Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eve Online And Dust514 - Part 1

I wonder if I could convince CCP to design one more nebula for Eve?  This one to be a representation of all the speculation swirling around the all-but-forgotten Dust514, the first person shooter (FPS) currently in development, that will somehow tie together with Eve Online.  I have to admit that I still remain as apprehensive as when I first heard about the idea.  This, coupled with the monocle-gate disaster that ensued after Incarna's release and the subsequent dismissal of twenty percent of CCP's workforce, really makes me anxious - and not necessarily in a bad way.

Unlike a lot of the general gamer population, I believe that software developers in general learn from their mistakes.  However in this industry, more often than not it's too late - but that isn't the case here.  CCP, regardless of its current public image stemming from the Incarna scandals, has a lot to learn from.  And if anything, that's good news for us.

I think for the first time in the history of a major MMORPG, the customer (and that's what we are, customers) spoke out loud and clear and really got a chance to make an impact on the corporate level.  As a whole we stood up and said 'Flying in space - and all the combat, economy, role playing, factions and standings that come with it - are what makes this game great.'

In writing that I find myself conflicted when I think about Dust; drawing a link between flying in space and running around on a planet seems difficult.  On one hand, what CCP is setting out to accomplish here has potential.  Not just potential for Eve Online, but potential for multi-platform game environments that incorporate multiple incarnations of the same universe across different gaming platforms, simultaneously.  On the other hand, the development effort for a Playstation 3 release is no laughing matter - the resources required are extensive, and one way or another CCP needs to figure out a mechanic that not only delivers a top-notch FPS experience to the masses, but one that in no way takes away from 'flying in space'.  

I don't envy CCP and the path they laid out for themselves.  Dust514 needs to incorporate itself into the Eve-Online world without effecting what makes Eve great.  It's unlikely that the actions of a console player having a major effect on anything currently transpiring in Eve will go over well with the player base.  Alliances and corporations have enough trouble and spend countless hours coordinating with members that are all playing the same game.  Imagine if you're forced to coordinate with players playing another game, on a separate console, in order to complete your objectives in Eve.
But the logistics of coordination barely scratch the surface of what CCP is aiming to hopefully accomplish.  We know for a fact that Dust514 will somehow be integrated into Eve via Planetary Interaction, a feature introduced in Eve's Tyrannis expansion.  This alone proves problematic as Planetary Interaction (PI) forms a very small piece in the puzzle of Eve greatness.  (See also: PI is widely considered useless and rarely used by anyone in Eve.)

So where does Dust514 even start?  The market is flooded with FPS titles - there's very few places left for the repetitive garbage we've been spoon fed over the past few years from gimmicky FPS wannabe titles.  In order to really contribute to the massive scale of the Eve universe, Dust has to be massive in and of itself.  Standard things like death matches and the countless other game modes are an industry standard now, and I'm sure they will be available.  But what's Dust's Niche?  That it incorporates two games into one universe?  That's unlikely to attract FPS fans by the masses, Eve is popular, but not that popular - I don't know many people who would leave a game like Call of Duty, or Halo, to learn about a brand new universe with slightly different mechanics.

That leaves us with an awful lot of questions, and not many answers...

*Super Hero Announcer Voice* How will CCP do it?  

Keep an eye out next week for part two - where I'll go into my own perfect little world and explain my hopeful ideas for how this could be pulled off.


  1. (See also: PI is widely considered useless and rarely used by anyone in Eve.)

    Untrue, PI is used to produce fuel and materials for pos's, so it is now a vital tool/resource that people must harvest if they want their research or jump bridge pos's online etc.

    Admitedly though the eve-dust link needs to be much more than just fighting over planets for the current PI resources.

  2. Necessary, sure. But that doesn't mean it's not all but completely forgotten about by the majority of Eve's population.

    Sure, the people crafting the POS materials care, but the people buying and setting up the starbases rarely consider where it's coming from. They just buy it off the market like everything else.

    And agreed on the link, I'll get there in the next one :)

  3. "(See also: PI is widely considered useless and rarely used by anyone in Eve.)"

    Not a bad article but the above statement is quite wrong.

    Planetary Interaction (PI) is used by most people I know in game, though typically in a casual way to generate some background income, similar to Research Agents.

  4. Quite wrong? Perspective I guess. I've been 100% PVP for years. In an alliance of 1000+ people, most didn't even remember what the acronym stood for.

  5. Well im in an alliance of about 3500 or so, and a HUGEEEE number of people in my alliance do PI on a personal or corp basis, with buyback programs to fuel poses.

    I run 25 planets myself, i know people who run less than me, and i know people who run a lot more than me. I even know of a few corps dedicated to PI. I think you are underestimating just how much PI is being used by people, and how much the materials it produces are an integral part of the eve economy. And if out of your 1000 man alliance only a few knew what PI stood for im guessing most of them are bitter vets who havnt actually logged on in 3 years and just troll forums in the way that only eve bitter vets can :)

    Regardless of the finer details of PI and how many people do it, could argue about it till the cows come home, the EvE-Dust link MUST and i mean MUST be something more than just fighting over current PI system. (Pay Attention CCP)

    P.S PI Stuff is also used in small amounts in some Tech 2 production a corp mate has informed me (dont do t2 builds myself so didnt know)

  6. Couldn't agree more. The 2nd part of this article throws around some ideas, but I'm deathly afraid that CCP already planned all this out and much like Incarna, will do it just to do it - rather then listen to their players and do something the right way.


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