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DUST

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.

The Gametrailers review trashed Dust 514, giving it a 44 out of 100 and saying it wasn’t worth your time.

If you decide to press yourself into service to experience the limited pleasures of Dust’s completely unremarkable battles, you’ll find it hard not to wonder what could have been. So much potential turned into so much dull shooting. Instead of an experience that’s been richly integrated into EVE Online, we’re left with a me-too shooter that’s eager to take and unwilling to give, doing very little to justify its own existence. It may be technically free, but it isn’t worth even a minute of your time.

IGN wasnt much kinder, saying the game was a disappointment and lacked a solid foundation, and rating the game a 5.8.

While we don’t agree with either completely, both reviews brought up aspects of the game that need improving in a very short time period. In our opinion, CCP Games can use these subpar reviews as fuel and as road-map on what to focus on.


What the negative reviewers are saying is pretty clear: ‘No quarter will be given based on the potential of what you are trying to accomplish. Iteration and constant updates sound really, really nice, but right now we think your game just isn’t very good. The big part that most of the reviewers missed, is that Dust isn’t some title that will charge you $59.99 for a bad product and will charge you additional for content that they should have added to begin with. Dust is something they’ve never seen before in that all regular updates are free and the game as it exists is simply a foundation that they will build upon.

Now we could be ‘drinking the kool-aid’ here because we know every game company tries to sell you on things they could potentially do. The thing that makes us believe is we’ve been a witness to their regular and timely support and rebalancing of the Dust. CCP Games has engaged the community at an unheard of level and their consumer friendly business model makes it so you only pay for content you decide has value. They have all the incentive in the world to make good on their promises, why? Because if the content isn’t regular and worth spending money on, no one continue putting money into the game. Players can still play the full game without spending a dime and can even go on hiatus until the content they want arrives while still gaining progressing.

So what are the things that need fixing? Most importantly how do you separate what mechanics are actually bad from the horribly dated mechanics that FPS fans are simply used to? We’re big fans of Dust, but still we’ll try to make an impartial assessment of issues that need addressing.

Framerate -This is a performance area that has to improve. We know this, players know this, CCP know this.

Lag - We wont beat a dead horse here, sufficeth to say that three years ago a shooter had 256 players on a battlefield with largely no lag. Challenge Accepted, CCP?

EVE Connection – Orbital strikes are fine. You want to know whats better? EVE players transporting mercenaries, shared third person social areas for PC and Console players, more abilities from space that affect ground battles, choosing MCC commanders from EVE or PS3, A shared economy, Player market, Player generated contracts, Orbital strikes limited by cool down, planetary weapons and penetration gameplay. These are all aspects that need to be added so that the dream of cooperative gameplay is truly realized.

PVE – MMOs provide sandboxes that support all types of playstyles. Some players prefer to compete against the environment. This is a good thing, especially if their actions still have an effect on New Eden. These are especially unique if some are open and can be joined by other entities. Imagine an assassination contract where one group is protecting the mark while the other tries to kill him. We’ve mentioned several contract types that could benefit from this. Assassination, Extraction, Escort, Salvage and even Bounties.

Communication – Dust isn’t a game you can play alone and expect to succeed. So where is its command structure and tiered chat system? Its ‘every soldier is of equal rank’ philosophy fails horribly as lack of coordination results in a high level of clusterfuck. The chat system is almost as bad, it either leaves players cut off from the larger group, or gives us the chaos of everyone talking at once. Chat badly needs command tiers, compartmentalization and special privileges [like giving the platoon leader the ability to address everyone at once if necessary]Too many games are reduced to an organized group doing what it takes to win, while hoping against all odds blueberries will as well. While not adding the ability to talk to enemies is understandable, not adding proximity chat for allies is a fail of epic proportions. As MAG showed players three years ago, allowing team communication in a shooter isnt an option, its a necessity.

User Friendly – There are a number of ways Dust can be more intuitive. Climbing ladders for one should trigger automatically, and Vaulting over obstacles similar to BF3 has been mentioned, it needs to be added as well. Wouldn’t the War Room provide a perfect place for the PL to outline his strategy before a battle or are we still believers in tactics by osmosis? Moreover, shouldn’t the War Room map work by now? Where are the chat timestamps and why aren’t weapon ranges in the marketplace? Where are the points for destroying enemy assets? The Orbital strike indicator still needs red or yellow font to make it more noticeable. There still aren’t any rewards for counter hacking. We noticed the other day that when we look down at the tacmap it doesnt allow identification of friendly personnel by call sign. This needs to be rectified so the maps intel can be a benefit to the PL and MCC Cmdr. Let’s see the ability to paint targets added ASAP. Nanite injectors fill such a key role that they have to work 100% of the time. Where is the icon that tells us if a person in a game or not? Why can’t we follow our corpmates into matches yet? What about the ability to abandon or sell a PC district?

Scale – Battles in a galaxy the scale of New Eden simply can’t be settled in matches of 16v16 or even 24v24. We’re ok with Dusts average graphics for the same reason we were fine with them in MAG. Because of the size of the environments and battles. Allowing smaller corps to make a dent in PC by giving them the option of smaller 16v16 battles is a great idea. But lets see expansion,  larger ones should support 64v64, 128v128 and perhaps even 256v256.

Corporations – As these entities are the lifeblood of Dust they have to be better supported. Corp Training Rooms, Taxes, Armories, Bulletin Boards,Varied Roles and much more. Lets not look back in 6 months and have to provide excuses to corps regarding why they can’t perform basic actions.

Game Mode Variety – This is where Dust could and should shine. Like mentioned above, with its lore, it should have among the most unique and varied modes in gaming. We mentioned just a few above. Lore also tells us that the best way to separate this is by contract type. This will allow players to enjoy a specific type of experience and almost customize how they play the game. Taking it even further, there is a large percentage of gamers that enjoy the finality and high stakes of single death modes rather than respawn. Dust would do well to try and fill this niche as well.

Tutorial - It comes down to this. Dust is simply too complex a game to not include a PVE Tutorial that goes over controls, skill points, battlefield assets and vehicles. Give bonus SP as an incentive.

Tiers –  Nothing is more important to an MMO than tiers that allow players to decide what depth they want to experience. The game’s complexity and the blistering review by casual reviewers like IGN and Gametrailers will all but guarantee a bare minimum of casual fans will stick with this title. As such, its time for CCP to hitch their wagon to the hardcore group that will support this game and FPS fans who want more than emptiness of games like CoD and Battlefield. Its time to let Instant Battles be the shallow end and incentivize mid and higher tiers with more game mode variety, higher ISK rewards, Friendly Fire, better salvage and a much larger disparity between the victorious and the defeated.

Open New Eden – Making Dust a true Open World MMO might not be possible, but using several ‘open world’ mechanics might be a good idea and would make the game feel more ‘real’ instead of just a wait in our Merc Quarters in between battles. Third person social areas will help lots here [visit Jita anyone?] as would the ability to visit districts our corps own or practice in Corp Training Rooms. The ability to wait in a weapon-filled corp ready room between battles? Why not?

Tactical Assault Rifle – The fixes to this weapon have already been discussed, bravo CCP. Do yourselves a favor and lower and hardcode this weapons fire rate. Shame on those of you with self esteem low enough to use modded controllers in a videogame. You know who you are.

Logi Assaults – Another issue needing quick resolution. Why would anyone choose assault when the Logi can simply do everything better? Lets bring the days where Logis can ignore their intended role and stack damage mods to an end. Since the Logi niche is now the only suit with multiple equipment slots they simply have no need for excess Hi and Low slots to fulfill their role. They should have one less Hi and Low slot than an assault of the same class. Still, since this suit sacrifices protection and needs to move around the battlefield, shouldn’t it be more mobile than anything save the recon? We say yes.

LAVs – Its embarrassing for a game that portrays itself as a tactical shooter to have a free Clown Car Minigame included. The LAV buff was one of the worst design decisions this game has ever made. Shouldnt FREE LAVs explode from even the 1st tier AV grenade given that we have to spend SP on it? We say yes. Even worse, the 10mph instakill mechanics of LAVs is joke worthy and one of the cheaper gameplay mechanics we have seen in an FPS. Moreover, should anything be free in a game with a persistent economy? Allow mercs to call in stock LAVs but bill them afterwards, we say.

Guesswork – There are simply too many instances where intel are ‘given out’ where they should instead be earned. Why can the enemy see how many clones a district has in PC? Why are uplinks visible from over 100m away? Why not instead give us ways to obtain this information [PVE single-death Scout missions or hi-level spies] or use in game assets [like Active Scanners to reveal uplinks] so that cunning and skill is rewarded instead of giving out information on a whim. Giving attackers the ability to obtain detailed maps of areas they are considering attacking could open up a whole new industry for scouts and information brokers.

In closing, Dust has areas that need improvment but complaints complaints about things like the grind in Dust are unwarranted. In a game with this much persistence slow progression is almost necessary. The graphics are fine for a game of the scale CCP is promising. But know this CCP, if games of 24v24 are your pinnacle there is much visual work to be done.

- Magww

Would you like to join our staff as a writer? Be sure to contact us at [email protected]

31 Comments

  1. PLgrunt

    Dust just needs unique stand out features. Generic substandard pew pew with a massive database behind it connected to another game.. is on the face of it is just a generic substandard pew pew game. Reviewers are spot on and deep down this game just doesn’t have any central hook or new features. A substandard FPS grind with an annoying microtransaction shop attached which is thrust in your face every 10 minutes.

    May 31, 2013 at 6:21 pm Reply
    1. Jokus Balim

      > any central hook or new features

      That would be the connection between the spaceship / big politics MMO EVE and the ground combat FPS Dust. Very nice idea. But the links are too few right now.

      Do you know that you can call for orbital strikes even without an EVE ship around? Why can’t you kill EVE stuff like PI objectives? Where are the combined economy, the merc contracts, the influence on sov warfare and so on. People will endure the most stupid grind, IF they have a greater goal. Something that “matters”.

      I can understand that CCP is cautious with such stuff to not destroy the EVE economy, balance of power, whatever. But if they are too timid, Dust will die.

      June 1, 2013 at 11:01 am Reply
  2. Akrasjel Lanate

    Dust needs time

    May 31, 2013 at 6:30 pm Reply
  3. Greet Giant

    DUST is falling in the same footsteps that EVE did. When EVE first came out, game reviewers thought it was more or less a terrible game that should have stayed in beta another year. From the comments I’ve heard from friends playing DUST, they say the same thing: its still a game in beta.
    CCP has forgotten that its not okay to put out partially complete games and call it a release. No one has to look far to see this. The newest expansion, Odyssey, isn’t bringing any truly new or innovative game play to EVE. Yeah, you get a mini-game, that’s technically new. But the UI enhancements, ship re-balancing, etc is all a patch. It shouldn’t be called an expansion, it should be called a patch.
    In fact, the last real expansion CCP put out was Incarna. I would argue one of the biggest reasons it was a failure is again, it was only half-completed. If all the captains quarters were in, and walking in stations/outposts was implemented, a majority of the complaints wouldn’t have been around.
    The problem is, for console games, and FPS in particular, you can’t put out half completed games. There’s simply too much competition out there. People will play BF3, CoD, Crysis, or any of the other 200 completed games out there. I hope CCP takes the suggestions in this article to heart, and when they decide to release a patch (or expansion) for DUST, they stop making the same mistakes and release a full, innovative game that is ready for a player’s experience.

    May 31, 2013 at 7:34 pm Reply
    1. bozs13

      I agree and disagree. I think that most expansions for eve have been more than mere patches. Yes, they do fix issues and such but they go a bit further. I like this business model. A steady and constant upgrade and refinement of a game with ever-growing potential.

      Now were I do agree, is when you get to the DUST issue. You’re right on the money 100%. You just can’t do that for either an FPS or a console game. People are going to get turned off and then you’ve lost some people forever. I feel there is a ridiculous amount of potential and that CCP could pull in tons of data and interaction from EVE. Time will tell, but they don’t have much time before people move on from a half-baked product.

      May 31, 2013 at 7:41 pm Reply
    2. Rebel Witch

      DUST certainly seems to mirror how EVE got it’s start. Obscure and Unfinished but oh my the potential. CCP has made something amazing with EVE before and after 10 years of polish. Let’s hope they can do the same with DUST.

      I totally disagree that the named “expansions” are just “patches”. It may seem like just a patch from one perspective but each one is a game changer (for good or bad). Some of the changes are big some of them small but the game does “Expand” with each one. They are also free but that does not cheapen them to just the term “patch”.

      Proof that each expansion matters and changes the game is found simply in playing the game now while playing utube video’s of old game play in EVE. You don’t make that kind of change with “patches”

      Have Fun, Deus Vult!

      June 2, 2013 at 5:20 am Reply
  4. Ashesofempires

    I agree with the game needing a tutorial, a more user friendly interface, a hefty pile of balance changes, and some pretty massive graphics polish.

    Some stuff is just nitpicky though, like complaining about lag or scale. Latency problems are mostly out of CCP’s hands. It’s a problem of the way Sony handles the packets, which are sent from the PS3 to Sony’s regional servers, then on to Tranquility in London (not Iceland) and back again. Scale is also a hard limitation imposed by Sony (and every other console maker) due to graphics and compute horsepower limits. The consoles just aren’t powerful enough to do mass battles. As a PC player, you are accustomed to, and indeed expect 64 player or larger battles, but also realize that the BF3 servers PC players connect to are pretty much dedicated entirely to hosting BF3 games, and typically only a few per server, while Sony, Microsoft, and especially CCP have to host many hundreds of games on a finite number of servers. They counter balance this by limiting match size to keep things manageable.

    This may change with the next generation of gaming consoles being much closer in architecture to a PC, but don’t get your hopes up.

    May 31, 2013 at 7:55 pm Reply
  5. Dumbledore

    What’s “dust”? Is it that xbox version of Eve?

    May 31, 2013 at 8:21 pm Reply
    1. yom

      it’s a first person shooter spin-off for the ps3

      June 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm Reply
  6. Roger Roger

    Imagine what eve could have been if CCP had dedicated these resources to it over the last few years rather than embarking on this crazy Dust experiment.

    May 31, 2013 at 9:49 pm Reply
  7. ha ha ha ha CCP is lame

    PS4 is coming and DUST (PS3) will die horrible death :D

    May 31, 2013 at 11:17 pm Reply
  8. Arnan

    Sounds like a waste of time that should have been spent on fixing and improving eve…

    May 31, 2013 at 11:35 pm Reply
    1. Soulxlight

      Nah, CCP has to expand or die. Trying to create another game isn’t a “waste of time” but rather something that CCP needed to concentrate more effort on rather than delivering a bland unfinished product. Good news is they can save it via free updates.

      June 1, 2013 at 6:27 am Reply
  9. The Unkown

    Merc transport by Eve players sounds fun does this mean we can also blow up those transport ships :-)

    June 1, 2013 at 1:40 am Reply
  10. Silence

    Dust is shit. Cost me a ps3 lol

    June 1, 2013 at 1:52 am Reply
    1. Fingle

      hhaha nice one

      June 1, 2013 at 1:59 am Reply
  11. Fingle

    This is quite a constructive write up for CCP to read. I was quite sad to see such low scores.

    June 1, 2013 at 2:00 am Reply
  12. Bungie > CCP

    All I know is, I’m waiting to play Destiny. Dust, being totally irrelevant to EVE, can do whatever it wants.

    June 1, 2013 at 2:01 am Reply
  13. iskbot#1337

    CCP doesn´t care about DUST 514 for PS3.
    They released it with nearly no promotion. The reason behind this is the sony exclusive deal for PS3. The old console hardware handicaps the game in many aspects.

    CCP is now only focusing for the PS4 release. They will release Dust again as a entirely new game with all 4 races and a huge promotion ( TV commercial spot ) when PS4 comes out.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ahThsZmR2Q

    June 1, 2013 at 2:21 am Reply
  14. Ozamis

    Uprising is a step in the right direction. Many more steps to go…

    June 1, 2013 at 3:30 am Reply
  15. Its Me

    It would be cool if Dust Mercs could be hired to destroy Planetary Infrastructure like Command Centers or Ressource Depots for Eve players that use planetary interaction. Conquer ressources on contract, destroy existing industrial buildings for a fee, help Eve players to slow down enemy industry, protecting existing infrastructure.
    There are so many Eve players that hate Sov Grinding, so why not let Dust players take down IHubs from inside or let them be Pos Gunners on Isk basis for small alliances or to reinforce hard timezones that alliances cant fill.
    Why do not let Dust mercs choose if they want to be carried by some slower npc, autopilot Interbus Ship or by a faster, more defended Ship from an Eve player. They could make up some contracts for that too. So invested Isk is in some relation to safety, if you can call something to be save in New Eden.

    June 1, 2013 at 4:54 am Reply
    1. GNN

      I’m one of the writers that contributed to the piece.can I have some details about what you wrote about PI, Command Centers, taking down Resource Depots, conquering resources, destroying industrial buildings, slowing down enemy industry and protecting existing infrastructure? i would like to know other elements that would make EVE players care more about dust and what would make mercs useful to your endeavors.

      you cant be more specific here or in an email to us at [email protected]

      June 1, 2013 at 2:01 pm Reply
  16. IGNsucks

    Meanwhile, they will tell you to drop $60 (+ another $60) on the next COD reskin and rate it a 9. Gaming critics suck, Im not saying Dust is an 9 or even an 8…but their standards are a joke at IGN and most of the other major gaming sites.

    June 1, 2013 at 5:14 am Reply
    1. ftw

      AngryJoe is the only legit critic out there imo.

      June 2, 2013 at 9:09 am Reply
      1. L W

        I dunno, man. He gave RDR and Skyrim 10’s (!). The former’s a great game, don’t get me wrong, but not a 10. As for skyrim? Are you kidding me? Moddability is the only thing saving it. I wouldn’t even rate the base game a 7. I tend to enjoy Rock paper shotgun’s reviews, tbh.

        June 2, 2013 at 4:00 pm Reply
  17. alx

    The biggest question is: what is the number of new players/day? How many of them keep playing? and what is the average number of dust514 players/day? also, how this will improve in the next expansion? does these matches with the expectations?

    June 1, 2013 at 7:16 am Reply
    1. Rastignac

      7000 but usualy it drops to 5000 which is 6x less then current fps games on ps3

      June 1, 2013 at 10:02 am Reply
  18. Squinty McBlindy

    DUST 514 is just another faceless sci-fi themed FPS in a vastly over-saturated market.
    It will die on its arse in under a year.

    June 1, 2013 at 1:33 pm Reply
  19. tokahna

    reason why it isn’t more tangled into the EVE Universe is because CCP saw this coming, and they already have the infrastructure in place to disconnect Dust when it dies without any consequences to Tranq.

    June 1, 2013 at 3:52 pm Reply
  20. Gorgoth24/Gorgoth24 Reborn

    I’d just like to say that this is an incredibly fair article and mirrors my experience with supporting Dust since closed beta. What inspires me about this game and the reason I keep playing (and paying) to see it succeed is its potential, and I love that this article acknowledges that point but makes use of a short term mindset.

    I think the big message to CCP Shanghai should be to stop babying the Dust players at a hope for a bigger market in favor of putting out more features more quickly and using a hardcore community to provide feedback, insights, that we all know CCP fans can provide.

    Make the hardcore players happy and the casual players will come. The developers in Shanghai need that “I Get It” moment that Heilmar had when losing his friend’s cruiser and having to mine for weeks straight to pay him back. Dust needs to give players more of an open world and let the players make the STORIES and INTERACTIONS that drive the EVE universe, not the shoddy gameplay CCP often provides.

    June 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm Reply
  21. Punky Brewster

    DUST 514 has been nothing but a drain on CCP’s resources from Day One. All it has done is delay and even cancel some truly great ideas that EVE was originally designed to get and now EVE is suffers further from yet another poor management decision at CCP.

    June 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm Reply

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