What it could be like - The space battle:
Control of a system may go to the alliance controlling the most planets in the system. To control a planet, an alliance would have to control over half the districts on that planet. Before claiming districts on a planet could begin, a control station would be constructed in orbit that would serve as the point of contact between the Dust players and the EVE players. EVE players could use this to deliver weapons, structures, vehicles and clones to the Dust commander to deploy during battle. The alliances warring over a planet would each install their own control station in orbit and alliances would clash over events related to the control stations.
For example, the station could be configured to drop a troop transport on the planet once per day at a specific time to reinforce or invade a district, enabling a Dust battle in that location. One alliance would organise a fleet for that time to destroy the transport before it gets to a warp gate leading to the planet. The other would send a fleet to push it through by using remote repair carriers to keep it alive and destroying the enemy fleet. The station itself could be invulnerable while the alliance that owns it controls at least one district on the planet, making it a battle over the planet rather than just shooting down a structure or titan with dreadnoughts. Once the planet is completely owned by one side, they could then destroy any enemy control stations in orbit that haven't been dismantled and evacuated.
What it could be like - The ground battles:
Given the company behind it, I have to imagine Dust will be as close to "EVE on land" as it gets. With the successes EVE has had in player-determination and emergent game-play, I can only imagine Dust will harbor a similar system of conflict, resource-domination and political machination. Corporations in Dust could possibly opt to set up a home base on a planet somewhere on which they can control resources to build vehicles and weapons, defend their land territories and invade the territories of other factions. In a sense, it would be a land-based equivalent of EVE's territorial endgame, with corps battling it out over areas of land, forging alliances and hiring each other to assist. When contracted into action by an EVE player, a Dust corporation could clone-jump to the target system and begin a campaign there.
While the EVE players might use the control station to organise the strategic deployment of troops into different sectors of the planet, the Dust commanders would use it to co-ordinate a specific battle in one particular district. Like in the Battlefield series of games, they would likely have access to a top-down satellite map and could issue orders to their team. Artillery could be included in the form of orbital weapons platforms and the Dust commander could even deploy structures or make vehicle drops from their stash as the game progresses. The cache of weapons, vehicles, structures and spare clones would be provided by the EVE players, making Dust players who can get a job done without using as many resources much more valuable as mercenaries and raising the price they can ask for their participation.
With so little information on Dust released, we can't help but speculate on what it could mean for EVE Online and how it could work. While some people are in a panic over the possibility that console gamers might be given control over their sovereignty, I prefer to take a more optimistic outlook. The ideas I've presented here on how it might work are little more than my own personal ideal and I'm sure other players will have their own ideas on what they'd love to see come out of the system. CCP are going fearlessly full steam ahead on this seemingly impossible plan but rather than predicting their failure, many in the industry are watching with a curious optimism. I think that's because if there's one company that has proven they can do the impossible, it's CCP Games.
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at massively.com. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you want to message him, send him an e-mail at brendan.drain AT weblogsinc DOT com. Looking forward to EVE Onland :D