefield 4.  November might be a month that gives CCP the shakes for the next couple of years, with BF4 coming out this November and Star Citizen aiming for next November.  I've gotta say that BF4 looks pretty tasty, nowhere more so than Commander Mode.  This takes some game play from my favorite tactical shooter, the Ghost Recon series, and bumps it to a whole new level.  If you haven't watched the demonstration video, please do.  It's very much worth your time.

If there weren't some CCP devs taking extensive notes about this and eating their hearts out through a straw, there should have been.  This is fantastic game play, and from the demo video looks like it's going to be really well-implemented.  Big thumbs up to the developers.

Another that impresses me nearly as much is Titanfall.  I'm so impressed at how clean this game's interface looks.  It's functional and works well in a "everything you need, nothing you don't" way.  Information you need fades into few on your display when it's relevant, and fades out when it's no longer relevant.  That's really smart game design.  And the interface of the in-game mechs, or titans, is fantastic... completely immersive.  You get a sense of the scope of what you're driving without taking away from the game's inherent simplicity.  Again, this is a game CCP should be taking notes from.

Finally, the elephant in the room -- Destiny -- is also on the way, though apparently not as close as we were initially led to believe.  That one will be DUST's challenger next year rather than this one.  Assuming of course that DUST can beat or hold off these initial two challengers...

Was that a bell ringing I just heard?


  1. You can't even call BF4 a challenger to DUST. DUST is like an FPS museum piece next to Battlefield 4. DUST is eating the dust of games like BF4 and The Division.

  2. And all of this is on top of a rather panicked and angry community. The Planetside 2 spammers have already started polluting the forum threads with copy-paste advertising.

    Not only is DUST a feature incomplete game that was launched WAY too early (they couldn't wait until the 14th of May 2014 to stroke upper management ego?), but the devs in charge also have near Incarna-era-CCP level communication; which is to say: nothing useful, and all of what we're fed is "we're awesome" social bubble crap.

    You've seen this year's E3 trailer; it was the most embarrassing promo for DUST I've ever seen.
    The sad thing about it? We got more info on the new build from the video than we got from devs in the last 3-6 months; and the devs then had to damage control because "oops, we weren't ready to tell you guys about it; there have been changes since the video was made".

    Granted, I wouldn't want to be a DUST dev right now; it's gotta be scary to think about talking to a pitchfork and torch wielding community.

    But that's just not good enough; the CCP studio in charge of DUST NEEDS to be on the same level of community interaction as EVE's.

    We've only JUST started losing the "EVE Online: A terrible game" tagline due to all the great updates, yet here's DUST: a gimmick add on to EVE. Poster child of wasted potential.

    Someone tell me I'm overreacting, because it sure as hell feels like it.

  3. Dinsdale PirannhaJune 23, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    So what does CCP do if / when Dust fails to gain and hold widespread appeal?

    What happens if 9 months from now the only people playing Dust are Eve players using their Dust accounts to consolidate and maintain the 4 districts required to maximize the massive advantages given to low sec (and one can only assume null sec) POS and station mfg?

    1. Maybe it's a failure of imagination on my part, but I can't see DUST failing to that level. I think it more likely that DUST would fail by failing to gain a broad foothold rather than failing by collapsing entirely.

      I could see a few tens of thousands of people keeping development propped up until their characters don't need boosters and the like. But I don't know enough about DUST to say where that tipping point is.

  4. TBH, it doesn't need Bf4, Titanfall or Destiny to sink Dust 514. The current competition does that just fine.

    Looking at the numbers, I'd be very surprised if Dust could avoid being a quite expensive failure. Sad for CCP (and us), but it is kind of a bust.

  5. Just want to give a shout out to Natural Selection, which AFAIK is the originator of the "commander mode" RTS/FPS gameplay that BF4 has now adopted.

    NS began as a Half-Life mod but was successful enough to spawn a brand new games studio and a sequel: http://unknownworlds.com/

    If you enjoy that play style, NS is also very much worth a look. The emergent team play that the RTS/FPS blend encourages is -- or was -- pretty unique among shooters. Hope BF4 does it justice.

    1. Its a safe bet that it will function the same as it did in battlefield 2. Weird how people seem to forget that existed.

      But NS came out in 2002, and BF2 was 2005 and contained none of the RTS elements.

      Regarding Dust514, its a terrible shooter in a market full of good shooters. The math is pretty simple.

    2. I think you'll find that Savage was in the pipeline long before Natural Selection.

      Savage 2 is actually pretty good, and F2P, available on Steam.

      Concept really works well in that game.

  6. Well I hope CCP was paid well for Dust because it's going to get a lot harder now to be a "me too" fps as if it's wasn't already, and they did not leverage their PC strength.

    Here's to CCP catching a clue and playing to their strengths in the future, and gasp more spaceships please.

  7. "That's certainly good news and hopefully will spur CCP to assign some formal resources to this game"

    That could be a good idea if it was not for CCP being quite the monolith. By the time they decide to properly invest on this, the copy-cats that will surely arise will have already flooded the market.

    1. I have to agree here. CCP are far from the speediest developers out there. Even when it comes to EVE.

      Expansions tend to be mainly fluff, and quality of life updates... Whilst I'm fine with that in general, it does make you wonder where this c.£5,000,000 a month income is going.

      I don't expect wonders, but NCSoft (who I'm willing to bet have an income far less than £5,000,000 a month) have several games on the go, both in development and live, and Guild Wars 2 knocks out new areas, NPC's, dynamic events and items near enough every month... CCP manage to tweak some ships, mix-up the UI a bit and move a few bits around in SIX MONTHS... Their expansions don't scream £30,000,000 development value. They don't even say £500,000 in development value.

      Don't get me wrong. Love EVE, and suspect I'll continue playing it for a long time coming... But there are times when I feel like CCP just thinks that we're fish that have been caught, and are incapable of wriggling our way off of the line. Which unfortunately (with the host of Sandbox games coming out in the next 6-12 months), isn't really the case.

    2. Yeah, I wish I could say you're wrong, but I can't.

      That said, CCP does have the advantage here of being significantly ahead of the curve.

    3. NCSoft annual income is about $1Bn, and GW2 alone brings about $30M a month

      The problem with EVE is that it is a competitive game with a long history. Make ANY change and it is guarantiered to annoy some group. Add complexity, and you will have to live with that complexity for years.

      This is not a problem GW2 developers are likely to face. Any addition is fun, and GW2 will not be there in 3 years, so nobody cares about complexity. GW2 can add 3 new areas and 20 types of monsters just like that. CCP cannot add 3 regions and 20 new ship types without much, much thought and great risks of annoying vets, confusing newbies and unbalancing the game.

    4. Re: Jack Hu, (for some reason I can't reply to your post directly?)

      NCSoft is a developer and publisher of South Korean mmos marketed primarily at the South Korean market with minor localization for the rest of the world. Given a stock value of around 5B around 2010, I am guessing they are not hurting for monthly income.

      I do not know a whole lot about GW2 other than that ArenaNet is the sole remaining North American-based developer in NCSoft's stable.

    5. Yeah, I realised that NCSoft were the publishers after I submitted the comment, and that in fact I meant ArenaNet. Couldn't edit it by then... Oh well.

      Regardless of examples, I feel my point still stands. Their expansions don't say "this is what we've been doing with the £30,000,000 in subscription funds we've taken".

      Please also avoid saying "well there are staff, buildings, etc., to pay for", because that's included in development costs. You need staff, and you need buildings...

      Vendetta Online is a prime example of what can be done by 4 people on a shoe-string budget. They pump out fairly significant updates on a bi-monthly basis. That's just 4 people.

      Also, GW2 in Q1 2013, brought in an average of £6.8 million a month, according to http://global.ncsoft.com/global/ir/earnings.aspx. Which isn't far off of EVE's c.£5 million. Also, you need to consider that how much of that goes to the developers, and therefore GW2's development is unknown, but I'm willing to bet it's around half of that, at best. It's a publishers prerogative to purchase new IP and develop new IP. Chances are they'd see GW2 as a sequal that a fair amount of people are going to continually play, purely for the IP.

      Putting all that aside. I just feel like both a lot of cash is being diverted away from EVE to try and bail out the sinking ship that is DUST, and further cash that's being (and been) spent on the acquisition of White Wolf Publishing and the rumored continual development of WoD. I wonder how much money has been pumped into that since c.2005? And we're still no where near a release. I wonder if CCP regrets making that purchase... If I had to guess, I'd say "YES" (in 20ft high letters).

      Am I really the only one who finds the expansions good, but nothing really "WOW!" about them. Quality of life is always nice, in any game... But it's not necessarily something I expect from a game that's just turned 10. Things like a revamped radial menu and new scanner system is hardly the implementation of things like Incursions or Wormholes. People will like it, and people will enjoy it. But would you re-sub to try out a new scanner system? Really..?

      I would suspect not.

  8. DUST failed when the noncompete agreement with Sony was signed. All the rest is aftermath.

    Noname chinese studios do not produce FPS that can compete with industry giants head-to-head. The only chance for DUST to gain a protected niche where its inferior graphics might not matter was its link to EVE. The absence of PC version killed this chance - console people do not care about EVE, and PC people are excluded.

    All of this was obvious years ago. Unless a PC version is possible Real Soon Now, CCP might as well stop reinforcing failure.

    1. Given the problems Planetside 2 is having, I'm not sure if it counts as competition right now.


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