DUST 514: Our First Look

During a special press conference at the 2009 EVE Fanfest we were able to see a live gameplay demonstration of DUST 514, which is an FPS and strategy game set within the EVE universe.

During a special press conference at the 2009 EVE Fanfest we were able to see a live gameplay demonstration of DUST 514, which is an FPS and strategy game set within the EVE universe. The game is set in the same universe as EVE Online but the two are fundamentally different in that DUST 514 takes place on individual planets. Players can expect a persistent universe where every battle is significant and every player will make meaningful decisions that helps to determine the outcome of the individual battles and the state of both games overall.

CCP expects that the two online experiences will compliment each other and that players will have plenty of reason to work together between games. EVE and DUST 514 will be linked using phased implementation strategies at specific stages during the development lifecycle of the two products. To clarify, EVE Online will in no way be dependant on the success of DUST 514 at launch, but as the games evolve, CCP will continue to build the two products so that players will work together even more.

Our presentation, which was given by Creative Director for CCP Asia, Atli Mar Sveinsson, was packed full of new information about the elements that will link the games. "We will allow EVE Corporations to hire mercenaries and pay them to attack planets or districts of planets," Said Sveinsson. "Every planet has a lot of districts, EVE players own a majority of them but there are a couple of districts that are reserved for DUST players. These districts are part of the Theater of War in DUST; this is really what DUST corporations will fight over. These districts can be used as staging areas for war barges to deploy forces. EVE corporations can hire a DUST corp and use their facilities, provided that they own one, for a dramatically reduced price. So affiliations and alliances between the two games are actually economical. "

You might be wondering why an EVE Corp would want to hire DUST mercenaries to fight for them on a planet's surface. Well, in the upcoming EVE Online expansion, players will be able to have planetary interactions and will individually own districts. As with any land with borders, the potential for a bothersome neighbor will always exist. DUST 514 will act as the metaphorical landlords and for a price, they can deliver an eviction notice.

Speaking of eviction notices, lets move on to combat in DUST 514. The battlefields are truly dynamic in that it's entirely up to the players to decide how they want to advance their forces. Commanders will hang out in their overlord ships giving tactical directions, deploying bases that will act as spawning grounds and they'll even have access to orbital strikes and other devastative tools to help control the battlefield. Soldiers on the ground will be able to order in both land and air vehicles that will make the game play similar to Battlefield 2142 or Planetside.  In that way, combat is extremely strategic and realistic. It's important to note that all players will use War Points, which is essentially the in-game currency. These points will be required for actions such as ordering in vehicles, orbital strikes and other forms of badassery.

By now you're probably asking yourself, "What will the classes be like?" Well, in DUST 514 there are no classes; characters will be defined by their equipment. Sveinsson explained that if you want to be a medic, you need to bring gear to play that role. "This is not a computer game. This is a world; you define your own role. If you want to be a medic you'll need to take some stuff with you." Depending on the complexity of the items, this could be a major selling point of the game. Allowing players to define their role however they want and as often as they want, is definitely something that has been under utilized in persistent worlds. This is not to say that there won't be persistent character advancement options in place – we were told that there would be plenty of ways to alter your character; however, we weren't given much clarification.

After seeing what we did it's clear that the years of anticipation leading up to the game's release will be grueling. CCP is taking DUST 514 to a place no one has ever gone before, and they're doing so with style. It's evident that the development team has spent a great deal of time infusing as much realism as possible into every aspect of the game. Nothing looked clunky. For example, flying around in a jet looked as if it was designed to play like a futuristic combat simulator. Playing as part of the infantry or rolling around in a badass ground vehicle seemed equally unique. In my eyes, there's nothing worse than an FPS that doesn't have a natural feeling. This isn't at all a concern that I have for DUST 514. Take it from a gamer that's seen just about everything shooters have to offer, we're all in for a treat.

DUST 514 is being developed with the console in mind. As such, CCP plans to take a micro-transaction monetization model opposed to the traditional monthly subscription fee that exists in your average MMO. While we weren't given any specific examples of items that players can expect to buy, we were told firmly that players will not be able to "buy win". This promise will be particularly important and one that I don't have any reason to doubt.

To conclude, DUST 514 has secured its spot on my top 5 list of most anticipated games. It could very well redefine the online gaming mold that's remained so unchanged for years.  My biggest complaint is that CCP isn't planning a version for the PC. "We are fully committed to make this the best console game.," said Sveinsson. This will definitely discourage some but since the game won't see store shelves until 2011/2012 at the earliest, you just never know what will happen.

Andrew "Tamat" Beegle
Editor-in-Chief
ZAM.com

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asdf
# Oct 08 2009 at 7:25 AM Rating: Good
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Have they announced which console or consoles it will be on? I'm concerned that by 2011/2012 we might be seeing some next gen console talk also come up, but who knows? Also, tying the game to console seems like it would eventually lead to upgrade problems similar to what we saw in FFXI. Also, the equipment defining your role thing seems like a spin-off of the create-a-class option in CoD4, which was nice because it let you change up your play style depending on the map and your mood.
asdf
# Oct 08 2009 at 1:28 PM Rating: Excellent
That was sort of the point I was alluding to with my 2011/2012 comment. While they haven't given any official release year, I can't see the game coming out before early 2011 and that definitely brings us to the possibility of next gen. If I was a betting man I'd say this will definitely be available on the Xbox because of their friendly (unofficial) ties with Microsoft. It also seems like a no brainer to have it on the PS3 as well.
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