An EVE Fanfest Keynote and two panels later, a wealth of information on highly anticipated first person shooter DUST 514 is here! From map generation to player role specialization, a lot has been revealed so far in this year’s conference.
For those unfortunate enough to have missed EVE Fanfest and much of the streamed content, CCP have been busy in explaining to EVE fans exactly how DUST works, how it has been built and how players will interact with it and each other. Gathering what was discussed in the Day 1 keynote, as well as panels, “Role on the Battlefield” and “Seeding the Universe”, these are the features and goals of DUST 514 development that have emerged:
Terrain Battlefields have been broken up into districts in which the battle ensues. These districts are huge - 5km by 5km hexagonal maps - all with varying conditions. Surface infrastructure and planet climate will determine the type of terrain that players will encounter. These areas will have urban centers as well as player structures which also differ depending on map elevations, geographical placement of infrastructure and other planetary conditions. With the variance in structure size and type, weather conditions such as rain and electrical storms, and environments such as grass fields and deserts, CCP hope that each district will be very unique, and create an immersive and individual experience with each match.
At the moment, CCP are hoping to implement changes to the currently standardized physics surrounding gravity, as well as making weather conditions affect gameplay. Currently, only temperate planets have had maps generated, although they are considering how to include lava and plasma planets in the future. Wormholes may also be making their debut at a later stage in the game’s ongoing development.
Universe Considering the map proportions, it is amazing that CCP have found a way to place 10 to 20 maps per planet. Now, with an expected starting DUST 514 universe of over 7,000 planets, this makes for a very, very large number of maps. And the number of planets are expected to rise in the future. Additionally, CCP are trying to make it possible for EVE pilots to be able to see from space that a district on a planet is currently in battle.
Corporations Corporations play a large part in the game. Within low security and null security spaces, corporations will own and inevitably defend their districts on each planet. This also means they will have the ability to hire mercenaries to fight for them on contract. As CCP want to make this game accessible for both casual and hardcore players, casual players will also have the ability to play within high security space with NPC-given missions and objectives, as well as engaging in player versus environment scenarios.
EVE players will also have the ability to control orbital bombardment weapons in space. In this exciting development, DUST mercenaries will be able to call on allied EVE pilots to fire on ground units when in times of strong resistance. However, use of these weapons is restricted
to low and null security space. So getting into a mercenary contract or finding a system with the right conditions will allow for much more exciting matches for DUST mercenaries.
Mercenaries As a DUST 514 player, how you effectively use your skills and role will be most beneficial for your success as a mercenary. Each player will begin with the same type of initial militia skills as well as gear. Starter items include the assault dropsuit, assault rifle and Locus grenade. As you progress in the game, players will then have the ability to form their roles through the specializations they choose. In this case, rather than picking from the start a sniper or scout role, players can learn to realize the need for vehicle specializations or a squad leader role. This will also likely effect player’s contract possibilities as certain roles will be in demand by corporations depending on war requirements.
In terms of skilling up, players will have a very large skill tree to choose from, which includes both passive and active skilling. It’s understood that to take on all skills would require the equivalent of over 7 years of training, something already very familiar with most EVE players.
Game mechanics The matches are intended to be as immersive as possible. Battles so far have been tested with 24 player teams on each side, however it’s reported that these tests have gone well and team size will likely increase in the future.
The resupply of items is a much more arduous task. For invading teams, supply posts must first be hacked in order to be able to call for items. Other objects such as vehicles need to be purchased and airlifted to the fields for use, rather than magically appearing as they do in many first-person shooters. As such, tactics, timing and organization are going to be key to success.
Player communications will exist for the purpose of teams being able to better formulate strategies while in the midst of battle, while voice and chat systems will be shared with EVE Online so that allied forces will be able to communicate. Players will also be able to access live 3D maps of the field to better position themselves and the team, while access to calling for orbital bombardment on a painted target is designed for dealing with strong resistance against opposing forces and other tactical strikes.
It’s all a lot of information to take in, and this has been simply some of the more standout features that will be appearing in DUST 514. The game is certainly shaping up to be an incredible experience, with many comments from fans stating how they feel this may be their go-to shooter of choice.
Even though CCP seem to have covered all their bases, it appears they still feel there is plenty of work to be done, with more features and elements they would like to incorporate. Going by their record with EVE Online, DUST will be a game that is constantly in development. An FPS that’s forever getting better? Yes, please!
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