Itís been a long road from the gameís initial announcement at Gamescom in 2009 to the live prototype at Fanfest to todayís unveiling at E3. But we thank you all for the patience and enthusiasm youíve shown for the project to date and hope that youíll enjoy what weíll be revealing today and in the coming months. As frustrating as the lack of information about the game might have been for some of you, I can guarantee that no-one wanted to tell you about DUST 514 more than the team that has been hard at work bringing the game to life these last few years. We began as a small team focused on pre-production but in the past year have grown into a small army.
My name is Atli Mar, but you can call me CCP Praetorian. I am the Creative Director of DUST 514. This is the first dev blog of many to come, and Iíll start things off by giving you a high level overview of the game, and some of the philosophy that guides us in the development of DUST 514.
SO... WHAT IS THIS DUST 514 THING ANYWAYS?
You turn on your PS3, and launch DUST 514. You choose the character you created before, and log onto our servers. You are standing in your Mercenary Quarters. This is your private space and where you spend downtime between battles. From here you can access chat channels, the marketplace, fitting, the starmap, leaderboards, and much more. An icon is flashing. You have new mail in your inbox; a call to arms.
One of your corporationís planetary assets is under attack. The battle starts in less than 20 minutes and the corporation chat channel is abuzz with discussions of the best fits and strategy to deploy. Losing will be devastating; the surface infrastructure constitutes a fairly significant percentage of the corporationís bottom-line. A capsuleer mentions that your corpís fleet has not been mobilized and that the enemy has already moved in and have begun capturing the OCC (Orbital Command Center). It doesnít look good.
You are running low on blueprints for your preferred fit, advanced variant infantry assault armor, loaded with damage modifiers, a vehicle drop link and a Prototype Light Assault Rifle. Usually your corporation stocks basic stuff in the shared hangars, but this stuff isnít basic. You worked hard getting there, training the right skills and acquiring all the right blueprints. You decide to replenish your fit from the marketplace. Just one more thing and youíll be ready: your vehicle. You own blueprints of a standard Caldari HAV (itīs rubbish, but itís yours) and your pride and joy, an Ishukone Black Ops variant Dropship fitted as a cloaked tackler with a faction Cloak module, two small missile launchers and a shield tank.
This fit has served you well in the past, but you wonder if this time itíll be good enough. The battle is about to start.
Your heart is in your stomach. You take a deep breath and deploy into battle.
DUST 514 isn't simply another FPS or MMO -- it's a hybrid of these two game types: a Persistent Shooter. It takes elements from both genres to create a cohesive experience that is more than just the sum of its parts. This is a different play experience from what most console players have come to expect. For DUST 514 to work, the MMO and FPS aspects must be seamlessly merged to the point that both feed and fuel one other. Itís all about persistence. Your victories, your failures and your decisions stay with you always. For better or worse, every minute spent in our world counts. Every action you take matters.
DUST 514 shares its setting with, and is connected in real-time with our PC MMO, EVE Online. The setting is one single, open galaxy with thousands of solar systems, where players continually struggle against each other for territorial control and access to the most valuable resources. Those battles rage in space and soon, in DUST 514, on the planets themselves. EVE Online capsuleers and DUST mercenaries form alliances of thousands of players and take collective action on a scale unknown in any other game.They strive for greater power, greater control over the galaxy, and greater immersion in the EVE universe.They take the setting we provide and truly make it their own; this persistence of world events is what awaits you, the DUST mercenaries,as well.
With DUST 514 we intend to provide an open setting and give players the tools to define and be part of the experience. We do this instead of spoon-feeding the player, as is the case with "theme park" games where everything is a directed experience and an individualís impact and influence on the world is minimal. Producing directed content is not scalable and so many MMOs fail because of their inability to keep things fresh.
For many FPS players, itís enough to play the same maps in the same way. Like a sports event, the rules and where the game is played remain the same; the only difference each time being the result. But thatís something many FPS games already do very well. What we're bringing is not only providing fun FPS matches, we're empowering players to define and influence their world. We're giving them the tools to alter the play experience in their favor; increasing versatility, re-playability, and reinforcing the concept that actions in DUST 514 have consequences.
We want to foster more meaningful interaction among DUST 514 players (beyond lobby smack!) and one of the basic ways that DUST 514 players will self-organize is through corporations, the core social unit in DUST.
Your corp is also something that you can collectively build upon as your membership grows. In regular FPS clan terms, it's like your clan being able to not just have the bragging rights of leaderboard rankings, but you're also gaining wealth, prestige, and influence upon the actual game setting through your successes. Or losing these advantages through your failures. As with an FPS clan, a good corp will be something you can be proud of but it's also something you create and control the fate of. Corps will offer you the ability to collectively prepare for battle, unwind after combat, and discuss what you all want to do next.
This degree of socialization becomes even more significant when you factor in how vital corps are to both EVE Online and DUST 514. Thatís because EVE and DUST share the same player-run corporations. That is to say, EVE Online players can join DUST 514 corps. Likewise, DUST 514 players can join EVE Online corporations.These social institutions are crucial to the long-term prospects of DUST 514.
Our business model for DUST 514 differs from single retail purchase and optional premium DLC of other games on the market. Instead, DUST is designed to utilize virtual goods sales. I will leave details of the economy system to our resident economist, Eino Joas, who will go over all of this with you in a devblog soon-ish, but here is how this works on a high level:
DUST 514 will, as EVE Online does, have a dynamic virtual economy and market that offers the tools that will give you a competitive edge, when used skillfully. Players are able to purchase different gear to equip before deploying into battle, using InterStellar Kredits (ISK), the in-game earned currency of the EVE universe, or through real money currency, called Aurum (AUR). This provides players with flexibility and adaptability in how they approach a combat scenario. Certain items are only available through ISK transactions, while others are only available through AUR. These are then traded freely on a player-driven secondary marketplace.
Of course, your rivals will aim to do the same, fueling a perpetual arms race between merc outfits, with an expanding range of options available in lockstep with your character's progression. Each side of a given conflict will create character armor and vehicle loadouts with a mix of raw killing power, physical augmentations, and sophisticated electronics. Those choices will factor into your strategy for defeating your opposition.
DUST 514 will be continually developed and improved upon over time and there will always be new features and aspects to DUST just around the corner. Oh, and all expansion packs will always be free.
Atli ďPraetorianĒ Mar