Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Turning a corner...

Well, its been a week. 

A week where I've personally been really busy in Real Life and not had as much time with the latest point build of Dust, 1.4, that I would've liked. But after a shaky start with the matchmaking I've become  very impressed with this latest iteration 

Theres been the usual whining about certain things. The aim assist for DuelShock users is too strong is my particular favourite. Almost exclusively, this particular whinge has been uttered by M&KB users. Well you got your chosen control method buffed to the point that there is none of the restriction you first had in the game. And as its the best control method ever according to that small electronic  xenophobic core of you that considers controller users as fools, finding that your having to work a bit harder just tells me that the aim assist is now just about right. Helps that the hit detection no longer seems to use a D20 as well.

The new maps are too big..... are you kidding me??!!

1.5 is all about the vehicle balancing. They're going to get the love that they so desperately need and they need some maps that are going to allow them to shine and become indispensable. And we need to be introduced to those maps first. The snipers aren't happy about them either. Lets be clear now, the ONLY reason some are complaining is that they maps are of such a size they have to come out of their precious redline to hit anything. That's right, they have to become combatants rather than KDR whores and cowards. Well, boo-boo for them. 

Splash damage from explosive infantry weapons still needs a bit of a nerf with Massholers becoming prevalent again. The removal of squad shared Tacnet info has been a big success with the active scanners finally finding their feet and becoming as important as drop uplinks in an equipment slot. 

New rendering effects, removal of memory leaks and the Neocom getting some love, with my usual spam of mistaken replies to the welcome mail almost disappearing over night with the new send box rather than just pressing X and just being a little faster overall. 

Theres still a couple of problems. Corp Tax income should filtered to find the info you might want and the history of it needs to go back a few days rather than a few minutes. Corp chat channels need admin powers being granted to Dust players rather than just Eve players in that channel.  

As mentioned, 1.5 is all about the vehicles but CCP Wolfman confirmed that new weapons are coming too. My own expectation on that point is that the Caldari and Minmatar equivalents of the AR and Scrambler Rifle will be joining us with maybe a surprise or two. 

1.6 has been hinted at as being about the Corp UI with roles finally making an appearance. My own hope is that we might be taking steps towards the fabled Eve/Dust finally become important with some introduction to the economy of Eve and maybe beyond towards the the end of the year. 

But who knows as to CCP's plans. All I know is that 1.4 seems to have turned a corner in the development of Dust and it finally knows which way it needs to turn.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

'Idleness is the parent of psychology' Neitzsche


Its corrosive powers can be devastating to an unengaged mind. It can lay low the most focused of intellects, groups and even entire economies.

So is the case in Dust at the moment. Players are starved of content, playing with the same friends, day in, day out, can lead to repetitive strain of the mind. 

Without a constantly evolving and expanding gaming experience, MMO's can die a premature end. That is not to say that Dust is dying. Far from it. There is content coming, some really good content in fact. But Dust players are currently playing the role of a dog, looking up the street from the window, waiting for its master to come home and chuck it a stick.

And that ain't no way to play a game.  

Like that waiting dog, we jump at the slightest glimpse of movement at the corner of the street, returning to our barely restrained desire to play and ready to pounce when we do finally see that stick.

So what do we do in the meantime?

We do what is expected in New Eden, we play the meta game. Or rather, we attempt to. A lot of the Dust players, freshly arrived in New Eden are not used to this level of intrigue. And most are failing miserably at it. But this is through no fault of their own. Expectations of the meta game in Dust are high. But these expectations are fuelled to a unreasonable level because of the history of the meta game in Eve. 

Why unreasonable you ask?

Eve has a decade of content, history and participation. The opportunities for the meta are vast, practiced and unrestrained in imagination because the content is there to support it. Content that Dust simply does not have in place yet. The most exciting thing to happen in the meta game is the current PC war. Player generated, involving hundreds of Merc's but gossamer thin in depth and barely papering over the cracks in a game mechanic that after 3 months of iteration still can't fire the imagination of the majority of the games population. 

Oh we have a couple of Districts to be sure. But ours is not a occupation based on the thrill of conquest, rather a way for us to create a form of meta game from the only spade available in the sandbox. A way to pursue our educational goals. 

But rest assured, when that first bucket finally drops into the sandbox, we're going to be very practised with that spade.