Sunday, 30 December 2012

Dust 514: Lone Wolves need not apply

So I'm back after a Christmas break..

Not really, just been playing Dust a lot. Chromosome really is the point where the game has hit it's stride. Not just in the game play but in the back office too, where communication between Eve and Dust players has become easier to do. Still not up to the full Eve corp experience but its now possible to control and govern your team.

On the test server Singularity I've now left the comforts of Eve University to join Kevall's Uni Dust Bunnies. I'm in the process of fitting out the appropriate ships for OB and then joining the Mercs in their home system. So it's all beginning to move up a gear.

But with chromosome there is one thing that is now becoming clear. Dust 514 is going to be a hard game.

A very hard game.

And it's is going to present a problem that needs to be addressed. Lone Wolves.

You know the sort of player I'm talking about. They likely represent the majority of console FPS players out there today. Despite what Activision and EA may claim about the social interaction of their respective franchises we know from our own experiences that most players rarely form up in groups and play as a team. There are the exceptions that prove the rule of course and if you've ever gone up against those guys you know that humiliation is sure to follow.

But Dust is different. By its design and the way the game is now balanced, it presents players with real options of working as a team. Players really become the greater of the sum of their parts. So much so that even a competent team of 8 could easily take on twice that number and own the battlefield. This is of course a well known scenario in Eve. Not so much in Call of Duty.

The average Lone Wolf COD player is going to rage quit pretty quickly after getting their ass kicked repeatedly and these are the players that CCP are after.

It's also the players that Dust University will be after. In Eve, the majority that join Eve University have usually graduated and gone onto bigger things within six weeks. And they usually stay on in the game. It's why CCP LOVE the player training corps in Eve and try to point new players to them. Players that join a training corp have a much higher subscription retention than other players. They get past the learning cliff quickly and stick around.

There is a similar cliff in Dust 514 but its not educational in nature, it's in terms of play style.

Dust University is not going to be the best Kill/Death ratio corp in Dust and New Eden. It's not going to have the largest amount of WP and its not going to be hardest to play against. I also expect the turn around of those that join to be less than a couple of weeks before they move on and join other corps.

What it will be is where these Lone Wolves will come and find out about the myriad ways of playing this game and how they all have one thing in common. Teams hunt wolves and kill them.

Best be in a team then.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Chromosome: When being a logi was worth something and Dust began to settle

As we know, this week saw the the latest and final build of Dust 514 before it goes to open beta.

It marks a significant step up in the evolution of Dust, in so much as the Fanfest 2012 presentation 'Roles on the Battlefield' has now become reality. For the first time since the beta began, logistics has now become a desirable role to play with the kudos and the rewards now given to it by the game mechanic itself rather than just a way to WP boost.

Balancing has now come to several of the weapon platforms, most notably the Assault Rifle which now has the Iron Sights except for the Burst variants which retain the red dot sight but regain the minimal kickback they used to have making them a potent force on the field once again. It also means that AR's once again require skill to use well.

The final patch notes for Chromosome are the longest yet for the beta and there is nothing that hasn't been tightened up or balanced, much as Eve has with the Retribution expansion.

Corp management is still lacking but this build also puts down the foundations for Eve players to start bombing Dust Bunnies on the Sisi test server.

But that comes with the next build and I can't wait

Friday, 14 December 2012

The CSM is talking and talking...

So as every Dust Bunnie knows about NDA's it seems pointless to complain about the one that holds the CSM7 in its grip...

Except in the case of Dust 514.

Yes, I know it's I beta, yes I know there are elements that may be commercially sensitive because of the other games coming up that are entering the same space... But Dust should now be in open beta because of that very reason. Dust is looking like its already behind when it had a head start. The deliberate, methodical development cycle that Eve players are used to isn't going to cut it in the fast paced world of FPS.

Eve players interested in Dust will hang around to see it grow into the awesomeness we know it will turn into. Eventually.

Console FPS players won't. I'm a ten year veteran of Xbox Live. I was in the UK beta when most hadn't even heard of it. So I like to think I know something if the FPS player mindset and if CCP haven't realised it by now, I'll spell it out for you. Most console FPS players, be it Halo, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Killzone etc, etc, have the attention span of a ADD sufferer on a sugar rush. They like the shiny and are easily distracted by new stuff. So come on CCP, this is isn't normal console development.. Your linking a new game into an established MMOG using beta players from that same 10 year old game. This is so far removed from a normal console game development that if you think it is after 4 years, then Dust will get into trouble. Very quick.

That being said however and because I like the shiny too check out this vid and ponder, when do we get to play this build?

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sir Patrick Moore has left us

It is a most difficult thing to hear that one of your childhood heroes has gone.

But this lunchtime myself and many, many others I suspect, have had to come to terms with such a passing.

I'm British, I love science and I love space. I am a nerd. And Sir Patrick Moore was perhaps the catalyst for all of that and all the pleasure I have had from it all.

For 55 years, longer than I have been alive, he presented The Sky At Night, making it the longest running show with the same presenter in television history. His maps of the Lunar surface were used by both the USA and the Russians in the race to the moon. Author of dozens of books on astronomy and an accomplished xylophone player and with his monocle, he best represented the worldwide perception of the British as being eccentric.

But most of all, he made us look up and be bewitched by what we saw.

We thank you Sir Patrick Moore.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

CSM7 Town hall meeting

So the 7th CSM held a Town Hall Meeting this evening on Eve University's Mumble server and many things where discussed amongst them of course was Dust 514.

It was gratifying to find that many members of the CSM share the same concerns as to the direction of Dust 514 development as I do. Pace is not quick enough in my eyes and the link to Eve needs to be established now in order to test it.

The clock is ticking guys. I was there at Fanfest when you stated you wanted the largest gaming universe in the universe by the next Fanfest in 2013.

Unless there's some major updates and soon(tm) at that, Dust 514 is in trouble.

Friday, 7 December 2012

So why 'Kevall's Uni Dust Bunnies'?

Simple answer.

I coughed up the ISK in game to create the corporation, I'll call it what I want.

Now the not so simple answer.

Dust University (D-UNI) already exists in the game that is Eve. A member of the Ivy League (IVY) since 21/02/2011 it's been waiting, prepared but dormant, till such time as it was needed. That time is coming soon(tm).

However, the corp features in Dust at the moment are minimal to say the least and actions taken within the Sisi test server don't follow through as yet between Dust and Eve. You can't give roles to player in a corp recruited via Dust using the corp tools in Eve for example. Major PITA.

So in order for me to use what function I can glean from the Dust and Eve link on Sisi I created a temporary corporation (KUDB) so I could keep tabs on membership numbers, login activity that sort of thing. And with no API tools for Dust yet, I'm doing it all with pen and paper.

Which is just as well as my computing skills suck harder than a Dyson.

Hello and Welcome.

I am Dennie Fleetfoot.

Capsuleer, member of Eve University and Director Of Operations for Dust University and most importantly, citizen of New Eden.

So why create a blog?

Well, it's something I've never done before and that is usually good enough reason to give anything new a go. I've also never had the need to create a blog before but now I do.

Chances are you've been directed here from my twitter feed @DennieFleetfoot . You've also likely fought alongside or even against my clone brother Kevall Longstride in Dust 514. You may even be in my temporary Dust 514 corporation 'Kevall's Uni Dust Bunnies' which Kevall is the CEO of.

Because of these new responsibilities I've come to realise that I need a public portal larger than the 144 letters that twitter can afford me. So here we are. There will be mis-steps along the way as I find my feet in the blogosphere but I'm sure you'll let me know.....