Recently PSU was invited over to Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland, for the annual EVE FanFest event. FanFest is a gamer gathering that has EVE and DUST 514 players from around the globe embarking on a pilgrimage for three days of special events, as well as keynotes, presentations, and roundtables, where the future of CCP's games--EVE Online and DUST 514--is discussed. By the end of it all, CCP had laid out a very clear roadmap that spans from May 6, with the release of Uprising, to further down the line.
In a pre-FanFest stream, Senior Game Designer Gavin Frankle revealed that, in the interest of "expectation control," CCP is going to be a lot clearer and more open on what exactly it's working on behind-the-scenes. During FanFest, ‘DUST 514: Advancing the Core’ was the presentation that focused on this philosophy of transperency and outlined what gamers can expect in the next couple years.
CCP’s basic strategy for now is to focus on the systems and technologies that they have at the moment and to build upon them while fleshing out all content. Dropsuits, weapons, items, and vehicles will each have a racial variant (there are four races) that affects the nature of their usage. Additionally, the core FPS gameplay elements--vehicle control, character control, aiming, the HUD, modules, module functionality, and more--will all get enhanced. In 12 months, DUST 514 will have received another three or four updates and CCP can move on to elements considered extraneous to the game's foundation.
After this has been accomplished, we will probably start seeing some of the other cool features that have been mentioned in the past, like Gladiator mode, where your corporation can host custom corp battles, stream them, and allow ISK betting.
Creative Director Atli Mar said that a Weapons Lab was under construction that would act as a “try before you buy” shooting range to test weapons, dropsuits and equipment.
In what Executive Producer Brandon Laurino affectionately calls “Penetration” mode, console mercs will be able to breach and engage EVE ships on PC via some sort of drilling pod. The idea of console players boarding EVE ships on PC was brought up at FanFest 2012 and I’m personally very happy to see this develop.
Then there is the PvE mode with Rogue Drones. In districts held in Planetary Conquest, corporations will be able to go onto the planet’s surface and engage rogue drones. There will be a survival mode and a hunt-and-destroy mode where you have to seek out hives. Further down the line, players will be able to salvage drones for resources that can be sold to EVE pilots. In turn, EVE Online players will be manufacturing the weapons, armor, and vehicles that DUST 514 players buy in return.
In the 'CCP Presents' keynote, Laurino showcased other unique features, including a more vertical level with anti-gravity gameplay. With such features augmenting the current experience, the future is looking very dynamic and exciting in the EVE Universe.
Below is a brief overview of what was brought up during the presentation, but I urge you to go here and watch the stream itself too, as there is a great Q&A with the fans at the end.
Near future content (< 12 months)
Gameplay controls - Aim assist improvements are in the works. With 'aim friction', the reticle slows down once it hits its target, making finer movements possible. 'Aim adhesion' moves the reticle slightly as the target moves to help with tracking, while 'aim magnetism' rotates your character to keep the target in your view. Gavin assured the audience that aim assist functions will be “only working when you don’t notice them.”
Scanning system - Part of the electronic warfare set, the basics of scanning will be improved, giving additional info like enemy intel and whether you've been scanned.
Hacking - Hacking deployable equipment (like infantry-deployed turret installations) and infantry equipment like nanohives (ammo regen points), drop links (spawn points), etc. will be implemented. This adds another layer in strategy concerning where these items are placed.
War point - A cooldown was created in response to abuse of triage points. This will be refined alongside new WP rewards such as headshot bonuses, dropship bonuses, and scanning bonuses for spotting foes.
Caldari and Amar light dropsuits and Caldari, Galente, and Minmatar heavy suits will be added.
The Pilot - Weak outside of vehicles but in a vehicle this role increases overall efficiency and gives a real boost to vehicular prowess.
Commando - A large frame class with less HP but two light weapon slots allowing for a more dynamic, pure combat role.
Caldari and Minmatar assault rifles and Galente and Caldari pistols will be added.
Double grenade slots on some dropsuits.
Drop uplinks - Personal and squad-restricted uplinks that give you more control over who can use your strategically placed spawn points.
Repair tool - This will receive improvements to lock-on, which can be tricky at the moment.
Nanohives - These will be given different colored bubbles to denote what kind of benefit you’ll get from each.
Bubble shield - A deployable shield that protects you from gunfire, including from snipers.
Cloak field - Cloaking grants you predator-like stealth abilities. However, cloaking breaks if you fire and is disturbed if you move.
Stasis webifier - In EVE Online, this skill slows down ships by 50-60%. Might we get the ability to freeze tanks and dropships in their place?
Energy drainer - In EVE Online, a similar skill transfers the enemy’s energy into your ship. We can speculate what that may equate to in the DUST 514 realm.
Ferroscale plates - Gives you less HP but you don’t suffer the speed penalty.
Reactive plates - Gives you less HP but has an additional armor repair bonus.
Shield energiser - Sacrifices shield HP for a regen rate buff.
Power Diagnostic Unit (PDU) - Gives PG and reduced shield regen delay.
New Amar and Minmatar vehicle and turret variants.
Far future content (> 18 months)
Electronic Warfare - Electronic warfare gameplay will be the other side of combat. An EW merc contributes with the notion that knowledge is power. The ability to give advanced intel to your squad on the nature of your enemy, as well as manipulating their intel, is at the core of this gameplay style. The coolest example mentioned was the ability to switch off your enemies voice comms.
War Reporter and Harvester - Not much was said about these, but I presume Harvester could have something to do with salvaging dead mercs. The PvE Rogue Drone game modes are going to offer this industry aspect so it isn’t unreasonable to think it will be applied to battles too.
Race specific HUDs - Verisimilitude is "making something appear real or true" and is a word often used by CCP to talk about the EVE Universe. Making the HUD look and feel more in line with the different races and their style of technology fits with making DUST 514 feel more real in the context of EVE’s lore.
Environment-specific suits - Environment attributes that affect gameplay, such as snow levels that slow the heat build-up in weapons. Suits, weapons, and modules will be released to deal with these positive and negative planetary attributes. If you’re fighting on a district of a snowy planet, then having your squad dressed in snow-resistant armor and weaponry would give you an advantage over your enemy that they could only negate by doing the same.
Tech 3 weapon customisation - This awesome feature will allow players to create their ultimate weapon by switching in various attachments and making alterations that affect its functionality.
Nanite injector - Short term effects of using the nanite injector will include increased armor damage bonus for a set time.
Infantry-deployed installation turrets - Sentry guns that are orbitally delivered to the field.
Firing as a passenger in Light Attack Vehicles (LAV).
New vehicle classes - The fighter jet and the hover bike were revealed at FanFest, and Laurino also mentioned MTACs which are mechs, but he wasn't ready to show them to us.
These are just the informational highlights of FanFest 2013. There are plenty of things not listed here, including an informative Q&A from some of the audience, including yours truly. See the whole presentation here.
CCP has come up with a very competitive price for all this additional future content: free. That’s right! All future DUST 514 expansions, updates, and content will be free, just like the game itself. There has never been a better time to jump into the EVE Universe. Go download it free from the PlayStation Store and get sucked into the rabbit hole.
Also, if you wanna join PSU’s corporation (or, "clan", in the DUST 514 universe), then click below. We have a great team of friendly and skilled players who will help you on your journey to being a badass mercenary. With May 14--DUST 514's official launch out of open beta--just around corner, there's never been a better time to jump in.