In case you haven’t heard, Dust514 is the latest little gem from CCP. This is the very same Icelandic company that has brought you the successful MMO, EVE.
EVE has been running strong for nine years, and unlike any other MMORPG, it has grown every single year. CCP has sought to continue that growth with the creation of DUST514.
To be short, DUST514 is a massive multiplayer online first-person shooter. It has been developed exclusively for the PS3. However, what makes it so unique is that DUST514 players will directly interact with PC gamers in the EVE world.
This is an incredible milestone in gaming. Essentially, EVE players can drop nuclear bombs on DUST514 players from their PC’s; meanwhile, DUST514 players can shoot down EVE players with orbital cannons from their PS3 console. Both DUST514 and EVE players will be able to communicate in real-time, and work together seamlessly.
My initial reaction: “’Bout damn time.”
For those who haven’t invested three into the three month learning curve that is EVE, it is a massive and complex sandbox world. In EVE you can create corporations, banks, build ships, become a pirate, mercenary, or just engage in some good ‘ol PVP. There are very few limits placed on what EVE players can and cannot do.
CCP has promised a similar freedom with DUST514.
The key to this unique integration lies in the substantial user base that EVE has maintained for so many years. It has grown every single year! In addition, the folks over at Playstation Network have been much more cooperative with CCP in regards to servers. In a 2011 interview with Eurogamer CP CTO Halldor Fannar said, “Let’s just say that with Sony at least they have policies that allow us to build the game the way we want. That is one of the reasons why we’ve gone with PSN.”
Admittedly, I’m not happy about DUST514 being a PS3 exclusive. However, that is overshadowed by the innovative integration of console and PC co-op.
So what can this mean for the future of gaming?
Who knows? Playstation vs Xbox online gaming? Maybe, although I doubt it. Clearly we see that it is possible if both sides choose to cooperate. I do, however, believe that this will set a precedent for developers to create rich and complex worlds that don’t always have to exclude MMO and FPS fans from one another.
Also, we’re seeing two very different games come together in a unique fashion. An MMORPG working with an FPS to accomplish the same goals should leave players in both camps feeling satisfied.
DUST514 will feature a 24 v 24 online battle. However, on the same planet there can be hundreds of other battles taking place at the same time that will directly affect one another. In addition, EVE players who are orbiting the planet will be able to drop bombardments and directly alter the scope of the battle themselves. That said, there can be thousands of players fighting for faction control of any one planet at a time.
CCP has promised that DUST514 will be just as in-depth as EVE. They are developing a complex loadout system, as well as an independent economy. Also, similar to EVE, DUST514 players will have to spend time grinding their skill sets to buy additional loadout options. Players will have the option to purchase loadouts and suits with real money, however, it can also be purchased with in-game cash. This is important to note, because each time you die, you will lose your loadout and have to buy a new one. If you’re using in game cash, it’s not such a big deal. But if you’re purchasing with loadouts with real-world money, you’ll be looking at around $0.024 every time you die. This suddenly monetizes your K/D ratio and makes it more important than ever.
It’s important to emphasize that this is NOT a pay-to-win game. Players can grind and purchase load outs with in-game cash as they would with real world money. But players who spend the time to grind and level up will have the advantage. Just because you dropped some coin on sweet weapons and loadouts, doesn’t mean you’ll be any good with them. An FPS is a skill game. Skills are acquired through hard work, not currency.
Players will also have to work on their skill sets. If players want to use an anti-orbital weapon to counter EVE player bombardments, someone must have the skill to build the anti-orbital weapon, build it, and move it. This can only be acquired over time.
PS3 players will be happy to know that DUST514 will support Playstation Move, as well as Keyboard/Mouse as an input device. (Why aren’t more console FPS’s doing this?)
In all, DUST514 is a milestone in gaming. It has combined the world’s largest MMO with an FPS in a unique way. The rich economy should bring DUST514 to a new level in gaming. In addition to the run-n-gun action, there will be a tremendous and rewarding environment for players to engage in. Check out www.DUST514.org to gain access to the beta, and look for it retail this fall.