Tuesday, 20 August 2013

CPM move forces CCP to finally gets its arse in gear?

While not exactly a cause for putting up the bunting just yet, it would seem that the recent CPM meeting with senior members of the Dust development team has resulted in a 'clearing of the air' according to CPM menber Hans Jagerblitzen in his latest post in The Counci's Chamber.

This is of course should still seen as good news for the future health of the game and should be welcomed by the community as a positive step in the right direction.

It should also in my opinion, finally put a nail in the coffin of the debate about if the formation of the CPM was just misdirection on the part of CCP. There has been a number of times now that the CPM have proved their value. Changes to PC, the Academy, the open statement that led to this clearing the air. Their value has also been shown when they've not been consulted. Had they been asked, the current debacle of the Prime Tourney would've have been entirely avoided.

Yes, they weren't elected. And perhaps some have been less visible or as effective as they could've been. But the question of should they be here in the first place is now an answered one. I for one have been grateful for their service so far. As for those that still continue to pour scorn over them purely because they weren't elected as the beta CPM and should only be concerned about setting up the voting process for CPM1.. Well, you're beginning to sound like a broken record now and generally being ignored by the majority of the community as someone who can't get over that they didn't get an invite to a party.

Any elections for a CPM1 would follow the same pattern with the CSM. Voting would be in the weeks building up to Fanfest 2014 and the result announced there. Meaning that the term of the beta CPM0 would be at least 10 months in length. To expect them to just concentrate on a voting system is frankly a nonsense. The CPM1 won't want to waste their time 'clearing the air'. Procedures need to put in place for not just the next CPM but the ones that come after. And that is what CPM0 are doing as well the voting system.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

So why is Dust struggling to retain those that come and try it?

Well, first of all, it's not because the game itself is too hard. Lets get that out of the way right now. We don't have to teach rocket science in DUST University just a few basics for most and more specialised training for those that want it, like our Squad Leader Certification programme.

And its not because the community is intimidating. There's a few trolls and to be honest a small number of arseholes intent on ruining the fun for others, likely because Daddy wouldn't get them a pony. But these are very much in the minority and rightly derided by the remainder.

The main reason is that it's not FUN!!!

I mean the game itself. I've has some hilarious times playing in the right squad and thats been fun. Fusion Commander, Reevira, TrueXeros, Otera, the sadly missed 3 bird, Naedeus, Phyxitt and dozens of other too numerous to mention both in D-UNI and outside. Playing with these guys and gals is fun.

But the game itself is too much of a grind. It's inconsistent and it's horribly imbalanced in favour of the proto gearheads. 

Not to put too much pressure on one of the community's favourite Dev Team's, True Grit, I'm now firmly of the opinion that a comprehensive matchmaking system is going to be the thing that stems the loss of new players and retain them better. Not new content, though that is nice and always to be welcomed, or eye candy like 'God Rays' and perhaps even more important than the fixing of 'Murder Taxis'. Matchmaking that keeps the newer players separate from the vets and their larger wallets, SP counts and need to to proto stomp newbs in order to make them feel that they're a great player.

I've never been able to understand the need to proto stomp the newbs in pub matches. And those that do it still HAVE to take some responsibility for the low take up of the game once a new player starts. With the now laughable 400 WP needed to leave the 'Academy' matches new players are just getting slaughtered!! And thats not fun!!! Oh I'm sure that the stompers are having fun while they give each other a metaphorical reach around, congratulating themselves about how good they are. But the new player, the people that the game REALLY needs right now are put off the game because of these clowns.

Which is why the matchmaking isn't going to be enough in the long run. What we need is a filter system for newer players to ease themselves at their own pace. We already have such a system in place fortunately. The meta levels of the equipment. Allow players to dictate which matches they can join. A new player can select a Skirmish match and ask the game to place them in one where the only fits allowed are Militia or Standard fits only. The game then places them in a queue while it finds players  wanting the same criteria and are within a million SP of them in total. As they get better and more comfortable they can up the Fit levels till eventually they are in Proto matches should they wish. 

I'd still allow higher SP players to use a Militia fit in a Proto fit filtered match should they choose to do that. One of my great pleasures in the game to to take out multiple Proto using players, who have the gear but no idea with my BPO/advanced combo Dren suit. The majority of Proto fit users STILL don't realise that the game pays you less ISK for killing inferior equipped mercs, And the more of them you kill the less it pays... They must be losing soooo much ISK per match and wondering why they're not rich? I kill loads of these guys. I hardly ever lose more than 6 10K fits a match and depending on how many LAV's and Tanks I take out, I'm making 200-300k a match! And yes, my KDR is still above 1 thank you very much.

This is why I'm personally looking forward to 1.4. Seeing what it can do place the newer players in a fun environment, while making the proto users fight amongst themselves.

Who knows.... they may even discover there that they're not actually as good as they thought. 

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

So.... I'm going to stand for CPM. I must be crazy right?

So after some thinking and maybe a bit of cockiness creeping in, I've decided that I can make a more direct contribution to how Dust 514 progresses from here. And so I'm going to stand for election in the first elected CPM.

I like to think that steering DUST University from the closed beta to what it is now, gives some indication as to the affinity and warm regard I hold for Dust 514 and the community that has grown around it in the last year. It also means that my respect for what CCP are trying to achieve has also grown during that time.

There are very few of the large developers that would've tried to do a game like Eve. And there are fewer still that would succeed in making such a game last 10 years. But despite being a small developer at the top of the world (or maybe because of it), CCP have achieved the near impossible. A single shard universe so large and detailed in scoop and having its own history, that no one has managed to top it.

And CCP are making it even larger with the addition of DUST 514.

But before you all come to the conclusion that I'm a creature of CCP, like all things you love, there are times when you hate them too.

Dust is so far behind its promise right now that some are questioning its continued survival.  I admit there are even times when it makes me want to bang my head against the wall. I usually bang the Duelshock very hard against the wall instead. Meaning that I'm now on my fifth one after getting the PS3 for Dust a year ago.

My recent piece that I wrote for the Duster Blog after they very kindly asked for my opinion isn't exactly a love letter to CCP. Some of the cursing I've come out with on Boots On The Ground is a little embarrassing considering the ban of gutter language I have in D-UNI. But these are only because I love the game, so I get cross with CCP when they make mistakes.

But despite these frustrations I've done very little gaming other than on Dust. Oh I've dabbled a with The Last Of Us and played some Skyrim on the 360 but its Dust that has captured my imagination in a way that only one game has before. Eve Online.

I recently did a video on my YouTube channel detailing my opinions as to why the naysayers are wrong about the demise of Dust. As much as I want to poke CCP with a sharp stick at times I want them to succeed more.

So what do I think I can do on the CPM. Well, I've no real interest in the political realities of New Eden, so Planetary Conquest and the meta game around it are very dull to me at the moment. I don't think they represent value to a new player, just the established ones. And this game needs new players. A lot of them and it needs them fast.

And for that there needs to be a sense of fun back into the game. A sense of enjoyment and just having a blast with friends, rather than the pitiful grind of an SP dungeon.

There also need to be a complete dismantling of the laughably poor New Player Experience of Dust 514, and a rebuilding of it from the ground up. Even with the game in such an incomplete state, there's more complexity than any other FPS out there. Its a comment I get in application after application that arrives in the DUST University inbox. 'I'm lost!! Please help!!' is the usual cry from a new Merc. And some of the old ones too, truth be told...

The game needs to explain itself better. I've already submitted ideas to CCP and I've had  positive feedback from them on it. We can do a lot in D-UNI but the game can't rely on us and others do all the work for it.

So that's what I want to focus on should I be lucky enough to get the chance. Work for the new players so they stick around, enjoy themselves and provide targets for the older ones....