Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Questions on CCP's new 'Dust 514' console game

Today brought us the news that CCP, the creators of Eve Online, will bring a new console only MMO to the market, called 'Dust 514'. The funny thing is: Dust 514 is situated on the planets of the very same EVE Online universe, New Eden, we already know! Both EVE Online's space bound pilots and Dust 514's planet dwelling fighters will play a role in the story that unfolds in New Eden. According to CCP, this is "one universe, one war", and they hope the Eve Online and Dust 514 communities will merge together over time. After reading a few news reports I have a few quick questions and remarks about Dust 514.

First off, Dust 514 is an FPS, meaning the players will be walking avatars - something still missing from Eve Online. Called 'ambulation' or 'walking in stations' we have been waiting for this for quite some time, but so far this hasn't materialised. Could Dust 514 be the precursor to ambulation? If Eve and Dust 514 players are ever to meet in game, both need a real avatar. Besides, the Dust 514 snapshot below - provided by CCP - shows a command pit, floating in space above the planet, not built on it. This is clearly ambulation, but of course it could be only for Dust 514 players.

Will an EVE pilot be able to participate in fights on the planets? Could EVE spaceships affect battles by bombing enemy Dust 514 players or by providing logistical services to his own Dust 514 mercs? Could an EVE pilot 'beam down' to pick up a gun and join the fight on the planet? And if he survives, could he then take his Dust 514 buddies back up to the station for a drink at the bar? Again, without ambulation this is impossible, but there's certainly a very interesting perspective for future expansions. Although, given that Dust 514 is a console game, I don't know whether it's technically feasible for CCP to provide such a mixed environment within the current implementation of New Eden.

Second: the changes to sovereignty in 0.0 (nullsec) space. Currently, an alliance can claim sovereignty over regions of 0.0 space by placing and maintaining player owned space stations (POS'es) there. In the future, Dust 514 players get to play a role in this mechanism too, as owning stations isn't going to be enough to maintain sovereignty. You'll need Dust 514 mercenaries on the ground, on the planets, to conquer those for you as well. This may have significant impact on the balances of power and the politics of New Eden. I wonder how the big space holding 0.0 alliances think about this sudden change to the playing field.

And the existing EVE pilots? If you're a highsec PVE player or miner, it doesn't look like your daily game experience will change much, as the sov changes only affect nullsec. Also, with Dust 514, CCP is aiming for a different audience: the existing pilots can stay in space, CCP wants new FPS players for Dust 514 combat! IF CCP succeeds, the number of gamers active within New Eden will continue to grow (or grow even harder), which is a good thing for CCP and hence for all of us who like to spend time in New Eden.

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