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One of the core problems with Dust 514 is the constant flux and drastic change of weapons and equipment. Players are baffled and frustrated by it and its hurting the experience. Why? Because players are creatures of habit and even moreso seek consistency. Its important to understand how difficult it is to balance a game where the classes have real variety, and we respect that. At the same time, the simple fact is that its a generally bad idea to frustrate a small playerbase. The recon suit is a prime example of the push and pull we’re talking about. Its initial iteration gave us a suit that was so fast it played havoc on the already subpar hit detection and so it had to be slowed down a bit. Next, came the loss of some slots and CPU & PG. Today its a dropsuit that is almost too easy to kill as a result of the unreal range, dispersion and newly added aim assistance on the most popular weapon in the game: The Assault Rifle. For it to have a basic level of survivability its speed and stealth need a slight boost, as its supposed to counter low health with both of these traits.

A recent post on the forums detailed the frustration of those that play the scout role. In it, a player requested to know what role CCP saw for the scout suit. This is a microcosm of the frustration that many players feel. Change is good, especially when we’re seeing improvements but when a primary role keeps changing its goalposts it can cause players to leave. This isnt COD or BF3 where we can just switch to another class, the use of SP in Dust is a commitment. Consider the Logi role. For too long it has been the best assault suit in the game as a result of poor design. This cant happen as the priority should always be to limit classes by both strengths and weaknesses.

CCP recently mentioned that some weapons would be retuned when the other racial variants arrived. The current ranges are supposedly placeholders. Just last week we got the stats for the Caldari and Minmatar assault rifles. The problem with that is the constant redoing of the core aspects of weaponry isnt good. More players have left the game as a result of the constant push & pull of how weapons, vehicles and equipment operate than anything. Players are getting used to the way the GEK-38 operates right now. Many of them dont come to the forums or know anything about racial differences and placeholders. All they’ll know is that the weapon theyre comfortable with just had its range cut in half. Constant reworking of the basic attributes for weapons is a bad idea. Instead, give players weapons that operate as close as possible to how they are intended to work. Allow players to get used to them or continue to see people leave.

We looked at many of the aspects of other games and came up with a legend for how to approach tuning in Dust. We understand that the initial iteration of a weapon, suit or item may not always be perfect, but if it stays within certain parameters then changes wont upset players because something goes from functional to broken, or from doing one specialty to something completely different.

1. Is it operating as intended?
2. How is it in comparison to other assets?
3. Is it balanced with strengths and weaknesses?
4. Should this mechanic exist in a tactical shooter?
5. Support from users doesnt equal success.

#5 is especially important because its rare that players can see the weapons they favor as unbalanced. On 5.14 Flaylock users were delighted to have a sidearm that was useful, AR users are ecstatic to have over 100m of range with the recent changes. Users of the tactical AR supported its retuning after Uprising. Few Heavies complained about their role in the first build, but the simple fact is that all were probably unbalanced. Questions 1,2 and 3 would have resolved all of these. No designer in their right mind would have a sidearm that outperforms a primary [with a small CPU/PG cost] a weapon that excels at every range or ‘tanks’ that arent balanced with range and speed weaknesses. All of these decisions are made more puzzling by the fact that the shotgun [minus its hit detection issues] and sniper rifle are designed almost perfectly.

We recently read an article on overpowered weapons in gaming. We were ashamed to admit how many each of the worst ones perfectly resemble Dust 514s Mass Driver. We went into depth about how it needed retuning months ago as a result of CCPs poor representation of splash damage. The MD fails horribly when we apply it to our design questions. While its sight should show where its shells will land and its firing arc should be eliminated, should it exist in a tactical shooter in its current form? Let’s see: An automatic firing grenade launcher that has explosions that suppress aim and does 60% of direct damage even when it misses? Aim is king in shooters and its unconscionable to reward any weapon for not hitting the target. Even the more casual BF3 understood limiting grenade launchers by slow fire rate and requiring a reload after each shot. What happened in Dust? Missile tanks, missile turrets and grenades should have large splash areas! Handheld weapons should be limited to 1m of splash and 30% of direct damage.

Simply put, the new player experience doesn’t promote growth of the game. A friend recently logged into Dust and played for about 30 minutes. He complained the entire time about the range of ARs dwarfing his HMG. At one point players with ARs were able to dominate him at close range as a result of the HMG being left out of the aim assist party. This rationale fails horribly, while it cant have good range, no autofire weapon should be the equal of the HMG from 0-30 meters. My friend had played during the first beta and wondered what happened to the weapon he loved so much. Another friend started the game during the reign of the tactical AR. He got used to being able to put down enemies at 10m and at 100m and was pleased with the game enough to spend money on it. Then came re-tuning. Needless to say he was not happy and hasn’t played the game since. This is the prime example of why suits, weapons and items must keep their same basic traits even in the initial design and more importantly, that design must be sound. The alternative can frustrate even the most highly invested players.

- Magww

As always, we’ll continue to attempt to help promote and publish ideas that help establish, enhance and grow the Dust 514 community as much as we can. Have any ideas that need sharing? Would you like to join our staff as a writer? Be sure to contact us at [email protected]

  • Insel Affe

    CCP take heed of what happened to Diablo 3…. a whole series ruined by constant skill changes

  • Jay

    Dust needs to be moved back to beta, CCP has this idea that they can use its player base as beta testers during the production life of there products. You had seen this with ever eve release and now with dust. This same issue plagues new Eden as well. I have a bad feeling CCP is t going to be around in the next decade I’d they don’t get their heads out of their butt.

    • stupid is as

      They’re doing it. Just like you suggest they are, CCP is using its DUST player base as the primary field testing group to balance, test and provide feedback to contiual game development efforts.
      Why would they ‘move back to Beta’? Why? What possible gain or added value would that provide? Would people stop whining and complaining about assault rifles, lag, poor balance or a lack of additional platforms if DUST was ‘back in Beta’? no, they would not.
      What possible plus is there for CCP if they were to do what you are suggesting?
      None

  • Provi Miner

    HTFU is all I got to say, oh no my pussy hurts in dust. 2 x a year ccp screws over 90% of the players in eve then follows that up with about a month of constant chages then changes every other week for another three months finally in the last two months stuff seems to normalize with ony a tweek here and there. If Dust players can’t hang all I can say is HTFU or go play something else. Constant rebalancing is part and parcel of ccp games if you don’t know that then crawl out from under the rock you share with your other pussy hurt boyfriends.

  • Bawk Bawkbagawk

    i think maybe its time CCP admitted this game is a flop and quit beating the dead horse.

  • Billbo

    Here’s an idea, put a bullet in this game one and for all! If you think Dust is fun then you’re drinking some major ass juices. P.s. BF4 is fucking epic o7 CCP Welcome to the new world

  • Herpa Derp

    Wait dust is still available lolz

  • wat

    Did anyone see the way the Dust guys looked at Vegas? Just about the same as CCP Soundwave after ~3 months of dealing with the Incarna launch (Just about dead). Unfortunately I think the same goes for Dust 514. You can’t really expect people to pay you money to have an advantage over others in an unfinished game. Once again, a nice concept but very poor implementation.

    • Billbo

      From watching that canned presentation at EVE Vegas CCP has no clue what they want to do with Bust,

  • huh

    The fact that they don’t seem to be able to make the obvious changes in a timely manner indicates to me that they probably won’t be able to at all. With the “final” product now out, investors won’t be keen to poor more money into a game that hasn’t demonstrated an ability to generate decent revenue. Less money -> Less improvements -> less players ->…, so this is going to have a snowball effect. If you can’t break the cycle CCP, you need to cut it off. It’s a hard choice, but the right one.

    • skeptical eye

      who the hell are you to say that CCP is losing money or not creating a good revenue stream w/ Dust? Do you have ANY evidence at all to suggest otherwise?

      • Johnny Jihad

        As a result of $40 million dollars (or viking dollars.) Later on a F2P modal w/ a playerbase of about 3,000 users (including alts) playing a game on a ’06 graphics engine sounds like “Pure win” to me.

  • EN24articles are not news

    For the record, Freedom of Speech is a good thing. But it must always be tempered by the reader or listener’s understanding that a lot of what is spoken is utter crap. Case in point: this ‘article’. While Dusters likes to promote his diatribes as factual, critical or even logical the reality is that they are the same whiney random forum posts batted out by basement dwelling post adolescent fingers driven by hormone addled brains that we always see in the game industry.
    What you write, sir, should not be considered as anything other than nerd rage fueled drivel vice legitimate or fair minded conjecture.
    move along move along, nothing to see here

  • Truth

    This is it.. Evenews24 had become the place for shitty, uneventful twitch streams and fucking DUST 514 op eds… Good god, I’d be more entertained by a GG post right now.

  • WhiteHalo117

    Buffs are always better then needs hands down, granted some nerfs need to happen. However when you dramatically change items, and skills that people spent time training, and are now useless that’s bad news bears.

    • Ashesofempires

      I guess you don’t understand power creep very well. If the preferred solution is always to bring everything else up to the level of the broken items, it throws the rest of the game’s balance off. It prevents dumb shit like small arms being able to kill armored vehicles.

      It’s so much easier to trim down the overpowered things. It preserves balance within a weapon class at a level the designers intended, and is much faster and less work than adjusting however many other weapons up in power.

      Ideally the player should still be able to use a weapon after it’s been nerfed back down and still be competitive. If a weapon is no longer viable, then that’s definitely CCP’s fault. Bitching about a weapon no longer being so OP that the training time was “wasted” is just sad though. That’s what happens when you train for FOTM and then the flavor changes.

  • Space Jew

    The fact that this game is still alive astounds me. Star Wars Galaxies (in broken mode) was moar fun ffs.