If you’re reading my blog then you’re more than likely a MMO gamer and as such it may well be that you don’t really care about yet another FPS shooter. However, this time around you really should care; Dust 514 has the potential to be the biggest step forward in MMO gaming since… well, since Ultima Online.
You should know about EVE, but if you don't then check this video for an idea of what the game looks like.
In EVE players and their Corporations (guilds) travel the universe in their massive spaceships, in a massive ongoing campaign to control star systems and their resources. If you’ve not played EVE then I can safely say that you have no idea exactly how HUGE their campaign and universe is. These systems of course have planets, but as a spaceship based game they’ve never really done that much other than be a source of materials and so on. As Corporations take over systems you would assume that there would have to be some land based warfare going on to capture the planets, but as a space based game you’ve never seen any evidence of it. That is until now.
Dust 514 players are going to be the armies that fight these battles. Yes, they are going to be fighting the battles and taking part in the same wars that the EVE players are involved in. EVE Corporations will hire mercenaries from Dust, or even recruit Dust players into their Corporations (or the other way around!) and these armies will be transported around by the EVE spacecraft and then fight the battles planetside in Dust 514. In fact the games are going to be so linked that a Dust player can call down air strikes from EVE players in orbit around the planet they are fighting on, or even use ground based defences to return fire…
It’s going to be the same server, the same gameworld, same voice coms, same economy, the lot... It is two different games viewing a shared universe from completely different perspectives, with players from both games working together to achieve their goals.
Dust 514 and EVE
Now you could say that games like Planetside have kind of done this before. Planetside certainly does have players able to fly transport aircraft, interceptors, tanks and more, alongside people focussed on infantry and with the battles across a whole planet, its clans did have to consider the logistic of moving their players around. Yet the big difference with what CCP is doing is the linking up of two utterly different types of game play and environments. If you’re flying a plane or walking on foot in Planetside, you’re looking at the same landscape in the same way, much like say playing a Battlefield game. Where as the gameplay, the environment you’re playing in and pace of play for a Dust vs and EVE player are completely different. Also we are talking about doing this across two different platforms (Dust is PS3 only). This is a bit like linking up Silent Hunter on PC with Call of Duty on Xbox.
So it doesn’t matter if you’re interested in playing either game or not, because it’s bigger than that. You should instead be very interested in where this could lead. The MMO genre has stagnated, with everyone wanting a bit of the Warcraft cashcow, it’s like publisher and developer’s balls have shrivelled up. More and more generic MMO quest and raid farm bollocks continues to arrive.
The future potential..
Dust 514 is hope for the future, because if this works as they say, then we’ve finally moved forward. Not just another EQ/WoW clone with different graphics, something that has the community as the core feature, where players have genuine impact on the game world and isn't just some glorified chat lobby with sterile instances accessed through a dungeon finder. Think about the potential for MMOs if this was to work.. Smashing apart the borders between different types of games and melding them into these epic player driven campaign systems. Silent Hunter mixed with World of Tanks, IL2 and Medal of Honour, each game with enough room to be specialised instead of trying to merge everything into one egnine. What about traditional MMORPG games? Where could this go?
Or of course it could fail utterly, not reach it's potential, be a technical disaster and be a hugely embarrassing flop for CCP, but regardless I salute them for actually trying to drive the genre forward. I will buy the game on principal, because things like this deserve our support. Unlike most developers these days, CCP have shown themselves to have BALLS OF STEEL. Also, rather unlike the latest Duke Nukem by all accounts. Shock horror... Anyways, for more details I would recommend this post over at Massively, or click here for the official site and this fan site has a lot of info, screenshots and more video.