At E3 2012, we got a brief chance to stop by the good folks at CCP and preview Dust514, their upcoming free to play shooter coming to PS3 soon™.
While some other shows have covered the higher level issues about what this game could mean for the industry, this was our first chance to sit down and play it first hand.
CCP being the awesome guys that they are, gave us a guided tour of the game.
T3: So for our readers who aren’t familiar with it, tell us a little bit about Dust.
CCP: So Dust is a Massively Multiplayer First Person Shooter that is going to tie in with Eve Online. So in Eve, players are in space ships, and you can do trading, you can be an industrialist, you can fight over space, etc. And there’s something like 1000 stars in the galaxy. Currently you can’t do much with those planets other than to place down some installations, and do some mining, manufacturing, industrial type stuff. But once Dust hits, you’ll actually be able to fight for control over individual planets. So the idea is to PC game with a PS3 game, and actually have a deep meaningful interaction between the two.
T3: Fighting over planets: are we talking about NPC Faction Warfare, or will players actually be able to affect sovereignty?
CCP: In High Sec, you’ll basically have NPC factions generating missions for you. But if you’re hardcore, you’ll be able to join a corporation, get your friends together, and go out and campaign to control a planet or affect the sovereignty, etc. We’re still working on the exact mechanics, but we want that to be a meaningful interaction between the two.
T3: Are the economies going to be linked in any way?
CCP: The economies are going to be linked, but at first it will be more restrictive. The link will be gradual. Players will use the same currency, and the idea is that you can transfer currencies across the games. As we go along, there’s a lot of unknowns that go along, and we’re going to be playing a lot of it by ear, but as it goes along the goal is to fully integrate economies between the two games.
T3: Can you tell us a little bit about how Eve players will be able to directly influence Dust battles?
CCP: Eve players are going to be able to do orbital strikes. Players on the ground have a targeting device, and he can basically make a request to other players in orbit. And that request then pops up to the Eve players, and they can choose respond or not.
T3: So they wouldn’t actually enter the atmosphere to do whatever strike? I’m not going to see my Drake on screen in Dust?
CCP: Not yet. Of course we’d love to do that, but the technical challenges with that are quite significant. But it’s definitely something that we’d love to do. We have been talking about stuff like that. The Eve planets outline the ships in orbit, and then the outlines actually dynamically generate the correct type of Eve ship actually coming in. So you could actually see ships on there.
Note: None of this was in place for the demo I played (obviously). We’ll have more on this post launch. However, this sounds like the best thing ever and I am personally planning on orbital striking the shit out of everybody whether they request it or not.
T3: So for my Eve readers who’ve got their corporations, aren’t fans of First Person Shooters, no one in their corporations is gonna be playing Dust. Are they going to be at a disadvantage?
CCP: So if you have a corporation that has ownership over space, if you want to have full ownership over space, you probably want to enlist some Dust mercenaries. Or you could just hire some other corporation to work together with you to hold the planet. You can hold planets. Like I said we’re still trying out different things. But the idea is that you should be able to hold planets if there’s no opposition for example. As an Eve player you should be able to take over. But if someone else comes in with Dust mercenaries you should be at a disadvantage. But you still own the space regardless.*
T3: So, do Dust players have to worry about managing getting from one planet to the next? Chartering a ride on an Eve ship, or are they using jump clone technology to get from one planet to the next?
CCP: In high sec matches, basically the idea is the Dust mercenaries are able to jump clone to the war barges. So you don’t have to saddle as Dust mercenaries to get to a location to fight. You can basically clone from your quarters directly to the deployment on the war barges in orbit. So as Dust mercenaries you don’t have that restriction, but of course when it comes to Eve like warfare all of the planets then, if you want to conquer a planet then we wanted to be so that you actually have to have a ship in orbit. And if you use space clones to get there, it’s not like you’re magically gonna manifest to the ground.
T3: Now I did notice you specified Empire Space. Are there going to be restrictions on how much access Dust mercenaries have in Null-Sec space?
CCP: Basically we want the game to be self-sufficient. So corporations will be merged. So there won’t be Dust corporations or Eve corporations, just corporations. You should be able to wage war yourself. You don’t want the Dust corporations to be stuck, but on the other hand we don’t want Eve players to be stuck either. So there has to be a middle way where Eve players can do everything and Dust players can do everything, but as a whole together they can do much more.
T3: And just one last question for you. If I’m an Eve player, and I decide I’m gonna play Dust, are my accounts going to be in any way linked? Am I gonna get to kind of see my character on the battlefield?
CCP: We’re still trying to figure that out. I’m not really sure about accounts linking. I’m sure we’ll do that. Some players wouldn’t want to their accounts because they might want to be anonymous for their Eve identities. But it’s a cool thing. We would like to be able to do that. We’re still figuring it out.
Quick gameplay impressions
After thanking the great bringer of games for his time, we exchanged pleasantries and many high fives. And then I sat down to pwn some n00bs in game. It wasn’t long, however, before I remembered that I’M TERRIBLE at console shooters, and died miserably many times.
I was, however, able to get some brief impressions on what to expect from gameplay. The objectives were reminiscent of the large awesome ship battles (Titan Mode) from Battlefield 2142. One team had a war barge that needed to fly to an objective, while the other team needs to blow it up for their fireworks display (after all the Kings won the cup. Or was it the Devils? Are those even the right teams???).
Scattered along the ground are various missile turrets, spawn points, and anti ground defenses that both teams are able to try to control. There were a handful of stock classes that I was able to mess with, that had a combination of hitscan and projectile weapons to mess with. I really can’t read too much into my brief experience with a single map. The game felt to me somewhat like a cross between Battlefield 2142 and Team Fortress 2.
What I can say for sure is that I’m extremely excited for this game, and I’m definitely going to be covering it more in depth as it enters beta (I might even figure out how the hell this console thing works by then, too). The people at CCP who are working on this game are an incredibly friendly and accommodating group, who I plan on thanking by completely breaking their game. Dust514 is currently slated to release some time in 2012, and is currently in closed beta. You can register for an invite at www.dust514.com.
* Because FUCK YOU I’m just going to build a shit ton of space stations for no apparent reason.