How DUST 514 and EVE Online players will blow each other up
In a match to secure and hold key locations on a battlefield , one squad in particular is kicking ass. Tight teamwork, steady kills and successful objective taking brings in the war points and the squad leader receives intel that the team's efficiency and skill have earned him access to additional battle support. Suddenly a tank rolls in over the horizon. It's accompanied by two heavy class mercs wielding heavy machine guns and a logistics class to the rear buffing the armor. A horizontal downpour of lead rain takes out all the squad members leaving only the leader alive. Taking cover, he sends co-ordinates to an allied spaceship that's orbiting above the district under contention and moments later a barrage of blue and white energy bombards the tank, wiping it and all supporting units out.
An EVE pilot in orbit locks onto the conflict zone.
This scenario doesn't sound particularly new or revolutionary until we're told that this squad are gamers playing a free-to-play MMOFPS on a console and the orbital strike was sent from a PC gamer who piloted his ship to their exact location in a universe of over 7000 star systems in order to deliver his strike. This is one of the most intriguing and satisfying foundational features of the recent marriage between the PS3 exclusive DUST 514 and the decade old Eve Online.
PSU was recently invited over to the Icelandic HQ of CCP for an up close look at the feature now that both games are working harmoniously on the one server; Tranquillity. Here's how it works: In matches you earn War Points for many battle related tasks such as killing, resurrecting, healing, replenishing ammo and hacking. When a squad collectively earns enough WP, the squad leader receives a message saying he has earned an orbital strike. This can be selected at will from the d-pad menu and once activated takes you to the top down map where you point and click on your target. A sinister 'warped' sound and a brief laser lock-on animation announces your PC allies aerial onslaught. The guy on PC has to have a spaceship equipped with the right weapons, have bought the ammo for the strike and have trained the skills necessary to bring it all together.
This is how it looks on the giving end of an orbital strike.
During our time at CCP, I had the opportunity to sit down with Kristoffer Touborg who is the Lead Game Designer for EVE Online and talked to him about orbital warfare. I asked him to explain what we had just been shown in the demo.
"The first version we're getting is fairly simple. What we did today was we took the Destroyer out. It doesn't really matter what race you are and at launch it's going to work with projectile, laser and hybrid ammo. It's deliberately in the Destroyer because you can train for that in about 12 hours so it's extremely easy to get into and the ammunition is fairly cheap so if you want to play EVE and if you want to engage in this you can do that essentially on day one. The type of strike you're getting from that weapon is kind of like a target precision thing; it's not going to blow up the entire map. Further down the line what we really want to do is have four levels of strike. We have the bottom level now that's very tactical but on the top level we want a very very expensive strike that will basically end worlds. The idea is that this isn't something you'll fire every day but when you do you're basically scorching a planet and it doesn't matter if your own guys are down there. It's like 'alright I'm giving up here' and pressing the button."
Touborg went on to explain that the lower level orbital strikes need to ... (continued on next page)
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