It’s been a little over five months since Dust 514 made its official debut on the PS3. It was the first time an FPS had been integrated had been integrated into a strategic MMORPG like EVE:Online. An opportunity for a deep metagame to brought into a genre that mostly consists of the same army dudes and master chiefs over and over again. And while Dust has delivered on being an enjoyable FPS, it hasn’t really integrated itself into the world of EVE in an extremely impactful manner as of yet. But the devs knew the games wasn’t at 100% before launch. Like most MMO’s, there was still tweaking that needed to be done beyond their monthly update schedule.
With that in mind, the focus for the Dust team over the next year will be to put more “MMO” in their “MMOFPS”. The first step in accomplishing this goal is to make it relevant to people who know nothing about EVE get into the game. The lore and meaning behind what you’re actually doing and how it relates to the other game can be confusing to those who aren’t familiar with it. Finding a way to make the game appeal to a broader range of players is a constant work in progress for any MMO, and while they aren’t quite ready to tell us everything they have in mind down the line, they do promise something cool and immersive.
Right now there isn’t much incentive to choose one faction to fight for over another, but that will soon be changing. Now, depending on what side you choose and your actions in battle you will either gain favor or become extremely despised by different groups. Avoiding killing your teammates with friendly fire will now be a factor and fighting for the same group consistently will reward loyalty points. The loyalty points themselves will be monetized and players will be able to purchase boosts for their characters to help them progress and in some cases will help leapfrog to items specific to certain factions. This also means that players will no longer receive any ISK for completing private contracts from EVE Corporations. But you will be able to sell your faction specific items in the players market for ISK, creating more of a barter system for the economy.
Part of making Dust 514 more integrated will be coming from the EVE side. The orbital strike feature is getting a makeover. EVE players will have to stay within range of a beacon until a timer runs out in order to issue a giant laser explosion from space. If an opponent's ship enters the beacon radius, the countdown timer will pause until the space battle can be resolved. Ship pilots will get loyalty points of their own for their corp to use for their part of the fight.
The concept of war barges is also being tossed around for mass player transport to Planetary Conquest battles with human pilots. The possibility of the barges being destroyed in transit would be very real and I would think this might be how the upcoming EVE: Valkyrie title factors into the trifecta. They’d also be vulnerable to orbital strikes from other ships in the area.
The dev team is also working on ways to make the two current EVE titles economies closer together through Planetary Conquest by adding exportable resources from controlled areas. Once the resources reach a launch station the industrial progress would, hypothetically kick in.
While all these new features are just things they’re tooling with, there are quite a few more tangible upgrades being rolled out soon for Dust 514. User interfaces are getting brushed up, starting with the market 2.0. The new market will allow for player trading as mentioned earlier and will hopefully help boost commerce.
And as for Dust 514 coming to the PS4? Right now, if they are planning anything, they’re keeping it very tight lipped. One of the Dust keynote speakers at EVE Vegas even went as far to say that there are “80 Million PS3 and zero PS4’s in the world”. But with a new generation of consoles just around the corner, that tune could always change. Still, the PS3 will probably be getting a price drop this holiday and this is F2P title, so they just might get the influx of new players they’re currently trying to attract.