DUST 514 Open Beta Overview
DUST 514 is the free-to-play sci-fi MMOFPS from Iceland’s Crowd Control Productions, or CCP as it’s more commonly known. It is set in the same universe as EVE Online, CCP’s notorious 10 year old spaceship MMO on PC.
In EVE, players assume the role of ‘Capsuleers’ who are immortal spaceship pilots. Through an EXTREMELY deep skill training system, they can both improve their spaceship capabilities and skill as well as assume various industry roles such as mining, production, transport, exploration, piracy and military among others. It has over 450,000 subscribers who have made massive corporations that inhabit the 7000+ star systems that comprise New Eden. Stay tuned to PSU for impressions of my voyage into New Eden later this week.
After migrating across several test servers and going through several builds, DUST 514 now resides on EVE’s server, named Tranquillity. Starting with the ‘E3 build’, beta testers went through the Precursor and Codex builds before reaching the current build; Chromosome. Having two different game genres on two different platforms sharing a single shard server where they can interact with each other is an amazing feat of software and hardware development. Where most game developers wait for the next gen technology to help them create their next masterpiece, CCP has simply forged its own.
A Dropship repairs the armor of an allied tank and buggy.
Players have a few channels of interaction at their disposal at this point in the beta. In DUST you can create corporations and recruit DUST and EVE players, as can EVE pilots. Gamers from both platforms are able to chat and voice chat in real time as well as send and receive e-mails. At the moment the most exciting interaction between these two games is the Orbital Bombardment feature. In certain game modes, PC pilots are able to fly to planets hosting battles on the PS3 and can fire precision strikes in real time down to the battlefield. To learn more about this feature in its current form and what’s coming later on, click here.
DUST 514 itself is a military FPS with many features that set it apart from the competition. Unlike most shooters, your skills in various battlefield roles need to be trained via the Skill Point system, including armor, weapons, equipment, vehicles and turrets. Some skills give you passive boosts to certain stats like your shield, armor, hack speed and weapon range and others grant you access to higher level gear. Skill Points are earned in two ways; actively on the battlefield by completing objectives and performing various actions (reviving team mates, repairing armor, resupplying ammo for example) and passively even when you’re not playing the game. It’s kind of nice knowing that when I’m at work or away from home, I’m still making some progress in game.
Training skills goes hand in hand with complete freedom to develop your merc exactly how you like to play. While the game offers the four usual archetypes of medic, heavy, assault and scout, you can blend these in any way you choose. There are currently 100 skills at your disposal to choose from which deal with everything from the development of specific weapons to classes of weapons, shield and armor, vehicles and turrets. You don’t even have to be a ground mercenary, you could train as a dropship pilot and fly your squad to objectives for rapid objective taking for example.
A merc in a Heavy Suit with his Forge Gun. Tanks and Dropships beware!
The persistence offered in this game is a very appealing proposition to me. The idea of having a highly trained and versatile mercenary that I will keep and develop over the years is a lot more appealing than buying retail shooter games and starting from scratch on each new title. Speaking in an interview with CVG, EVE Designer Kristoffer Touborg touched on this, "When it comes to ... (continued on next page) ----