Meeting on stations
Initial integration and gameplay
I've seen people comparing DUST 514 to the Battlefield series, which I think is fair as the DUST 514 beta trailer's graphics and gameplay give off a very strong Battlefield 2 vibe. DUST's graphics may not compare favourably to the newest games, but it was always the gameplay and link with EVE that people were interested in. If the graphics have to take a hit in order to display dozens of players and vehicles on a console that's over six years old, I don't think too many people will mind.
I may not be part of DUST 514's console shooter target market, but what makes me interested in the game is how closely it will interact with EVE Online. At E3 2012, however, developers told us that the EVE-DUST link will initially be limited while the shooter elements are polished. The marines will definitely share the same game universe as EVE players, and the Way of the Mercenary video promised orbital strikes from EVE ships, but that may be where the interaction ends for now.
What will we eventually get?
While the interaction between EVE and DUST probably won't be fully fleshed out at launch, the future brings some big plans. DUST players will eventually be able to colonise and defend their own planets, where they'll reportedly build home base infrastructure for manufacturing war supplies and helping with defense. At the same time, planet ownership will likely be made a significant factor in the ownership of solar systems in EVE. These two factors alone would make DUST a huge part of EVE's territorial warfare, and some EVE alliances are already starting to recruit DUST wings to protect their future assets planet-side.
At E3 2011, developers hinted that DUST marines fighting for territorial conquest may have to get EVE players to transport their clones and vehicles to the battlezone. That could add a strategic level to gameplay, but I don't think it would sit well with the instant-action console audience. It's more likely that the DUST marines will load their equipment into a war barge and use a jump drive to get it to the destination system. This would mean EVE players would have to take down any cyno jammers in the system before the battle. The War Barge may even be attackable during or after the match, and ships will probably need to be in proximity to it in order to offer ground support, sparking a simultaneous battle in orbit.
The Way of the Mercenary video
showed off an impressive set of mercenary quarters that seem to use the same system as EVE Online's captain's quarters
. We know that EVE
players will eventually be able to walk around inside multiplayer station environments, and this makes me think that DUST
mercs could get the same treatment. DUST
players may even be able to meet up with EVE
players in social areas, corp offices, and war planning rooms. Since we're sharing the same universe, corporations, and quarters, we should be able to grab a beer in the same bar.
marines also meet in a war room in an orbiting war barge before each match to talk tactics and compare gear. Once EVE
's multiplayer environments are implemented, EVE
players in the same corporation or alliance might possibly be able to join their ground troops in the war barge for a pre-war briefing. CCP's Future Vision trailer
even showed EVE
ships docking with Sleeper structures and depositing marines for a mission, giving a glimpse at what might be in store over the coming decade.
Each DUST 514
team will have a Battlefield
-style commander who decides where to deploy units during a match and co-ordinates the rest of his team. It's a distinct possibility that this role could be taken over by an EVE
player from the war barge, leaving the console players to do what they do best: splatter each other over the ground with tanks and space guns.
CCP has announced some big plans for DUST 514
's integration with EVE Online
, but I wouldn't expect too much from it on release. If DUST
players can join our corporations and we can deliver air strike support during their matches, that's a good enough start in my books. DUST 514
will undoubtedly be merged more closely with EVE Online
as time goes on, but first it has to stand on its own two feet.
Even if DUST
ends up being nothing but a Battlefield 2
clone in MMO form at launch, wouldn't that be a pretty damn incredible game? The holy grail of first person shooters is to have massive battles that make a real impact on a persistent game universe and to have a persistent character you can invest in. Add in realtime integration with the world's biggest sandbox MMO and the only thing missing is a sorely needed PC release.
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at Massively. The column covers anything and everything relating to
EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you have an idea for a column or guide, or you just want to message him, send an email to email@example.com.