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DUST Mercs: EVE Sitdown – TEST Alliance Talks DUST

February 18, 2014

Our blog recently had a sitdown with TEST alliance members and talked Dust, we got to talk about Starbucks, PVE and what makes DUST Players tick, read on. You may read our past interview to GSF Dust players right here.

1. At DICE, Hilmar spoke about Starbucks, Porsches and Manolo Blahniks yesterday. How do we add more Starbucks into Dust?

Kristoff: I see two levels of this in Dust. One is at the corporate level, in the form of district ownership. Getting more of it at this level will require things like the ability to visit your districts when they aren’t under attack, and starting a defensive battle inside the main complex. The current system makes it feel like you’re just a visitor, not an owner. A large number of players aren’t going to be heavily involved in PC though, so we need to find a way to add this to the personal level. Something like a simple form of industry, with the components being seeded by PvE or Eve or…something.

Ribwich: What.

2. Open world New Eden locales in Dust 514, important or insignificant?

Kristoff: It would be nice, but the kind of impact we’re looking for could be pulled off with the instanced battlegrounds we have today and some instanced public areas. I see truly open world areas as a long term goal.

Dent: Loooooove open world stuff. If district ownership meant you could roam about and explore districts and fart about, our guys would be much more interested in owning a few.

Ribwich: Open world maps would be nice, but for a game like Dust 514 the idea won’t work. If Dust wants to keep the illusion of various battlegrounds that take place all over new Eden then they have no choice but to stay with randomly generated maps, Open world maps would take up too much development time, and too much hard drive space

Prometheus actual: Having the ability to take advantage of open world mechanics during planetary conquest and/or faction warfare will add in a new level of gameplay and strategies that may dramatically change the way the game is played

3. Its been mentioned that a Dust 514 Test Server is unrealistic: Chime in.

Dent: While I would like to see a test server I understand the deployment issues preventing it from being viable.

Kristoff: A test server would have prevented many bumps along the road but I can see why it hasn’t been an option. It’s just the reality of the platform we’re on.

Ribwich: A test server would be nice, if it was linked to Sisi (the EVE test server) then game breaking bugs would be squashed before they shipped with the next update. Apparently CCP has to get each Dust update approved by Sony before they ship it, so I can see how having a test server is unrealistic if CCP has to wait for approval every time they ship a change for the test server.

4. EVE players having the option to bet on Dust 514 gladiator bouts, important or insignificant?

Dent: How about players have the option to bet on bouts. Amusing perhaps but not critical.

Kristoff: Not important. When I want to gamble in Eve I go to Jita and speculate. Could be fun, but it wouldn’t be a heavily used feature.

Ribwich: important when the EvE link is active, but even if CCP doesn’t add a betting mechanic into EVE/Dust there will probably be a 3rd party website who would do so.

5. Explain to us the benefits of full API access.

Dent: I am a huge fan of the API in eve, and have been making noises about API access with dust for a long time. Benefits would include :
More information about corp activity

Cash flow reports and long term record keeping, Current corp wallet is not really employable for anything more than a glance at the data.
Reimbursement / subsidization tracking. Establishing more of a paper trail for HR record keeping. Integrating with existing services the Eve side already have set up. We run our corp forum, and most operations arms length from pleaseignore.com because of the difficulty integrating dust mercs into tools and services based on eve API access. Character skill state to be fed into suit and vehicle fitting tools. Piles of other useful things people will cook up.

Ribwich: Just look at all the great things EVE’s API has achieved, employment tools, out of game apps that check mail and skills. Also dent can finally show us his Dust api project without breaking down and sobbing uncontrollably while saying “It’s only a dream, It will never happen.”

Dent: Oh its_happening.jpg

Kristoff: The metagame wouldn’t really be possible without the API, and the metagame is the reason for the epic battles that wind up in the news and send the newbie systems into tidi because of all the new people subscribing. The API is the foundation for all of it.

6. What indicators will tell you that Dust may not ever achieve its potential?

Kristoff: None. If the right focus isn’t found before players start losing interest I think Dust will continue on a slow burn until it reaches its potential. To me the question isn’t whether it will succeed, but how big of a success it will be.

Ribwich: Developers refusing to communicate with the playerbase and doing what they want despite criticism from the community, thankfully none of this has happened, the more communication the Devs have with the playerbase the closer Dust is to achieving it’s potential.

Dent: The viking are really good with long term plans and iterative development as long as development is underway good things can keep happening.

Prometheus actual: Developers only focusing on the “gunplay” aspect of dust 514 and not focusing on the wider aspects or the “big picture”

Dent: Gunplay is important though, it has to solid and fun in order to support the rest.

7. Are ISK sinks in EVE important? Can Dust 514 play a role here? What about the EVE to Dust conversion rate?

Kristoff: ISK sinks are critical to the functioning of the EVE economy. I can see Dust having a role here, with rewards in Dust coming from EVE with a portion shaved off the top for broker fees or something like that.

Ribwich: Seeing as there is no strong Dust/EVE link at the moment it’s too early to say about how Dust can play a role. Talking about the EVE to Dust conversion rate It’ll probably be taxed really high, otherwise you’ll see Dust players with 1Bill+ in their wallet because of their EVE character.

8. Talk to us about Orbital Weapons and how to resolve the fact that EVE losses can dwarf the financial costs of Dust players.

Kristoff: The challenge with orbital artillery will be designing it so that the mere presence of the gun doesn’t mean instant death to any ship attempting to drop a strike. This could give a role for smaller ships with less powerful guns being able to sneak in, drop a weak strike and then warp out before the guns lock on. Or you could commit with a larger ship to give more substantial strikes and hope that you can either tank the damage or that your mercs have silenced the guns. As for differences between small, medium and large strikes…that is an exercise I will leave to the vikings. Another option would be for orbital weapons to be meant for use against war barges and capital ships. When it comes to the difference in costs, Dust will need some way to provide an appropriate amount of value to EVE players so that they have the incentive needed to risk their ships.

Dent: The disparity in payouts can be disheartening when mercs find out how lucrative the LP payout for strikes can be. Falls within risk vs reward I suppose.
I also want a way to explode ships from the ground. The ability to endanger large red vessels around held planets could provide safe warp-ins for blue fleets in space. Here is a possible interaction where Dust can provide an advantage to fleet.

Ribwich: Orbital weapons would be amazing, however I’m curious on how they will work, the way EVE players tell good guy from bad guy is by setting their standings, or having the alliance do so. Choosing the right target to shoot will be tricky unless there is some sort of communication with friendly pilots in orbit. That or the gun just fires automatically.
Talking about how EVE losses dwarf Dust losses I think that’s how things should be, a massive spaceship should cost much more than a small army. If you really want to resolve the dwarfing then something like loosing a bunch of districts and installations on a planet could maybe even the losses.

9. Asakai, B-R5RB..How do we recreate these in Dust? How do we make these events matter to mercenaries?

Kristoff: Creating these kinds of epic battles in Dust would be very tricky. Short of having a Planetside style of open world roaming, we would need some kind of mechanism for travelling between districts on a planet during a battle. In essence, fighting on all districts at once. As for making these kinds of battles in Eve matter to mercs the only way I see it happening is if EVE and Dust become so closely linked that a major victory in Eve or a crushing defeat affects the mercs in an alliance.

Ribwich: I think the best way to recreate events like B-R in is to make districts larger, not in a sense of map size, but give people different objectives to fight over for one district that take place in different maps/instances. For instance, a corp wants to take district 3, but to do that they have to attack at three different locations at the same time, or they might have different timers that overlap, having something like this on one district could allow massive battles of up to 96 people, just not on the same map. Now imagine something like this happening with the most of the districts one planet.
To make events like B-R matter to dust things like titan boarding could be implemented.

10. How do you fix Planetary Conquest?

Kristoff: This is a big question, PC needs a major overhaul. For a short term list I’d include releasing the other surface infrastructures created with the design principles used with the Gallente research facility, balancing weapons and time to kill, and reworking the game mode so that defenders are actually defending their facility instead of attacking it.

Ribwich: Pc needs to be less organized and more controlled chaos, things like raiding, surprise attacks and Warbarge boarding should be a thing. Added to this there should be an alternative to the 24 hour timer, it really kills the mood when you set out to attack someone but are then forced to wait a day before any fighting can begin. Other things such as allowing players to roam around and explore their owned districts should be a thing, doing so will give players a reason to fight as they might form a bond with the territory they own and will be more inclined to defend it. Added to this things like the wrecks of EVE ships should leave a mark on owned district for a few days or weeks (like Caldari Prime), having things like this will make PC feel more connected to EVE, along with the correct nebula appearing in the sky depending on what system you are in.

11. What MMO aspects does the game need?

Dent: Group PVE would be a big step in the right direction. MMO’s are social devices that allow players to share an experience of doing something. Getting a squad together to make some cash clearing out drone sites for example, or even hunting other squads running drone sites.

Kristoff: I agree that group PVE would do a lot to improve the MMO aspect of the game, through drone sites or a mission system similar to EVE. Something else I would like to see is being able to leave my quarters to enter a shared station environment with other players who are located in the same station. This could eventually lead to mercenaries being able to travel to other stations in New Eden and really giving players that sense of being somewhere.

Prometheus actual: PVE

Ribwich: The ability to change the the station you are in so you don’t feel trapped in a never changing box out of match and can see the look of a different races merc quarters, Pve, Player to Player market and the ability to turn off your hud and hide your gun so videomakers can make propaganda videos for their corp or alliance like in EVE. Also maybe something where corp/alliance members can hang out out of battle.

12. How do you resolve protostomping and the gap between veteran and new players?

Dent: ‘Protostomping’ exists in all multiplayer games to some extent. The current TTK issues compounds the issue.

Kristoff: Fixing TTK and balancing weapons would make the whole issue much less serious. If you have time to react to an enemy you can use teamwork to flank and outsmart them.

Ribwich: CCP could introduce different options for public contracts for that only allow different stages of gear, for instance a player could choose to enter a militia only game if they are new, if they are feeling a bit more confident they can choose to play in advance matches that only allow advanced suits, while “skilled” players could choose to play proto matches.

13. How should Dust implement null sec?

Dent: Kristoff?

Kristoff: Dust in null sec is going to need to be heavily reliant on EVE players, both because of the level of impact it could have on player owned space and to make location important in Dust. Buy a war barge, stuff it full of clones and hope that your escort is strong enough to defend it while it flies to the destination. The design of PC we have now in Molden Heath just won’t work in null. There just aren’t enough players to defend all the planets in null and I doubt that there ever will be. That means the null gameplay at a high level needs to be more strategic than tactical. Where you choose to attack should be an important decision. The battles themselves should have more in common with Skirmish 1.0 than the tiny battles we have now.

Ribwich: I agree with Kristoff

14. player market place

Prometheus actual: it’s good, we need to have one.

Ribwich: If this game wants to be a MMO then a player market is imperative. (Also I need to sell off my Black Eagle suits.)

15. Addition of a competitive multiplayer text combat game.

Dent: This was great fun.

Kristoff: What meta
Such gaming

Ribwich: y do u keep adding questions dent

Prometheus actual: why are there Footprints in my quarters?

– 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]