Alliance Tournament XI Announced

CCP Gargant gave us some initial details about the upcoming Alliance Tournament XI, and there’s no shortage of controversy with some of the changes.

…we will do away with the usual format of qualifying rounds and group stages and go for a double elimination bracket format from the start.

This time around there will be no qualifying and group stages to deal with, as the tournament is entirely defined as a double elimination bracket. I always found those other stages to be a bit of a drag, doing more to provide intel on the other teams’ composition and tactics. I imagine that this change will result in more espionage of teams testing their fleet compositions on Singularity. That kind of metagaming is something I’ve always chuckled at, since its such a quintessential EVE thing.

This Alliance Tournament will also include bans, similar to popular competitive games such as DOTA. This is new to Alliance Tournaments, but was featured in the New Eden Open where it seemed to work pretty well.

The big controversy so far is over the final change, where by the dev blog posted on May 15th states that you can only fight alongside an alliance you’ve been on since downtime… on May 15th.

Now people come and go from alliances all the time, and often the friendships between pilots and their former corpmates will persist. Historically, some Alliance Tournament teams have been assembled like an internet spaceships version of The Avengers, with some teams made up of PVP pilots from all over the place. Alliances will bring in others to either buff their teams with highly skilled pilots, or sometimes just to let someone they know compete in the limelight for fun. CCP Fozzie explains the spirit behind this change to the rules:

Alliance Tournament is essentially the Olympic Games of EVE. People can move from one country to another, but it’s intended that you represent the country that you claim as your own the whole year round.

You can probably predict the resulting action on the forum. To be honest I agree with points on both sides.  The Alliance Tournament isn’t necessarily about stuffing your team with ringers, however there are those who might have floated away from their alliance that would like to compete with their friends. For the latter cases, there is a silver lining:

In cases where a corp or member are caught by surprise outside of *their* alliance for one reason or another, we can make exceptions to get them back in. What we don’t want is people jumping from one alliance to another just for the tournament.

If you have a request for an exception, send a petition to the community queue and we’ll take a look. But if you’re trying to move from your home alliance to another one just for the tournament, I don’t expect we’ll grant those requests.

A simple petition to “Other Issues > Community” to present your case should do the trick.

Along with the announcement comes a call for more commentators. If you think you’ve got the skills to present the tournament to the masses, feel free to hit up the dev blog for details on how to do so.

We will once again be opening up the application process for players who would like to be PVP commentators. These elite players are handpicked by us to fly out to Iceland for the tournament finals played over the final two weekends, joining the team here at CCP HQ to help us run the live broadcasts.

A free trip to Iceland isn’t a bad deal, however commentating Alliance Tournaments is not really a vacation trip. Raw knowledge of EVE gameplay isn’t going to guarantee that people are excellent presenters, and I can’t imagine the challenge it is for CCP to hand pick those with the right combination of game smarts and people skills. Nobody wants to see someone flip to “deer caught in headlights” mode when the cameras hit them.

Applications for the position close May 26th, so if you’re interested definitely throw your name in sooner than later.


Hacking in Odyssey

CCP Bayesian brings us a new Dev Blog, detailing the upcoming changes to the Hacking and Archaeology sub-professions in EVE.

Team Prototyping Rocks has been working hard on improving the depth of gameplay that explorers will enjoy in their day to day lives. The devil is in the details and until this release the details behind Hacking and Archaeology have been very sparse. Our brief was to make the tasks you do in sites much more immersive and interactive.

Now I’ll admit that hacking/archaeology in EVE has never been one of those things I’ve fiddled with a ton.  It’s not that there’s no reward for doing it, it’s just that the activity itself isn’t awfully exciting. With the upcoming Odyssey expansion, CCP is hoping to change that for the better.

Instead of the current mechanic of shooting all the NPCs in a site, and hitting locked containers with your specialized module until they open, and looting the contents when it unlocks. If you’ve done salvaging then you can see the similarities here. With Odyssey will come a new minigame, pitting you against the device you’re trying to unlock.


The window shows the user the computer system mapped out as a network of interconnected nodes. One of the node’s contents is already visible as this was the penetration point of the activated module. Users hack a system by exploring the nodes adjacent to the nodes that they have already explored. Their goal is to find the core or cores in the system and taking them over by destroying them.

If all this sounds a lot like something you may have seen before, here’s a screenshot from Deus Ex: Human Revolution for comparison.

Deux Ex Hacking

Deux Ex’s hacking was an easy to grasp concept that could still present challenges as the game progressed, and I feel it’s an excellent thing to draw inspiration on.  The addition of a minigames to EVE in order to spice up the hacking and archaeology processes is a fantastic one in my opinion, adding an element of randomness and interactivity to what is a mostly passive process right now. The blog also speaks of future enhancements which will bring more variety to this in the future.

Your success in the game is rewarded with a kind of loot piñata of sorts, whereby the contents of whatever you’re trying to get into spill out into space and disappear after a few seconds.

Once the core is destroyed the system has been hacked and the module forces the site to scatter its contents from the cargo hold into the vacuum of space. The hacker, his friends and anyone else around can then collect the scattered contents. We’ll be releasing another devblog shortly that will go into details of how the contents of the site are distributed and how they are collected.

It looks awesome when it happens, and I like their concept of teaming up with others providing a benefit to collecting the loot. Most people will probably do this solo, and I’m willing to bet someone will come up the perfect ship setup to collect it all without needing others, but CCP’s sentiment with this is a good one.

Odyssey is proving to be an interesting expansion for me. Playing around with some of these features on Singularity gives me that sci-fi nerdy feeling of exploration that wormholes did when they first came on scene.  There’s just something cool about jumping to a new system and having a sensor sweep light up the anomalies for you. In systems you frequent, it’s a little like discovering a new room in your house you didn’t know was there.

Since it was first introduced, very little has been done to keep things fresh and interesting; hell, I’m sure there’s a huge percentage of people who didn’t even know it existed, much less gave it a try or focused on it as a profession. My hope is that making this kind of content more front-and-center to more people gives CCP incentive to continue to develop it.


The Monster DUST 514 Uprising Review

In a previous post entitled “The Monster DUST 514 Beta Review”, I wrote at length about the features, shortcomings, and promises of DUST 514 in its initial open beta state. At that time the game was extremely rough and unfinished by “open beta” standards, giving cause for concern that CCP might have been biting off more than it could chew. With this article, I hope to revisit many of the points in my last post, and give an indication of the current released state of DUST 514. If you haven’t already read that previous blog it may not be a bad idea to take a moment and do so. And as before, I apologize for the screenshots having a weird grain to them, that’s the fault of my TV’s phone app screenshot function.


CCP unveiled changes to DUST 514 during its Fanfest this year, showcasing massive improvements to almost every aspect of the game. With this week’s release of the Uprising 1.0 patch, a lot of these anticipated improvements have been applied, and with the game shedding its beta clothes we should finally be able to experience it the way it was meant to be experienced.

The Upgrade

To say this is “a patch” is a tremendous understatement. The patch notes for Uprising 1.0 would probably be blank if they pointed out things they didn’t update, so you’re pretty much re-downloading the entire game over again. For me, this process was exacerbated by a patch for my PS3 itself, so I ended up with a painful trifecta of PS3 patch, DUST 514 patch, and DUST 514 content update when the client finally did launch.


This isn’t really CCP’s fault, it’s more of an issue with the PS3 update architecture, however it’s worth noting in case you think you’re going to be playing in five minutes. In the end, they’re able to push out content updates to make changes rather than deal with the onerous console patching process, and that means quick responses to most issues with the game. This is a good thing.


Initial patching aside, one of the things announced at Fanfest — to much applause from the audience — was a faster launch time to actually just get into DUST. I could fold a load of laundry in the time it took for the DUST 514 beta to boot up. With Uprising this time has been cut down to a fraction of what it was before, so you’ll go from the PS3 menu to standing around in your quarters queuing up for battle in no time. My own timing showed that from the moment the ESRB logo shows up on screen to when I was in my quarters took around 1m08s. To say that’s a massive improvement from before is an understatement.

Renovations All Around

Once you get your way past the silly unskippable PlayStation Move instructions (seriously, Sony?), one thing is immediately apparent: attention has been paid to almost every single aspect of DUST 514’s user interface. The basic artwork and layout of all the UI is totally overhauled, and is all much more intuitive.


If you were playing before Uprising, all your skills and fittings will have been removed and you will have a giant pile of money and skill points to apply to your character. Special vanity and officer items are exempt from this, so don’t panic if you’ve dropped some real world cash or won something cool; they will still be there for you after the patch.


Where before there was just a spreadsheet of skills to scroll around in, you now have a skill tree. This tree gives an excellent sense of how your character can be developed that simply want there before. No matter which category of skill you’re looking at, the progression is clear and concise. You can purchase and/or train each skill from the tree, decide immediately how you want to specialize your mercenary and figure out what skills you should be looking at in order to accomplish your goal.

The Neocom itself has had a few changes, mostly centered around usability. The overall design is still the same, but they’ve corrected font sizing so things are less cramped. This also means that you don’t need to be an owl to read the text, and the developers have had to be more smart with organizing their content.

Crisp New Suits

Prior to Uprising, there were four suit types that were evenly spread among the four factions in EVE. This time around, each race has four suit types of their own with special bonus for each race and role (Edit: currently only Amarr has a Heavy dropsuit). The result is a much more balanced set of blank canvases to work with when fitting up your characters.


Racial variants are present for weapons and vehicles as well, so if you’re a die hard fan of a particular faction you can deck yourself out in the appropriate gear. This is awesome in cases such as when you want to do some logistics for your team, but prefer to not dress in Minmatar Duct-Tape Chic to do it.

I’ll take a moment here to tip my hat to the character modelers for DUST: the suits look great. Looking at the different races’ suits with their role variants and other variations, they’ve managed to capture the design language of those races from EVE while having the designs make sense for their intended roles. that’s a real challenge to do, and they pulled it off while making them all look completely badass.

The Map

There used to be a map in DUST at one point, but it was removed because well… it was terrible. They didn’t just bring it back, they’ve introduced a spectacular new way to look at the EVE cluster.


The new map presents the user with a top-down, flattened, minimalist view of the regions of EVE. This is perfect for console users to be able to pan around and explore the cluster, seeing where conflicts are situated and for what reason. Filters are available to highlight systems which are embroiled in Faction Warfare or Corporation based conflicts.

Selecting a single region zooms in to show the constellations present within.


Continuing into a constellation displays all the systems within that constellation.


Finally, selecting a specific system twirls out an abstract view of the celestials present there.


Selecting any planet that is capable of supporting ground-based combat shows the districts present there and what state of conflict each is at. Along the way, you’re told if there are any active conflicts occurring in those areas, and can join them in progress after choosing what side to go with.


It’s all really slick, and for DUST players who may not be familiar with the layout of EVE it’s a cool way for them to get familiar with it. I’m sure there’s plenty of folks playing EVE Online that wouldn’t mind the ingame map to include a similarly slick style of interface.

Joining The Fight

It’s at this point that Uprising starts to really show its most impressive stuff. The general feel of combat in DUST 514’s beta was one of the major gripes I had with the game, and I’m happy to report that this is no longer the case.


Finding a match to join hasn’t changed much, other than having the option to drop in to one in progress via the map. The usual three categories of matches are present, however there are now three match types instead of just the previous two: Skirmish, Ambush, and Ambush OMS (Off Map Support). The latter variant is new to the game, and is basically identical to the Ambush type with one key difference. Periodically, resources such as supply depots and turrets are dropped in for either side to capture and use against the others.


The user interface improvements are apparent almost immediately. The extremely basic, clunky deployment screen has been replaced with a much more intuitive version. You don’t see your full list of fittings unless you want to change it, you can see match statistics and observe the map. It’s faster, cleaner, tells you what you need to know without being a sluggish mess.


When your boots hit the ground one thing’s apparent: CCP has been hard at work on making combat feel right.

If one were to compare this to the first day of beta release, I’m almost entirely confident that all the things you can equip and fire at someone have had significant tweaks for balance and use. Guns have distinct feels to even same-class weapons, grenades aren’t the mini-nukes they first originally were (thankfully CCP patched those a little while into beta), and the vehicles no longer feel like your neighbor’s DualShock just accidentally synced with your console somehow.

I found there was less of the “getting killed by the uber gun of the week” effect that was present prior to the weapon tweaking, and grenade spam is almost non-existent. Even with basic starter gear I was still relatively effective in combat, and moving up into higher tiers of gear helped, but didn’t guarantee I’d be steamrolling the other team. This is exactly what it needs to be like.


I still find that team support in random matches is rare, there’s not a lot of people who bother to revive you and there’s little incentive to go after someone else, since they tend to just respawn rather than wait. For a team-based shooter, this is still an issue, however I’m almost 100% positive that joining a player corporation and working with them in matches will resolve this issue. It’s really just the random player matches where it’s every man for himself.

The great part is that the previous respawn snore fest has been cut down to a much shorter wait. Instead of nodding off for 20 seconds to respawn, your downtime will be probably more like five or six seconds, occasionally longer. Shorter respawns mean less downtime, and that means more time spent on the ground taking place in the battle. The result is a game that’s more enjoyable to play.


Controls have also been tuned significantly, and the result is a much more mature feel to the game. I still have a general disliking for the PS3’s controller for this kind of shooter, however CCP has done the best job they could have done so far with it. There’s still the mouse and keyboard option, but truthfully the majority of players aren’t going to go that route. At least they’ve done their best to manage the DualShock’s horrid deadzone, and that’s no small feat. There are coming enhancements to this that have been discussed by the developers to help aid aiming more, beyond just simplistic aim assist models. As a PC gamer, nothing makes me want to vomit more than aim assists, however on the console this is a necessary evil that can offset many issues with controller accuracy.


At the end of every match, a new statistics reporting screen tells you how you did.  Beyond just a simple leaderboard for the match, you’re treated to all sorts of statistics about you performance. Some similar statistics screens are presented after each death as well, which is actually quite handy. Just like EVE Online, knowing how you died benefits you later when you’re trying to avoid it. CCP has already stated they have any statistics you can imagine, and that community suggestions will drive how these screens evolve.


The real catch is whether this all improves the overall combat experience. All of the updates from beta have significantly improved things, and its worth at least a revisit if you totally disliked the original combat concept of DUST. The controls are definitely improved, though still not up to PC mouse and keyboard level. I feel that they are close enough to other console FPS games that the issues will work themselves out over time via tweaking by CCP. As you play it more and get used to the fact that you are effectively in a spacesuit on the ground, you start to understand why movement feels stiff.

So overall I have to say yes, combat has definitely been improved and is far more enjoyable than before. You’re rewarded when you spend some time to learn the nuances, but not penalized severely if you can only play casually. I just wish there was more incentive to team play with random groups, especially in the objective based modes. Its not all perfect, but it all feels considerably less clunky and amateur and more like a shooter you want to spend time with.

Presentation 2.0

DUST 514 looks like a totally different game compared to its beta. UI improvements aside, the graphics engine looks like it’s been completely overhauled. Even standing around in your quarters, there’s a lot more detail on the environment and your character models.


The match environments…. oh wow. Beta DUST looks like amateur hour by comparison. The environments here now actually have a lighting model, allowing the artists to give each map unique character. Couple that with vastly improved textures across the board, more detailed ground and building geometry, and foliage… well, this is now something that’s competitive with other popular console shooters. Everything is crisp and clear, as if Uprising came with a new set of contact lenses for everyone.


The change reminds of EVE Online’s Trinity expansion, when considerable work was done to improve the visual quality of the game’s ships and stations. CCP made an interesting statement at the time, that finally their original vision for the EVE universe could be realized with the detail and art they always wanted to be present. I think a similar transformation has happened here as they pushed their way out of beta, whereby the game now really nails the intended vision of immersion in the world of EVE.

Overall the visual side really impressed, especially when you get all the improvements coming together. Watching the new orbital strike effect hit in the direction of sunrise, with sun rays burning through the impact of the strike with its dust and debris particles was awesome.


With a massive increase in graphics fidelity like this, one would think that the crummy framerate present in the beta would be even worse here. In fact the opposite is true, with what appears to be a slightly better framerate. Mind you we’re not talking 60 fps here, and I’d be surprised if 30 fps is achieved solidly, but it’s impressive with all things the engine is now doing. Most importantly, the framerate appears to be much more consistent than before, maintaining a solid rate without dipping into flipbook territory. I can only expect they will improve this going forward as they continue to tweak and evolve the game.


The audio side is a different beast as well. One of my major gripes was how horrid the beta sounded, from the basic audio of the UI to the totally hilarious combat noises. I’m happy to report that this is no longer the case. Assault rifles no longer sound like they were made by AirSoft, with solid use of bass to really give you the feeling that you’re firing a gun from the future. Grenades pack the appropriate audio punch as well. I caught part of a flux grenade detonation and thought my home theater slipped into some weird sound diagnostic.

The music no longer consists of placeholder tracks, with new music unique to DUST that is more befitting of a game where you drop from the sky in suits and shoot people with enormous space rifles. There’s some great incidental stuff that plays in the loading screens and deployment menus, and it all works well to set the mood for the player.


In a way I find it difficult to call Uprising an improvement, when to me this is what the game should have been released to the public as in the first place. This is truly the first impression DUST needed to give to consumers, and I honestly worry that people put off by the first beta release won’t come back to retry this when they should definitely reconsider their opinion of it.


Fresh coat of awesome paint aside, Uprising represents something much more: the result of a developer actually listening to consumer input, and paying attention to the things their players are saying. Almost every single major gripe I’ve read online has had some service paid to it in Uprising, and that’s no coincidence. CCP is not the kind of developer to toss a game out and not support it for the long haul, and their experiences with the EVE Online community have taught them hard lessons about keeping a finger on its pulse.

It’s going to get harder and harder to compare this to other games on the market, simply because nobody’s doing anything quite so ambitious. Going forward, CCP is planning a lot of new and interesting additions to the game such as cooperative PVE content against rogue drones, resource gathering through district capturing, and even more compelling war economy linkages to EVE Online. All of this puts them in a genre of their own that goes beyond just simply being a good free-to-play shooter.

In my last DUST 514 blog I stated: “I have very little faith the game can and will be brought to a state that it needs to be in order to worth a long term investment of your time.” Well, apparently a little faith goes a long way.

Upgrading the Universe

CCP unveiled some pretty profound changes to DUST 514 this year, and the first major step along that road is coming to us today. EVE Online gets patched to Retribution 1.2, and DUST 514 can finally be called released with Uprising 1.0.

On the EVE side of things, we have mostly a set of quality of life  updates. Drones get a graphics overhaul, and some UI issues have been tweaked.  I have a sneaky suspicion that there’s a ton of behind-the-scenes server work going on as well in order to support future client updates with regards to DUST 514.

If you spend a lot of time in station, your experience will be a lot prettier as all the hangars have been upgraded with new visuals.

I hesitate to refer to DUST 514’s update list as “patch notes” since this is basically going to be a totally different game with this and near-future updates.  The entire UI is being revamped (thank god), and the level of detail in matches will be jaw-dropping compared to what it was. That’s not a terribly high bar to shoot for, but if the screenshots are to be believed they’re now at least on par with some of the more impressive console shooters out there.

The amazing new universe map shown at Fanfest this year is also making its appearance in DUST with this patch, and I don’t know many EVE folks who aren’t a bit jealous about some of its features. It was never difficult to find matches in DUST, but the new map lets you see how it all fits in to the big picture of EVE and it does so in a damn pretty way.

I plan on revisiting DUST for a new analysis post soon, similar to my beta impressions from earlier this year.

For now I’d love them to put in a feature in EVE to let me easily find active DUST battles, so I can terrorizesupport them from orbit. I mean, just look at that pristine vista in the image above; doesn’t it just need a few volleys of blaster rounds delivered from space, to compliment a massive ground war taking place there?  I think so.


Comic #183: Stretch Goal

For a brief moment today the EVE is 10 page showed the true breadth of the community’s determination to get free anniversary awards. They’ve since fixed it, but even with a day to do it seems everyone really wants a free Magnate to play with.

Not to mention the utter horror Jita is going to be with 100 fireworks unlocked per hour.


Site Redesign

I had a few basic goals when I decided to improve the Warp Drive Active site design, and the primary ones should be covered off with this initial version.

Firstly, the new theme is a lot more contemporary in style, and is responsive to changes in screen width. The main page layout showcases more than just a single post now, and does so in an interesting card-style format that isn’t just a plain list of headlines.

Secondly, individual posts have a few improvements. I’ve added Disqus to replace the default comment system, and imported old comments so that nothing is lost.  Disqus has a lot of advantages for both a blog admin and a user, so I hope people like that addition.  Also, posts have the requisite social badges, letting you stuff with friends, family, the world, etc.

There’s a few things that aren’t done, namely the comic gallery and uploads of older podcasts to the current podcast feed. The latter is going to take a while, but at least they won’t be lost in the ether like my previous co-host. I’ll do my best to be quick about it.  The comic gallery will probably be a lot faster to get going, but for now the category view for it is a lot easier to navigate than before.

There’s a bunch of other things I want to get done, like add more EVE styling to the site. That’ll come soon, but for now I’m curious what folks think of the changes (suggestions are always welcome). In the meantime, please excuse the occasional glitchyness around here.

Also, since I’ve pretty much not kicked out a blog in a while, I’m curious what everyone thinks of the content presented at Fanfest this year. I have something in the works for my own thoughts, but in short I was pretty damn impressed with not only what’s coming for EVE, but also for DUST 514.

Interview: A Tale of Internet Spaceships

One of the fun things about doing commentary on the EVE universe is watching what the rest of the community does. There are people out there who sink massive quantities of their own personal time to producing community material and services, from simple blogging to full on feature length machinima.

So far though, nobody’s actually sat down and tried to chronicle the history of EVE in documentary form. Sure there have been some Wiki attempts but nothing like an actual documentary. Enter A Tale of Internet Spaceships, a documentary about EVE and its community being produced by a group of media students in Sweden. Following the recent crowdfunding trend, they’ve chosen to launch an Indiegogo campaign to help with production costs.

I wanted to know a bit more about the project and its team, so I recently sat down with them in my inbox to discuss the documentary, the team, and the campaign.


Winterblink: First off, congratulations on what looks like a pretty successful start to your campaign. In just a short amount of time you guys have already received a respectable percentage of your end goal.

Philip Raivander: Thanks!

Winterblink: This is an ambitious project, once which will be trying to chronicle the history of a ten year old game and it’s expansive community, both of which have evolved significantly over the years. What do each of your team members bring to the party that will help the project succeed?

Petter Mårtensson: We’re not trying to chronicle the history of EVE. That’d be insanity, trying to figure out all the things that happened during the Great War, or the rise and fall of BoB, the origins of Goonswarm or… Yeah, you get the picture. Instead we’ll try to ask very specific questions about the actual nature of the game – the forming and evolution of the community and how its relationship with CCP looks. The latter is a complicated issue in itself and the one we’ll put the most focus on – it’s interesting not only from an EVE-perspective but from a consumer perspective. Personally I’ve worked in games journalism since 2004, I am an experienced interviewer and journalist, so I bring that to the team. I also worked with video for many years.

Philip: I’ve been working with recording and music production intensively for the last 6 years, that’s probably the main reason why Petter asked me to be a part of the project; to save some money on music rights. And when we arrive in Iceland, I’ll probably be in charge of checking white balance on cameras and carrying stuff. I seem to be made to suffer, it’s my lot in life. Elin is sadly sick and can’t speak for herself at the moment. But as a producer she has the great ability to make sure that we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, when we’re supposed to do it, in a bossy, but fair way.

Petter: We also have Seismic Stan on our side. ‘Nuff said.

Winterblink: You will never be able to satisfy everyone. You realize that, right?

Petter: I can see it now. “OMFG GOON BIAS!”

Philip: Isn’t that the case with everything in life? We know some parts of the community are sceptical about this documentary, but we can only do our best to try to satisfy as many as possible.

Petter: We’re also very open to feedback and suggestions, so get in contact if you have any thoughts or fears.

Winterblink: The site states that you have previously covered CCP and EVE, has that been along the same lines of what you’re proposing to do here or has it been a part of some other community coverage?

Petter: I’ve been covering EVE in various forms since 2006, interviewing people like Hilmar, Zulu, Torfi, Nathan and others. I’ve been to Fanfest twice, to cover the actual convention in 2011 and the big push for Dust 514 (Swedish link, you’ve been warned) last year (which also resulted in a podcast with various people, including Seismic Stan and Manifest). I also covered Monoclegate quite a bit (and interviewed The Mittani about it, OMFG GOON BIAS), the event that inspired A Tale of Internet Spaceships. I grab hold of any CCP employee and shove a mic in his or her face whenever I get the opportunity.

Winterblink: What role, if any, will CCP be playing as part of your production? Will there be any kind of collaboration happening between them and your team?

Philip: They’ve helped us out with press access to Fanfest, and they’ve promised to help us get interviews with employees. Other than that, we have no collaboration with them and they have no say in the editorial process of the movie.

Winterblink: How are you planning on keeping the end product an honest and impartial one?

Philip: When it comes to filming documentaries, I believe that it’s hard to be completely impartial. Instead, we should be very clear about our subjective look into the questions we’re trying to raise, while making sure this doesn’t become some sort of propaganda film.

Winterblink: The EVE player community is, shall we say… a passionate one. There are plenty of sensitive topics in the history of EVE that will be like little landmines during your production. How are you planning on handling tougher issues, and more importantly how will you deal with any potential fallout in game? Remember, there’s a shiny new bounty system in place now.

Petter: There are absolutely some very sensitive topics that we’ll have to treat with utmost respect, especially since some are personal for both players and CCP employees. We’ll have to figure out which are relevant to the documentary and go from there. Speaking of the bounties, I gave my character’s name… That might have been a mistake.

Winterblink: You’ll be present at Fanfest this year — that’s a handful of you versus hundreds EVE folks. Where will people be able to find you to get involved?

Philip: We’ll give out our e-mail so that people can stay in touch with us if they want to participate during fanfest, and plan to we wear t-shirts with the logo on it so people can find us on the showfloor.

Petter: We’ll be the guys that, together with people from CCP, look the most stressed out. Also, Philip’s flowing, golden hair and great looks should stand out in any crowd.

Winterblink: Outside of Fanfest, what are your plans for getting the views of the EVE community into your documentary?

Petter: It’s about budget, right? We’re only focusing on Fanfest at the moment – it’s the biggest gathering of EVE players and gives us easy access to CCP. If there is an EVE meet somewhere that we have the opportunity to go to, we’d of course jump at the chance.

Winterblink: I’m worried that relying on Fanfest coverage will result in only a more recent perspective of EVE. If you’re going to get into the history of EVE, what are your plans for making that content interesting beyond just a nicely produced recounting of events?

Philip: As mentioned above, we’re not getting into the history of EVE. But that would also be an interesting documentary to watch. Maybe the EVE-community themselves can make that happen?

Winterblink: What kind of EVE players are those on the team?

Petter: I’ve turned ship spinning into an art form. Weeeee! Seismic Stan, who helps us with research and other things, sends his regards and says that he’s been ”a carebearing industrialist missioner, a member of a low-sec alliance attached to CVA in the Providence NRDS era” and that he later led his corp to certain doom in null-sec as part of a -A- pet alliance. I was actually in that -A- pet alliance too. No, I’m not proud of it, but it’s not like we actually did anything. Except lag out in some huge, 1400-player scrap against Red Alliance (I think it was).

Winterblink: I have to applaud the thriftiness of your campaign, it seems you folks want the money to go straight into the production and not fluffy perks. If the campaign goes along at the pace it has been, you’ll be past your goal before the end of the funding period. If that’s the case, what can we expect the extra money to go towards?

Petter: Stretch goals are always tricky, especially since we want to keep the perks modest – there have been way too many Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns that lost a lot of money promising all kinds of toys, t-shirts and posters to their backers. When we’re closing in on the $6000 we’re hoping to raise, we’ll talk more about it.

Winterblink: How can we expect to watch the documentary once it is complete?

Philip: We will release it on a variety of social platforms such as Youtube, Vimeo and file sharing sites. Since this is a non-profit project, we want everyone to be able to watch the documentary without paying for it.

Winterblink: What do you and your team plan on doing after the documentary is done?

Philip: Probably celebrate! After that, most of us are getting back to school for our final year for our bachelor exam. If everything goes as planned with A Tale of Internet Spaceships, we’ll start to plan our next project straight away.

Winterblink: Thanks to you and your team for taking the time to answer these questions, and good luck on the fundraising campaign!

Petter: Thanks for having us! I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all the people that have supported us, both financially and by spreading the word. I should also mention that while me, Philip and Elin are the most visible, we have several other people helping us out behind the scenes – production assistants, graphical artists, researchers, consultants… Without them, this documentary would probably never happen.


If you think the idea of a community-made documentary about EVE Online is a cool one then head over to the campaign page and toss these guys some of your hard earned cash. In lieu of there being no “Taranis Love” option, I went with “Battleship Love” myself. There’s only two weeks left on the campaign, and this is a neat way to support the EVE community.


The Build Up to Battle

I always find it really interesting when mainstream media covers major events in EVE. For the most part, the buzz for fights like the one that happened in Asakai is usually contained to the game’s community itself, but occasionally things spill over into real life. There once was a time when a monstrous battle was just CAOD fodder, or a talking point in a dev blog from CCP’s cluster jockeys.  Nowadays, its coffee break chatter at my office by people who don’t even play games.

No, really. And the simple prompt to shed some light on a morning article they caught on some non-gaming news site has folks looking at me like I go home to a second life as a starship pilot in another galaxy, for real. Sometimes though the background details can be just as interesting than the fight itself.

The statistics of what was blown to smithereens during the Asakai fight were staggering, even to those of us who’ve been playing EVE for a long time. One of the recent dev blogs on the subject tallies up the numbers of losses and costs quite well, but suffice to say it was in the neighborhood of around fifty hojillion ISK. What the media never notices is that while these battles are amazing in scope, so too is the effort to get everyone to that point.

I am, of course, talking about how all the stuff that went kapoof came into being in the first place.  Behind every colossal asskicking in EVE lies an enormous infrastructure designed to convert the game’s natural resources into stuff we can fly, shoot and loot. This infrastructure is simply monstrous in its ability to create things, and it’s all managed by a very interesting type of MMO creature: the builder.

It’s too simple to just say “oh all this stuff is built by others”, because EVE is never that simple. There are certainly simple construction tasks in EVE, for example it’s extremely inexpensive in terms of skill investment to have your character be able to construct tech 1 gear, ships, and ammo. I frequently will take reprocessed mission loot and run off a bunch of hybrid ammo; I guess it provides a personal touch to everything I blow up.

Once you progress up from there, things get really interesting.  Tech 2 production will probably involve the efforts of multiple people in the game, since it’s not very practical for a single person to acquire all the materials themselves without buying something from the market that someone else has put up for sale. Tech 3 production requires a hell of a lot more effort, necessitating exploration into the game’s treacherous wormholes. The resources you find there will augment construction of components that on their own have a construction complexity of Tech 2 gear.

Then you enter the realm of capital ships, where the amount of coordination required between players increases to an incredible level. I dare say, a level far beyond that required to coordinate combat with the ships themselves.

While the smaller capital ships can be constructed in a lowsec station, super capitals must be built at a player-owned starbase orbiting a moon in 0.0 space. These must be constructed by players as well.  In order to kick off production of one of the titans blown to pieces recently, a corporation (or alliance) has to not only collect the raw materials necessary to construct the components of the ship, they’ve had to conquer and hold space in 0.0 in order to build the necessary POS infrastructure. Construction takes effort for all the components as well, meaning that even if we ignore the actual military effort required to secure a place to build it there is a massive effort required on the part of many players to get everything ready for construction.

Assuming all the stars align and construction is started, the job of security is now paramount. Supercapital construction are juicy targets for attackers since blowing up capital construction infrastructure makes all those components go up in smoke. I’m not just talking about in-game security here, there is something to be said for making your capital ship building efforts aren’t leaked to other organizations in EVE that would love to kick your sand castle over.

For those in larger alliances that deal with capital ships of their own, they’re probably going “duh” right now at all of this.  However many EVE players will go their entire in-game careers without ever setting eyes on a capital ship, and people who do not play EVE at all likely do not consider the complexity of player interaction required to construct these things.

The end result of a large battle is quite spectacular, but there is something to be said for the mind bogglingly complex system of player interactions that lead up to firing the first shot. I find that it ends up leading to a more interesting discussion with non-EVE players, and says more for the game as a whole than just the final battle report.

The Monster DUST 514 Beta Review

The promise of a first person shooter set in the EVE universe intrigued the hell out of me when I first heard hints of it being developed. While the EVE story is currently told through the adventures and shenanigans of its players, there is always the backdrop of the universe the game is set. Players now have a way to walk around in that backdrop, and do what EVE players do best: find some like minded folks, and go kick over the sand castles built by others.

Important Notes: This writeup is about my own experiences in the beta period of DUST 514.  Also, I don’t have a capture rig for my console, but luckily my spanky new TV has a mobile app that lets you scrape off screenshots. They’re highly compressed, so sorry about the screenshot quality. Better than a wall of just text, though. 

Rising to the Challenge

Lets get this out of the way right now: if you’re used to console shooters like Call of Duty or Halo, this is a game that is half shooter and half micro-economy. You will lose your assets and have to earn them back. Winning nets you greater rewards than losing, and both outcomes have effects in the worlds of both DUST 514 and EVE Online.

It’s compelling and ambitious, so lets get into it and see if there is is finally payoff to be had. This will be a pretty descriptive article on DUST 514, one from the perspective of someone who has been playing EVE Online since its beta and as someone who is both a PC and console gamer (though the PC is where my gaming heart always lies). I hope everyone can get something out of this and be able to make the decision of whether you want to try out DUST 514.

The Install

DUST 514 is a free-to-play PlayStation 3 exclusive, which means you will be having to download it from the PlayStation Store. PSN download performance has never been stellar, so expect to walk away from your console while you gobble this one down (currently DUST 514 clocks in at over two gigabytes). Once this is done the game will probably update its data files after launching, and I think this is CCP’s way of getting around massive client updates.

It’s all pretty painless for the most part. And free.

Getting Your Bearings

Character Creation

Assuming you’re patched and ready to go, character creation is nowhere near as complex as EVE’s, but it doesn’t really need to be. This will become apparent as we get more into skills later. Choosing your race, sex, and profession yields you an initial set of skills and a specialized starter fitting, so its probably best to read the descriptions. That being said, your gameplay path is not set in stone here, not by a long shot.

Mercenary Quarters

After some introductory videos you will be dumped in to your mercenary quarters. This is your home base, with various physical implements to shop, play with your gear, etc. This is entirely window dressing on all the features that are on the Neocom, accessible via the start button, which you will probably use exclusively rather than the terminals in your quarters. It’s just faster and easier.

The Neocom is your one-button access to features that help you find battles, manage your character and gear, find a corporation to join, and more. It allows for quick access to all of these features without forcing you to mess around with a giant pile of nested menu options.


The equipment you can use in DUST affect your role in combat, and skills affect what things you can use. If you want to use a shotgun, you need to have the shotgun skill trained. The skills Neocom menu item lets you browse what skills you have on hand and upgrade them to a maximum of five levels each. To start out you will have enough skills and infinitely reusable gear to get you into combat right away, but it pays to plan your route a bit by taking time to manage your skills.  You acquire skill points passively (around one point every four or five seconds), and get a few thousand each match you complete. You can then spend your acquired skill points to increase the level of skills you own, making gear more effective or unlocking your ability to use more things. Each skill level is progressively more costly to upgrade than the previous one.

This can seem initially a bit complicated if you’re not used to EVE Online’s way of doing things, but the concepts here are straightforward. You level up prerequisite skills to enable other more specialized ones, which opens the door for more powerful gear and abilities. It’s simple, and works well here.

Shiny New Things

If you’re looking to spend some of your initial cash on new items, the Market browser lets you do just that.  I found it useful to hit the Market first and see what’s out there, in order to help plan what skills I would eventually level up. there are several categories of items to choose from, including weapons and dropsuits, modules for your dropsuits such as armor and shields, and various support items like grenades, repair guns, and the like.

Market Main

It’s worth noting right away that if you’re looking to try things out without investing skill points, the Militia section of the market has a pile of mediocre gear that requires no skill levels to use. It was handy to buy a few different variations on equipment types so I could settle on a particular path with little or no investment, other than the game’s common currency ISK which is rewarded upon completion of battles. In this way, playing the different combat roles is accessible and cheap for the starting player. You won’t be as effective as someone who’s invested skill points and cash, but you can at least see if something’s right for you.

The Market browser contains a ton of hardware. Often, a category of items will include advanced and experimental versions which cost more ISK or even Aurum (AU), the game’s spacebucks you buy with real world money through the PSN store. If you spot a blueprint version of an item, that means you effectively have infinite numbers of that item in your inventory. Otherwise, everything will have to be bought individually for you to use.

Keep this particular fact in mind. If you want to use something you have to buy it with currency of some kind, in-game or otherwise. Replacing items you’ve lost in combat will cost you.

As with any free-to-play game, microtransactions are here.  You can exchange real world money for Aurum and use that to purchase some items that may give you an advantage in some situations. It’s not really pay to win though, and some of the paid dropsuits look really neat. Nothings terribly overpriced, so if you’ve dropped a few bucks in games like Planetside 2, expect the same style of purchase prices here.

Suiting Up

The Fittings menu item in your Neocom is the place to go to get your gear ready for fighting. Each fitting starts with a dropsuit, providing the base statistics platform you will work off of. Dropsuits provide high, medium and low slots for equipment, powergrid and CPU to run those equipment, as well as weapons and utility slots for guns and gear. The Fittings section lets you throw together the gear you own into what are effectively templates, which you can name what you wish for quick identification later.

The dropsuits generally follow the racial specialization formula that is present in EVE, though this does not always preclude you from mixing suit types with weapon types:

  • Caldari Assault – generic trooper, usually uses assault rifles
  • Gallente Scout – squishy trooper, usually uses sniper rifles
  • Minmatar Logistics – de-squishes other troopers through heals and revives
  • Amarr Heavy – non-squishy trooper fond of weapons the size of other players

Dropsuit Fitting

This is also the place you come to restock your fittings, spending your hard earned ISK to make sure you have enough gear lined up to fight with. Again, dying in combat means losing your stuff. If you’re investing in expensive dropsuits and expensive gear to go along with it, expect to lose a lot of your match earnings on replacing them.

No matter how you went through the character creation process, you will end up with several starter fittings.  These will cover off some basic combat roles, and also don’t deplete in combat. Consider these your go-to fits when you don’t want to risk purchased equipment.

Getting a new dropsuit ready for combat is a straightforward affair once you get used to it.  Remember that you need to actually have an item in your possession in order to fit it the first time, so you may find yourself running back and forth between the fittings and market areas to buy various items and experiment with fitting them. If you find your dropsuit just barely doesn’t cover the powergrid or CPU requirements for something, the market sells items which boost those stats, as well as skills that reduce the requirements of items. There’s definitely some complexity here that should keep you busy once you start delving in to your own customized dropsuits.

Along with dropsuits, this is also the area to manage your vehicle fittings.  Similar mechanisms apply to vehicle fittings, which are configurable with a plethora of turrets to blast at your enemies with.

Lets Fight

Ok, we’ve danced around this long enough, time to go shoot some things. Heading to your Neocom you will find the Battle Finder, where you will be able to pick a battle type to take part in. At the time of this writing only Ambush and Skirmish types to choose from, the former being basically team deathmatch, and the latter being what we normally see in other shooters as conquest mode.

Battle Finder

Skirmish is by far the most interesting of the two, where each team drops to the surface from a Mobile Command Center (MCC) hovering over the surface of the battlefield. They then fight over capturing control points on the map.

After picking a match you won’t have long to wait, I’ve never had to wait longer than 30 seconds to get into a match. Sometimes you’ll join one in progress, but that’s fine since it keeps you from waiting around. You’ll usually end up in a kind of briefing deck in orbit of the planet you’re about to fight on.

Waiting Room

It’s a nice touch, letting you check out the armor of your compatriots and get some last minute fitting tweaks done before the fight starts.

You start by picking a spawn point to show up at — to start you’ll usually have one or maybe two. This is where you will select one of those fittings you worked on earlier, and head to the nearest control point.  Holding down the circle button starts a hacking timer, eventually flipping the control point to your side and it will begin firing cruise missiles at the enemy MCC.

The enemy team is doing the same thing of course, and thus begins conflict where you win by one of two ways: kill all the enemies depleting their clone reserves or keeping control of the majority of control points, blowing their MCC out of the sky.

Orbital Strike

Speaking of the sky, it frequently becomes your enemy in DUST.  The much touted orbital bombardment shows up from time to time, and being on the receiving end results in a very brief demise. It’s an awesome area denial tool, and if timed right can pave the way for a well timed assault to follow.

I was expecting more of an epic sense of occasion when one of these happens, but sadly all you get a strange tone (the louder it is the closer the strike will be to your location) and suddenly things start exploding. Now I’m not saying there has to be some sort of insane effect like a Final Fantasy Bahamut summon, but for all intents and purposes this is basically like a hugely powerful bunch of grenades going off. Given it represents the purest sort of EVE Online vs DUST 514 player vs player interaction, I was expecting something more epic — more Michael Bay, less Stephen Soderbergh.

If you’ve played deathmatch modes in pretty much any other game, you won’t be surprised about what’s on offer for DUST’s Ambush mode. It’s as generic as it gets, with a shorter respawn time than Skirmish, and semi-random respawn locations that you can’t pick from. It’s faster than the Skirmish mode, but nowhere near as enjoyable.

On Combat

Combat in DUST is fairly unique to the shooter genre, but not completely for positive reasons. Dual stick controls have always been janky, and most of the big games out there like the two I mentioned earlier go to great lengths to force the game to operate well with the tools you’re given. DUST tries its best, and even gives you some adjustable settings to help with the sensitivity of each control axis, but the reality is this: you will be fighting the controls the majority of the time you play this game.

You will find you are either adjusting your too slowly to be effective at close or medium range, or far too rapidly to be able to finesse the sniper rifles. I’ve seen two teams of six empty clip after clip at each other and achieve nothing measurable, mostly because the casualties ended up being the sky, walls, and ground.

A keyboard and mouse would help here, and DUST 514 certainly supports the addition of those as controllers. But lets be real here, the vast majority of PS3 players are more likely to charge up their Move controllers than plug in a keyboard and mouse. I can’t fault CCP for giving the options for controller options, it’s certainly a plus.


I also hope you like grenade spam and bunny-hopping, there’s tons of both of those here even though most modern shooters have found some way to mitigate both in some capacity. With DUST 514, both techniques are effective, and thus widespread enough to make your eyes roll.

It’s also becoming apparent that certain weapons are becoming extremely popular due to their deadliness, and I think these problems with the combat controls are helping with that.  Heavy machine guns turn the wearer into a walking minigun, eschewing actual accuracy for dumping a wall of metal at enemies. If you don’t have one, you’ll need two extra buddies to soak up the incoming rounds with you and pray you can out-damage him. And if I had a nickel for each time I’ve been killed by a GEK-38 assault rifle I’d be able to retire — hell, it’s #5 on the top list of PSN store purchase for DUST, if you don’t have one good luck soloing a player who does. Lets not mention getting one-shot-killed at range by a shotgun.


There’s a couple of reasons why this kind of stuff matters with DUST.  Death means a few things for you here. First, you’ve just lost your entire fitting — dropsuit, guns, modules, you name it. If you’re not using one of those starter fits, that death just cost you an entire fitting you will now have to restock when you’re back at your mercenary hideout. Second, As your character lays on the ground listening to his dying heart beat slower and slower you realize you could be doing something right now — oh yeah, respawning.

You could wait around for a team member with a nanite injector to come along to revive you, but it’s a crap shoot whether anyone will even notice your revive icon on the map and bother to help you out. I frequently play as a medic, and nine times out of ten someone choose to respawn when I’m two feet away with nanite injector in hand. A revive won’t cost your team a clone so if you see the little blue dots on the minimap winning over the red ones you should probably wait around and save yourself some time and in-game money.

Respawning is an unacceptably long experience with DUST 514: you’re looking at around a minimum of 20 seconds (yes, I’ve timed it) between that bullet that put you down and stepping back on the Skirmish battlefield as a new you. The sequence goes like this (times approximate, of course):

  1. you get shot
  2. you fall to the ground
  3. the option to respawn comes up
  4. you pick to respawn, whiny music plays, the game fades to black
  5. the game loads the big map for you to select a spawn point
  6. you pick one, and get a ten second spawn timer (at this point you’ve already been out of the action at least that long anyway)
  7. the game slowly loads you back in and if you’re lucky you weren’t just killed before you could move your ass to cover

What will really make you laugh is when you’re down to one second on that ten second spawn timer and someone successfully hacks the control point you were trying to spawn at: because that cancels your spawn and you have to pick a new spawn point, with a new ten second countdown. I can see why they chose to do this, since capturing a control point makes you a complete sitting duck and having the entire enemy force spawning around you is sub-ideal. Even with that being said, the pacing seems way off the mark.

Vehicle combat is present here as well, which you summon to the battlefield by pressing one of the D-pad buttons and selecting one of your premade vehicle fits. Coming up against a battle tank alone with your assault rifle results in a quick death, which is as it should be. Dropships can be used to deal aerial death with your friends manning turrets, and quick light buggies can be summoned up to get you around the maps faster.  Vehicles don’t seem overly off balance, since a few smart folks with swarm launchers can end any serious threat.


When the stars do align and you find yourself with a group of like minded individuals, you can pull off some great moments of assaulting and capturing, but overall these are pretty rare unless you show up with a premade squad of friends. What would help for this is a system whereby you can designate attack/defend orders for your squad members, which give bonuses to XP when performing actions in that area.  This is actually in the game, but I’ve only ever seen it used twice and in both cases the individual set a defend order on himself. The 256-player shooter monstrosity that was MAG pulled this concept off much better than DUST does, resulting in gameplay that is far less like chaotic gang brawls and more like an organized ground war.


When one side wins, the game tallies up the rewards. You’re given a bunch of skill points to go into your unused skill point pool for later spending, and a pile of ISK as well. How much you’re given depends on how much you participated in the battle. Damaging enemy assets, shooting enemy soldiers, capturing control points, etc. all go towards giving you extra rewards. If you do really well, you may also be rewarded with items such as vehicles, guns, etc. that you can use later. Some of these are rare, and I think only come as battle rewards.


If this seems like an overwhelmingly negative review of the combat in DUST, consider that as a free-to-play shooter the only reason for you to continue playing it is the combat experience.  There’s a lot of rough edges here which I hope are smoothed out as the game progresses out of beta.

The Presentation

I have to talk about the framerate first, because this is one of the biggest gripes I have with DUST 514. There are times when things are smooth, but those times are usually when my mercenary is alone in the corner of his quarters doing nothing but staring at the wall. In combat, the game has a horribly inconsistent framerate, dropping well below 30fps frequently. This is absolutely horrible for a first person shooter, and is worth getting out there for those expecting to immerse themselves  a butter smooth EVE FPS with a high level of graphical fidelity. Count on it affecting your performance in fights.


It’s not for lack of trying, though. Level designs are monstrous and open, making good use of terrain and buildings to encourage flanking or distance-based tactics while others go in for close range. Ambient light is reflected in surfaces well, and one fight I had on a world with a deep red sun had a great ominous feel as our armor all took on the extra sinister color. But the grand scope of the environments comes at a cost of overall fidelity, and close scrutiny will reveal that.

Dropsuit and vehicle designs are pure EVE Online, drawing effectively on the racial design language developed over the years. They’re almost impossible to discern at a distance, but up close the designs are distinct.

The sound design of DUST has some excellent moments. The voiceover work of the female announcer adds some really cool sci-fi ambiance to any moment of the game. It can get incredibly repetitive during fights where a lot of captures are happening as each attempt  and success/failure is announced, but it sounds cool and helps with situational awareness. Most battle sounds are good, but a lot of the gun sounds are incredibly limp. The assault rifles sound like slowly pouring a pack of toothpicks onto a tiled floor, and even though sniper rifles are the size of a cell phone tower they sound about as powerful as a Nerf dart gun.

There’s actually so little oomph to the game’s audio that my subwoofer went to sleep. I’m not kidding at all, it basically gave up waiting on there being enough bass to trigger, and went into power saving mode.

It has already been announced that an update to the game’s audio is planned that will improve upon the sounds that are currently in the beta version. I’m hoping CCP delivers for those of us LFE junkies out there that invested in their home theater audio hardware.

Overhead Map

Overall, the presentation disappoints in a lot of critical areas. The framerate is a critical issue, and it’s entirely obvious that some concessions have been made in order to realize CCP’s grand vision.  The platform is most likely the issue, as the PS3 takes considerable know-how to be able to crank out high quality visuals.  Even the most knowledgeable developers often end up with a final product with sub-HD internal rendering resolutions or godawful textures.


It goes without saying that even though the NDA is just now being lifted the game is still in beta. All of the above is likely to be balanced, improved, tweaked, etc. However, having owned a PS3 since its launch, I have very little faith the game can and will be brought to a state that it needs to be in order to worth a long term investment of your time. This whole business isn’t meant to bash the game or the efforts put into it, I’ve been itching for DUST to be a quality experience since day 1. In its current beta state, the game has serious flaws, and resolving those is going to take considerable effort.

Marketing screenshots for the game show a hell of a lot more detail than is present in the game we’ve been playing thus far. I have a sneaky suspicion that CCP is, as usual, not putting its eggs in one basket. A move to the PC would be one that most EVE players would be interested in, and games like Planetside 2 have shown there is a market for a capable sci-fi free-to-play shooter. With new consoles just around the corner, CCP will have to migrate DUST to a new platform soon, or the game is destined to be a ghost town by this time next year.

If you’re looking for a different way to experience the worlds of the EVE cluster, then by all means give this a whirl. EVE lore doesn’t quite feel as alive here as I’d prefer, and the experience certainly suffers for the choice in platform, but the technological achievement of linking the PlayStation Network with EVE Online is compelling. For me to wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone though, I feel that CCP has a lot of work ahead of it to get the whole experience streamlined enough.

As the worlds of both games are brought more in step with each other there will be interesting financial and combat opportunities for EVE players, and DUST players will be able to plan active role in what is arguably one of the most complex and fascinating universes in gaming.

DUST Merging with EVE

It’s been a long time coming, but CCP is about to make good on the promise of an integrated MMO and FPS this coming Thursday, January 10th 2013.

On Thursday the 10th of January, following a slightly longer than usual scheduled downtime, we will be migrating over players currently participating in the DUST 514 closed beta from Singularity to Tranquility.

This is not only significant for those of us who’ve been playing EVE, but for the gaming industry as a whole. This simply has never really been done before, and in true CCP style they are taking slow baby steps to make sure the delicate balance of both games aren’t going to be totally ruined.

While you won’t be able to send billions of ISK to your DUST characters yet, you will be able to drop truckloads of searing hot plasma on them from orbit. Bombardment is a go folks, for now limited to low security systems involved with faction warfare.

Personally I wish I didn’t have to coordinate with DUST soldiers at all, and just be able to pull into orbit and provide random gameplay enhancement to the soldiers on the ground. There’s a weird quote from the dev blog where they mention “the first flavor being the Tactical Strike”. That implies other flavors, and I hope one of those flavors is Random EVE Asshole Messing With DUST Players.

With local chat integration, ISK sellers will be able to reach more people now since we can openly communicate with DUST mercenaries.

Actually that alone should make things interesting since the beta is still closed and the NDA is still technically in effect.  They will be dealing with NDA violations left and right so I can only imagine that it will be lifted soon. I’d love to post my thoughts about DUST.

With this integration now happening so soon, how are you going to participate in DUST related activities – PC or PS3?