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DUST_concept

DUST Mercs is a Dust 514 dedicated blog which has been lining up and reporting on DUST 514 from day one. We invite you to visit their blog at dustmercs.blogspot.com

In our last major piece we discussed how the monotony of Skirmish and Ambush could hurt Dust 514 by not offering enough variety in regard to game modes. To a certain extent the game has already become somewhat bland since our Open Beta goal is to grind to the SP cap in Skirmish or Ambush and then log off. While we realize this isnt the retail version, seeing the same maps, objectives and overall goals with slight variations can quickly become mundane. The good news is few IPs have the endless supply of lore that EVE and Dust can draw from. The key is giving us a variety of game structures to choose from. With both PVE and PVP options, the opportunities for varied content seem endless.

While the content for Dust 514 is being generated constantly, the beginning was outlined in the book Templar One by Tony Gonzalez. One look at the way immortal clones and quantum entanglement is used to explain the respawn mechanic shows how important staying true to the lore is to the folks at CCP.


And we applaud this. While Dust will certainly have an open world aspect where corporation CEOs can select company goals and intentions, we’ve gone on record several times supporting separating contract types with game types. Skirmish and Ambush may be OK for casual players just wanting to jump in for 15-20 minutes of shooting, but hardcore players need more variety and EVE has ample content from which to draw.

We applaud recent Open Beta events like the Uprising content that focused on Tibus Heths hatred of clones, but what gameplay really needs are contracts that offer a completely different setup and objective when we accept them. Uprising offered us nothing different except another variation of existing game types. Helping Mordu’s Legion with a rapid extraction? Where? All we saw was Skirmish with a storyline that was written after a victor was determined. With the depth of New Eden we expected so much more.

In Templar One, Mordu’s Legion accepted a contract on the life of Tybus Heth though it was thwarted, hired out to the Minmatar Republic to defend an installation, and the operative/assassin Thanatos did the recon on Core Freedom that provided CONCORD with info about the existence of Amarr’s immortal clone army [she also tried to acquire the first templar, but you’ll have to read the book to find out how that went] These are all examples of content that should be used to provide Dust 514 with more depth.

Few will forget this story that hinted at the merger of Dust and EVE. So should Dust mercenaries have the ability to accept NPC contracts that launch us into game modes which specific goals and unique structures? We say YES. This kind of variety would allow players to choose specific experiences all while taking full advantage of the ample content and history New Eden has at its disposal.

We hope to see a system where we can toggle to the contracts available, verify what the contract holder expects in the description, and then are launched into a game type with that specific goal in mind. Whether it be destroying an installation, stealing assets, extracting VIPs from captors or breaking into a facility and downloading proprietary intel. A nice twist would allow different player corps to accept both sides of certain contracts with each having the goal of thwarting the other. In time, we should also see player corps issuing contracts as well, making the experience fully immersive. Here are some of the different contracts that could be implemented.

Extraction – We mentioned this before. We had hoped ‘The Uprising’ would offer modes where we helped extract hostages from a captor or forces ‘pinned down’ in a hot zone. Since the difficulty level here is high perhaps contracts like these would pay more.

Sabotage – This is pretty simple. Destroy a facility, space station or maybe even an asset like an experimental HAV or weapon. It could be anything really. The goal here would be achieved after a certain amount of damage was done.

Recon – Its a dangerous job, but someone has to do it. Information is power, and before you take SOV you may want to know the lay of the land first. Recon specialists who hire out and provide intel on the assets, layout and structures on a planet could be invaluable. Especially since they need to avoid perimeter patrols, alarms and other warning systems designed to tell the owners they have unwanted visitors.

Acquire – This contract type would entail taking an asset, person or even intel. The job here would be to grab the ‘package’ and then escape to the rally point for retrieval.

Escort – This would involve getting personnel, or assets from one point to another without harm or before they could be destroyed. The key here would be to provide atleast three dropoff locations for the convoy to choose from.

Assassination – We discussed this with CCP Falcon on the official Dust forums. Isnt this exactly what happened when an assassins bullet failed to kill Tybus Heth? The FPS landscape is littered with respawn and run and gun mechanics. If there is any developer brave enough to bring back a single death game mode focused on stealth and methodical execution, it is CCP. What could be more exciting and nerve wrenching than a contract for limited personnel [1-4 players] where one death meant being failure or being reduced to observing from a faraway CRU for the rest of the match? While the targets would almost certainly have to be NPCs, PVE provides the flexibility for contracts like these. We would also love to see both sides of contracts like these opened up so that we see elite assassins and bodyguards for hire. The persistence in New Eden shines here as well. This isnt your normal MMO where everyone launches into a closed instance and does the same dull missions. Once a contract is fulfilled here it would be completed and removed from available contracts. The person who completed it has notoriety. Imagine a player known as the most deadly assassin in New Eden? The implications are awesome. So are the payouts!

Salvage – Missions like these could provide players a PVE outlet to search for rare drops and other valuable assets. Whether searching abandoned stations or ancient Jovian enclaves still protected by drones, the opportunity for variety is obvious. And what if another player salvage team stumbles upon the same location as yours? Do you engage them or work together and split the loot?

Orbital Strike – This is both simple and open for a certain amount of intrigue as well. If your corp doesnt have capsuleer pilots you must contract them. Hopefully the person who accepts your contract doesnt have ulterior motives..

Bounty – As our friend Exmaple Core found out, there are always those willing to pay for bloodshed. This mechanic could allow the bounty hunter to follow their target into matches for a short period. There they could be paid a portion of the bounty for each time they killed the target, with 5 kills or so earning the full bounty. It would be nice if the target stood out with yellow script [instead of red] when sighted. It would also be nice to see CONCORD bounties on players in violation of secured space [like firing on allies]. This would give us a number of NPC Bounties to choose from. While there is no capture or jail mechanic in Dust having ‘caught’ violators pay hefty CONCORD fines would have the same effect. Especially if it meant players going into the unheard of realm of negative ISK. Team Killing isnt as fun as it used to be :)

The key here is that PVP and PVE experiences are both available. This popular post on the forums full of great ideas outlines how much PVE adds to this title. NPC Corps provide the means to provide variety and endless amount of contracts for players to select from. The recon and assassin contracts also provide outlets for the lone wolf types who loathe working with others. As always, we’ll continue to attempt to help push and publish ideas that
help establish, enhance and grow the Dust 514 community as much as we can. Have any ideas that need sharing? Would you like to join our staff as a writer? Be sure to
contact us at [email protected]

8 Comments

  1. ESTENI

    good piece. a good way to let players choose their own experiences.

    February 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm Reply
  2. Habib

    GOSU CAMPER kills NOOBIE INFANTRY with MILITIA SNIPER RIFLE!!!
    YES!!!

    New Eden Camper Strike!!!
    Because every FPS requires you to go through the sewers…

    February 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm Reply
  3. Toriessian

    I support what you're saying. Think the game has some growing to do before it gets there though

    February 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm Reply
  4. Nignignignigspic

    Remember that Dust is still in beta… Bitch about copy/pasta not enough story line, etc etc. When we get the retail version…

    February 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm Reply
  5. Bebop

    This article needs a "Spoiler Alert" for people who haven't read the books.

    February 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm Reply
  6. Ship to ship combat. With the goal of capturing ships.

    Surface to orbital weapons that can be hacked and maned by dusties to shoot ships in orbit.

    The ability to have a battle on a moon for a facility that would allow even temporary hostile control of a POS in orbit, or the hacking of said POS, or the modification of POS or sov module reinforcement timers.

    Assassination of EVE pilots by hired crews of Dusties in Incarna. Contract would be out, if the EVE pilot wishes to use public areas he would need to hire protection. Engagement would begin something like the way a kill right is activated in EVE in space.

    Dust battles to disrupt moon goo or PI production. Defender protects installations, attacker tries to destroy them.

    Dust battles to control player owned space stations in nullsec.

    Dust battles to steal or disrupt ship production at POSes.

    The sky is the limit.

    February 13, 2013 at 3:20 pm Reply
    1. Gassto

      Great Ideas, especially with the Assassination thing. Could almost be an ineresting mode for further integration into Dust/EvE community, besides just working together.

      If the integration is used to "the limit" it could seriously be a great, amazing universe.

      I just wish they would've included the 360 into the PS3 console market, would add just that many more Mercs to the server.

      +1 good sir.

      February 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm Reply
  7. Thinking about the mechanics of moon battles, or other nullsec operations. You would need to drop a module that could spawn your black ops Dust team I guess, on the planet or near the facility in question. Once they are there, an alert would go out, and he defending group would need to arrange a defense force, either a standing group or from contracts. Black ops ships in EVE would become really important for deploying their attacking teams in this case. Merc corps would be on standby or maybe on retainer, waiting in case a facility was attacked. The hacking modules and timers would have to be set up to have a really long cycle time so as to prevent an attacking group from just dropping in, screwing things up before a defense could be raised, and then getting out. Maybe there culd be some sort of mechanic that would trap the Dusties there unless the attacker or contract holder was able to get in with another ship and extract them. Obviously for covert operations/black ops like this, the incumbent would likely have the airstrike advantages, and maybe a numerical advantage built in as well. There are so many cool things that could be done.

    February 13, 2013 at 6:04 pm Reply

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