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The Gametrailers review trashed Dust 514, giving it a 44 out of 100 and saying it wasn’t worth your time.
If you decide to press yourself into service to experience the limited pleasures of Dust’s completely unremarkable battles, you’ll find it hard not to wonder what could have been. So much potential turned into so much dull shooting. Instead of an experience that’s been richly integrated into EVE Online, we’re left with a me-too shooter that’s eager to take and unwilling to give, doing very little to justify its own existence. It may be technically free, but it isn’t worth even a minute of your time.
IGN wasnt much kinder, saying the game was a disappointment and lacked a solid foundation, and rating the game a 5.8.
While we don’t agree with either completely, both reviews brought up aspects of the game that need improving in a very short time period. In our opinion, CCP Games can use these subpar reviews as fuel and as road-map on what to focus on.
What the negative reviewers are saying is pretty clear: ‘No quarter will be given based on the potential of what you are trying to accomplish. Iteration and constant updates sound really, really nice, but right now we think your game just isn’t very good. The big part that most of the reviewers missed, is that Dust isn’t some title that will charge you $59.99 for a bad product and will charge you additional for content that they should have added to begin with. Dust is something they’ve never seen before in that all regular updates are free and the game as it exists is simply a foundation that they will build upon.
Now we could be ‘drinking the kool-aid’ here because we know every game company tries to sell you on things they could potentially do. The thing that makes us believe is we’ve been a witness to their regular and timely support and rebalancing of the Dust. CCP Games has engaged the community at an unheard of level and their consumer friendly business model makes it so you only pay for content you decide has value. They have all the incentive in the world to make good on their promises, why? Because if the content isn’t regular and worth spending money on, no one continue putting money into the game. Players can still play the full game without spending a dime and can even go on hiatus until the content they want arrives while still gaining progressing.
So what are the things that need fixing? Most importantly how do you separate what mechanics are actually bad from the horribly dated mechanics that FPS fans are simply used to? We’re big fans of Dust, but still we’ll try to make an impartial assessment of issues that need addressing.
Framerate -This is a performance area that has to improve. We know this, players know this, CCP know this.
Lag - We wont beat a dead horse here, sufficeth to say that three years ago a shooter had 256 players on a battlefield with largely no lag. Challenge Accepted, CCP?
EVE Connection – Orbital strikes are fine. You want to know whats better? EVE players transporting mercenaries, shared third person social areas for PC and Console players, more abilities from space that affect ground battles, choosing MCC commanders from EVE or PS3, A shared economy, Player market, Player generated contracts, Orbital strikes limited by cool down, planetary weapons and penetration gameplay. These are all aspects that need to be added so that the dream of cooperative gameplay is truly realized.
PVE – MMOs provide sandboxes that support all types of playstyles. Some players prefer to compete against the environment. This is a good thing, especially if their actions still have an effect on New Eden. These are especially unique if some are open and can be joined by other entities. Imagine an assassination contract where one group is protecting the mark while the other tries to kill him. We’ve mentioned several contract types that could benefit from this. Assassination, Extraction, Escort, Salvage and even Bounties.
Communication – Dust isn’t a game you can play alone and expect to succeed. So where is its command structure and tiered chat system? Its ‘every soldier is of equal rank’ philosophy fails horribly as lack of coordination results in a high level of clusterfuck. The chat system is almost as bad, it either leaves players cut off from the larger group, or gives us the chaos of everyone talking at once. Chat badly needs command tiers, compartmentalization and special privileges [like giving the platoon leader the ability to address everyone at once if necessary]Too many games are reduced to an organized group doing what it takes to win, while hoping against all odds blueberries will as well. While not adding the ability to talk to enemies is understandable, not adding proximity chat for allies is a fail of epic proportions. As MAG showed players three years ago, allowing team communication in a shooter isnt an option, its a necessity.
User Friendly – There are a number of ways Dust can be more intuitive. Climbing ladders for one should trigger automatically, and Vaulting over obstacles similar to BF3 has been mentioned, it needs to be added as well. Wouldn’t the War Room provide a perfect place for the PL to outline his strategy before a battle or are we still believers in tactics by osmosis? Moreover, shouldn’t the War Room map work by now? Where are the chat timestamps and why aren’t weapon ranges in the marketplace? Where are the points for destroying enemy assets? The Orbital strike indicator still needs red or yellow font to make it more noticeable. There still aren’t any rewards for counter hacking. We noticed the other day that when we look down at the tacmap it doesnt allow identification of friendly personnel by call sign. This needs to be rectified so the maps intel can be a benefit to the PL and MCC Cmdr. Let’s see the ability to paint targets added ASAP. Nanite injectors fill such a key role that they have to work 100% of the time. Where is the icon that tells us if a person in a game or not? Why can’t we follow our corpmates into matches yet? What about the ability to abandon or sell a PC district?
Scale – Battles in a galaxy the scale of New Eden simply can’t be settled in matches of 16v16 or even 24v24. We’re ok with Dusts average graphics for the same reason we were fine with them in MAG. Because of the size of the environments and battles. Allowing smaller corps to make a dent in PC by giving them the option of smaller 16v16 battles is a great idea. But lets see expansion, larger ones should support 64v64, 128v128 and perhaps even 256v256.
Corporations – As these entities are the lifeblood of Dust they have to be better supported. Corp Training Rooms, Taxes, Armories, Bulletin Boards,Varied Roles and much more. Lets not look back in 6 months and have to provide excuses to corps regarding why they can’t perform basic actions.
Game Mode Variety – This is where Dust could and should shine. Like mentioned above, with its lore, it should have among the most unique and varied modes in gaming. We mentioned just a few above. Lore also tells us that the best way to separate this is by contract type. This will allow players to enjoy a specific type of experience and almost customize how they play the game. Taking it even further, there is a large percentage of gamers that enjoy the finality and high stakes of single death modes rather than respawn. Dust would do well to try and fill this niche as well.
Tutorial - It comes down to this. Dust is simply too complex a game to not include a PVE Tutorial that goes over controls, skill points, battlefield assets and vehicles. Give bonus SP as an incentive.
Tiers - Nothing is more important to an MMO than tiers that allow players to decide what depth they want to experience. The game’s complexity and the blistering review by casual reviewers like IGN and Gametrailers will all but guarantee a bare minimum of casual fans will stick with this title. As such, its time for CCP to hitch their wagon to the hardcore group that will support this game and FPS fans who want more than emptiness of games like CoD and Battlefield. Its time to let Instant Battles be the shallow end and incentivize mid and higher tiers with more game mode variety, higher ISK rewards, Friendly Fire, better salvage and a much larger disparity between the victorious and the defeated.
Open New Eden – Making Dust a true Open World MMO might not be possible, but using several ‘open world’ mechanics might be a good idea and would make the game feel more ‘real’ instead of just a wait in our Merc Quarters in between battles. Third person social areas will help lots here [visit Jita anyone?] as would the ability to visit districts our corps own or practice in Corp Training Rooms. The ability to wait in a weapon-filled corp ready room between battles? Why not?
Tactical Assault Rifle – The fixes to this weapon have already been discussed, bravo CCP. Do yourselves a favor and lower and hardcode this weapons fire rate. Shame on those of you with self esteem low enough to use modded controllers in a videogame. You know who you are.
Logi Assaults – Another issue needing quick resolution. Why would anyone choose assault when the Logi can simply do everything better? Lets bring the days where Logis can ignore their intended role and stack damage mods to an end. Since the Logi niche is now the only suit with multiple equipment slots they simply have no need for excess Hi and Low slots to fulfill their role. They should have one less Hi and Low slot than an assault of the same class. Still, since this suit sacrifices protection and needs to move around the battlefield, shouldn’t it be more mobile than anything save the recon? We say yes.
LAVs – Its embarrassing for a game that portrays itself as a tactical shooter to have a free Clown Car Minigame included. The LAV buff was one of the worst design decisions this game has ever made. Shouldnt FREE LAVs explode from even the 1st tier AV grenade given that we have to spend SP on it? We say yes. Even worse, the 10mph instakill mechanics of LAVs is joke worthy and one of the cheaper gameplay mechanics we have seen in an FPS. Moreover, should anything be free in a game with a persistent economy? Allow mercs to call in stock LAVs but bill them afterwards, we say.
Guesswork – There are simply too many instances where intel are ‘given out’ where they should instead be earned. Why can the enemy see how many clones a district has in PC? Why are uplinks visible from over 100m away? Why not instead give us ways to obtain this information [PVE single-death Scout missions or hi-level spies] or use in game assets [like Active Scanners to reveal uplinks] so that cunning and skill is rewarded instead of giving out information on a whim. Giving attackers the ability to obtain detailed maps of areas they are considering attacking could open up a whole new industry for scouts and information brokers.
In closing, Dust has areas that need improvment but complaints complaints about things like the grind in Dust are unwarranted. In a game with this much persistence slow progression is almost necessary. The graphics are fine for a game of the scale CCP is promising. But know this CCP, if games of 24v24 are your pinnacle there is much visual work to be done.
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