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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Here's Dust in your eyes.

This is Friday's post come early (I try for a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule if you hadn't noticed yet.) Last night when I logged into Eve Online I saw an announcement that Dust 514 Beta would soon be thrown open to all Eve Online players. As I have an XBox 360, I pretty much ignored this announcement. Besides, the only FPS that really ever appealed to me was LAN based Unreal Tournament. That rocked!

Today, I get an alert for an article over on where the producer of Dust 514, Brandon Laurino aka CCP Jian, announced that the first integration of Dust 514 with Eve Online will happen on the Singularity Test Server (SiSi) on August 21st - less than two weeks away! That certainly clarifies the previous night's announcement about opening Dust 514 to all Eve Players.

The statement by CCP Jian gives details that I have personally been waiting to come from Iceland. I find it curious that they are, instead, coming by way of Shanghai. I'd love to point at this as the first indication of the tail wagging the dog but that conclusion is only tenuously supported by this update and certainly premature. But here you have it, some juicy tidbits of info about things coming to Eve Online via the Dust 514 producer.

The first of these juicy tidbits I want to cover is Orbital Strike. To me this is the most fascinating aspect of the Eve/Dust interaction. In the article, CCP Jian states,

"letting squad leaders call in Orbital Strikes from the War Barge flying overhead when their squad achieves certain conditions in battle.
This is just the first level of Orbital Strike capability."
This is the first I've actually heard of them having their own barges, but I don't actually go out of my way to learn such things. It makes me wonder though, can I shoot those barges down? It only seems fair considering what CCP Jian then says about what Dust Mercenaries can do against the eventual capsuleer delivered Orbital Strike.
"But Mercs on the ground won’t be helpless. We’ll soon add the Orbital Artillery outpost on the ground they can use to attack EVE Online ships in space."
Say what! Harrumph! Well, I suppose that's only fair. Just make sure we can kill those orbital barges too would you CCP Jian?

It seems that certain turret types and certainly pilot skill levels will affect the effectiveness of the Orbital Strike. However, the mercenary's skill level on the ground will also be a factor. That's an interesting twist. I am sure a mercenary's skills will have a direct correlation on their cost. That means a small corporation like mine probably couldn't afford really good mercenary's. An alliance like Goonswarm could. That system certainly has the potential of being another war-dec cost fiasco. On the surface of it, it certainly isn't doing the little guys any favors.

The second most exciting thing I got from this update was actually a technical one. They are providing the ability to use a keyboard and mouse with the Playstation console. That's an interesting thing to take an entire paragraph to discuss. It got me wondering what the motivation could be for mentioning it so prominently. First I wondered if this meant it would be easier to port the Dust client to the PC and MAC once CCP's exclusive agreement with Sony is over. But I don't know if there will ever be an expiration of that agreement. I hope so, it's probably the only way I'd ever try Dust. I've nothing against Playstation, it's just not the console I have. I know I am not the only one in this predicament.

Then another possible reason for this announcement hit me. You really can't play Eve Online without a keyboard and mouse. What if this is being done so they can port the Eve client to the Playstation instead? Now that's effing interesting. With the universal acceptance of 1080p as the T.V. standard for the foreseeable future, this would open up Eve Online to a completely new type of capsuleer. I can't even begin to guess how this would affect New Eden... Okay, of course I can guess.

Initially I see Dust mercenaries, who really only want to shoot people in the face, thinking they could get a leg up on those other people by controlling their own Orbital Strike. To do that they'd have to be a capsuleer. So we'd get a class of capsuleer who would only be interested in flying the Orbital Strike version of a dreadnaught. They'd be a Dust alt. However, they could (and I think probably would) eventually branch out as they overcame the learning cliff. That would bring fresh blood and a different perspective on what Eve should be like. What type of perspective? Well, I am fairly certain it would be the PvP oriented perspective. Perhaps CCP has already realized this and that explains Crucible, Inferno and everything else that's all war, all the time.

The third thing in the update I'd like to point out is the Instant Battle Matchmaking system. I am extremely envious of this system from just this one short paragraph. Why? Here's why.
"In addition, the matchmaking system has been implemented to intelligently place solo players and squads into matches based on skill, creating a more inviting shooter experience, especially for new players." (emphasis mine)
I want this for Eve Online dammit! This just might be the earth mover that can reduce the learning cliff to a small hill. Can you imagine an Eve Online tutorial arena where noobs are matched by skill points and ship types to practice PvP without getting squashed by some jerk with 75 million skill points? Would that not be a  "a more inviting shooter experience, especially for new players?" In my last post, I pondered whether the sink or swim nature of Eve contributed to the large number of capsuleer drownings - know as unsubscribing in the real world. The sandbox is ruled by beach bullies and the 90 pound weaklings aren't going to waste their time and money on it. No one likes to eat sand. Okay, I've taken that metaphor way too far but that doesn't change the reality that Eve Online needs a way around this problem: a way that doesn't detract from the nature of Eve Online as a harsh and unforgiving mistress. Why can't we have instant PvP tutorials for those that just want to practice on an even playing field? If CCP is wise enough to build this into Dust, then why haven't they seen this could be of great benefit to Eve Online? I wish I knew.

The other thing in this that makes me think we're getting the short end of the stick from CCP is this.
"In addition, we’re launching a free companion app on the Vita, DUST 514: Neocom, to augment your gameplay experience and let you customize your fittings, train skills, use the market, browse the starmap, and much more, on the go anytime and anywhere." (emphasis mine)
WTF CCP, throw some old dogs a few gnawed bones. If you aren't planning on bringing something like this to Eve Online, you'll find the Jita Riots were a walk in the park on a sunny day in comparison to the anger you'll feel if you don't. Eve players have asked for this for as long as I can remember. If you give it to Dust players and leave us out... well, you'll only have yourselves to blame. I think our position on this as players has been quite known for some time. We deserve it. We've been here all along. The fickle console players you hope to milk for mega amounts of cash will be here tomorrow and gone just as quickly. Treat us right and your loyal, dedicated and totally addicted Eve players will be here forever.

And the last thing I'll leave you all with is this simple question. Now do you understand why our Christmas update seems to be so light on content? I am certain working out the bugs on SiSi caused by the integration of Dust 514's Precursor will keep everyone in CCP, on both sides of the world, more occupied than they'll ever admit.

Fly careful.


  1. Just a quick note about why the information came from Shanghai not Iceland: CCP's Dust team are almost all based in Atlanta and Shanghai. There are few to none in Iceland.

    1. Understood. That wasn't my point though. It was an off hand reference about the tail versus the dog.

    2. It is still CCP. And they are very clear about the setup that DUST514 is not just a game on the same IP, but very much the same game on a different platform.

      Consequently, I feel the reference to be exaggerated.

    3. Hendrik, I'm guessing here... but you seem to be a relative new comer to the game. There are many long time Eve players who do not exactly see it that way. Some (and I am not saying me) see Dust 514 as a drain on CCP resources that could be better put to use making Eve Online better. To them, Dust 514 is a leach attached to Eve Online. There is a very real concern that Dust 514 will take over and Eve Online will only be kept in a supporting role - no new content and no real fixes for the issue within Eve Online. Read some Eve blogger archives if you think it's exaggerated. It is not. Yes, both games belong to CCP. But why is Dust 514 headquartered in Shanghai and not Iceland? Yes, they have people in Atlanta, but that only happened last summer when CCP closed down their other game and let go a bunch of people. If it's all one IP, why the two separate locations?

  2. Eve players will get their out of game tool to change skills, msrket orders and stuff. Its called CREST, the eve REST API!!

    1. Exactly! Because the EVE community is smart (I'm not saying other communities aren't) and they have the most open game system to work with -- the PC -- to bring such companion app to the players. Console players, VITA customers, don't want to code, they cannot even do it. Not only one, but many. In all flavors desired. CREST to the rescue.

  3. yeah nuno is right, they talk about on the csm minutes, but seems ccp is not confident enough to release it for now, but it will soon

  4. "Can you imagine an Eve Online tutorial arena where noobs are matched by skill points and ship types to practice PvP without getting squashed by some jerk with 75 million skill points? Would that not be a "a more inviting shooter experience, especially for new players?"
    That would be a great thing to implement if arena type pvp is ever introduced into EvE, but don't forget that in today's open world pvp, a 500k SP noob can still tackle a several billion worth ship piloted by a multimillion SP character, and allow his team to get the kill.

    A concept, I must add, that is perfectly put into practice by the noob-friendly goons you hate so much.

    1. Whoa there Elloise, I need to correct a misperception in your part. I do not hate goons. I do not hate anyone. The goons and I have somewhat opposing play styles and that puts us on opposite ends of the table so-to-speak, but hate is way too strong a word. I did not like the war declared against me for what I said concerning The Mittani. There is a BIG difference between hating a person or even the organization, and disliking what they do. Just because I dislike being warred upon by the largest alliance in New Eden doesn't mean I hate it's members. If you are a goon and you feel personally hated that is regretful. All I can say is I don't hate you or any individual goon or even Goonswarm though I may not like some of the things you do.

  5. Mabrick, thanks for posting this. It got me thinking about how EVE treats new players in relation to the larger (and harsher) world of New Eden, so I posted a longer response on Margin Call (

  6. Mabrick, let us know when we can use orbital artillery to gank mining barges from dust. Thanks in Advance.


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