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I have never played an MMO and yet I’m going to be doing a lot of talking about DUST 514, a major collaboration between CCP Games and PlayStation to bring the first free-to-play console MMOFPS exclusively to PS3. Therefore, I took a trip to Iceland to attend the EVE Online Fanfest and start to get to know this fervent online community that PlayStation fans will soon be joining in New Eden and, of course, get the latest news on DUST 514.
Here are some of my learnings, although I’m sure there is one pressing question on your minds before we get into that – when can you play the game? Well, the closed beta is currently underway and Fanfest attendees were told that they would be able to access a more open beta in April, which will open in waves throughout the following months. Rest assured, we’ll be keeping you up to date with opportunities to join in here on PlayStation.Blog.
Since DUST 514 traces its lineage to EVE Online, we wanted to give it the same rich combat environment that EVE Online has when it comes to vehicle classes and roles. For example, in EVE Online there are ships that share the same hull (and thus the same look) but have very different performance envelopes. This will be true in DUST 514 as well with vehicles that will share the same chassis or hull class but depending on their roles and level of technology, offer very different battlefield characteristics.
Another key aspect that is similar between ships and vehicles is the capacitor. A good way to grasp this concept is to think of capacitors as the energy source that powers everything in a vehicle. From weapon turrets to repair modules, almost everything that you fit on to your vehicle in DUST 514 will need to draw capacitor points in order to function. Because of the fusion technology that the capacitor is based on, you will never “run out” of capacitors in the long run, since it will always replenish itself over time. However, as you activate weapons, scanners, ECM and other modules over the course of a battle it is very likely that your vehicle will deplete its stock of capacitors in short order.
Hi beloved PS Blog readers – we hope you have been enjoying our series of articles here. We have some big news about DUST 514 coming out this week and wanted to write a more personal note about it here, to you.
The development of DUST 514 has been an amazing experience, as we at CCP pioneer new frontiers for console games in collaboration with Sony. It has really been a process of exploring and breaking new ground – running an MMO service that needs constant updates on a console, microtransactions on a console, connecting an MMO on console to an MMO on PC in a real time shared universe and the Marketplace between the two – and there’s even more to come. Today, I’m writing about one more of those things – DUST 514 will be free to play on PlayStation 3!
In the last PlayStation.Blog post I introduced you to the three weapon classes in DUST 514: Heavy, Light and Sidearm. In this post, I wanted to pick a few weapons that changed the way that the development team played when we added them to the game.
Gamers don’t always realize how long it can take for a weapon to make the leap from the drawing board to being fully functional and kicking ass in the game. It needs to be concepted, built, textured, animated, weapon logic needs to be engineered, sounds created, various values set up, tested, debugged, and tweaked. As you can imagine, all this takes quite a while, which means you spend a lot of time playing your game with a limited set of gear. Over time, we add new weapons to the game and they can radically alter the balance of play because they open up new possibilities in combat. Below are some examples.
How do you build a better warrior? Militaries have tried for centuries to answer that question, but you’ll be able to figure it out for yourself when DUST 514 launches next year. Infantry dropsuits are designed to protect and sustain the wearer in even the harshest environments. Different dropsuits offer specific bonuses to speed, mobility, defense and configurability. Like starships and planetary vehicles, dropsuits come in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with a unique slot configuration and powergrid (PG) and CPU that inform the decisions you make when customizing your chosen dropsuit.
The number and type of slots determine the modules (interchangeable hardware components that enhance or otherwise alter the functionality of the dropsuit), weapons, and equipment you can fit. The slot types available on dropsuits are as follows:
The handheld weapons are a key part of any MMOFPS and DUST 514 is no exception. There were a few things that were very important to us.
Firstly, we wanted to avoid the feeling of “Vietnam in space” that you sometimes see in sci-fi games. The goal was to create weapons that had recognizable roles but used more advanced technologies than the equivalent weapons of today. The power of these guns would tear apart a modern day battlefield. In DUST 514 the only way your mercenary can survive the power of these weapons is due to the advanced shielding and armor of the dropsuits they wear. Without them, simply firing these weapons would severely injure or even kill you!
Secondly, it was important to us that the weapons felt like a natural part of the EVE universe. In the same way that the ships in EVE have distinct racial designs and specialties, the weapons of DUST 514 had to encapsulate the values and technology of the race that created them.
Vehicle classes in DUST 514 resemble modern day battlefield armored vehicles but are more menacing…and multitudes more lethal. You can also customize the vehicles with weapons and modules to ensure highly dynamic and constantly evolving gameplay where no single vehicle can impose absolute supremacy. The ultimate goal is to create an experience where players make meaningful choices based on their surroundings and situations when deploying vehicles.
Vehicles are highly customizable; these units can be fitted with a broad arsenal of armaments, bolstered by modules that can be installed to apply bonuses and abilities to further enhance a vehicle’s combat effectiveness. Players will be able to choose arms from all the familiar EVE Online weapon classes, from energy-based laser weapons, blaster and rail cannon hybrid technology to traditional projectile and missile weaponry. Each of these weapon types are divided over racial factions, having an affinity towards vehicle hulls from similar origins. Vehicles like the Caldari heavy attack Vehicle (HAV) for example, are well suited to using technologies embraced by the Caldari, such as their powerful armor-rupturing railgun cannons.
DUST 514 is an MMOFPS coming to PS3 with large-scale vehicle and infantry combat taking place in – and with a real time connection to – the EVE Online universe on PC. Players are able to band up into corporations (e.g. guilds) and wage territorial conquest on thousands of planets. Following is a thematic description of Rapid Deployment Vehicles, or RDVs. The RDVs deliver vehicles to players on the battlefield, provided that they own the vehicle’s blueprint, and are skilled for its operation. The RDVs are AI driven, with a robust pathfinding system that allows them to deploy anywhere on even the largest battlefields. (We will give more insight into the game’s vehicle mechanics in a blog post soon.)
Shrouded in advanced optical stealth and guided by automated networked navigation systems, the J42 “Sky Lift” RDV (Rapid Deployment Vehicle) drone is able to deliver even the heaviest armor, with pinpoint accuracy, anywhere on the battlefield. The proliferation of this invaluable tech has changed the face of ground warfare in the EVE universe, giving front-line commanders the ability to strike enemy positions with little warning or reinforce vulnerable points at a moment’s notice.