Dust 514 E3 Report: Improving On Imperfection
Dust 514: Uprising 1.2 And Beyond
Uprising has seen two major patches so far – 1.0 and 1.1 – and the third one – Uprising 1.2 – aims to bring a number of quality of life improvements. Specifically, CCP mentioned new terrain sets for added variety, new dropsuits (classes) for mercs to fight in, and tweaks to weapon ranges to make fighting more entertaining. In addition, engine changes are also incoming to smooth out performance issues.
A specific timeline wasn’t mentioned for patches after 1.2, but CCP did have a list of other improvements they want to include in future iterations on Uprising. These changes, much like most tweaks to Dust, can be split into two categories: quality of life features and variety addition.
Post-1.2, CCP wants to make players feel more at home and comfortable with playing Dust 514. Daily bonuses for the first win of each day are planned, as are new screens to make important information (such as player statistics) more clear. Gun handling, especially with keyboard and mouse controls, is being tweaked to feel less jerky and unresponsive. Matchmaking is being tweaked a great deal to provide players with more even fights, rather than the public game curbstomps that are all the rage at the moment. Additionally, changes to the power curve were mentioned as being an ongoing process, with devs mentioning that the curve is gradually being flattened to be more palatable to the new player. Right now, Dust 514 is rife with newbies getting ground into dirt by those in much better gear and with much higher skills, and CCP wants to make it a much more friendly atmosphere.
For those that have overcome that painful curve and are languishing in the realms of boredom, CCP has changes for you in the works as well. There are two major roles in the works for dropsuits and vehicles: a pilot suit that gives bonuses to the vehicle it’s in, and a vehicle destroyer chassis that has high damage but low survivability. In addition, new terrain – such as the harsh, burning fields of a plasma planet – is currently being created, and new infrastructure types are planned. These new types will be present both as a map feature and on the PC overview.
These new infrastructure types tie into the most interesting aspect of Dust 514: how it handles map creation. Map generation is handled when the match is created, using templates for the infrastructure and terrain. It allows CCP to create tons of maps using a relatively low amount of prefabricated assets, and it also allows for a huge expansion of “level chunks” later on. However, this feature is only present in the Planetary Conquest part of Dust, as it uses the infrastructure types and planetary conditions to generate the match. Normal matches are played on pre-made maps, just like a normal shooter.
The Far Future
CCP had some very clear visions for where they want Dust 514 to go, even if how they get there hasn’t been worked out quite yet. The biggest claim was that they want Dust 514 players to interact more with EVE Online. Once the long-term map features are in the game – such as gas giant maps with layouts similar to Cloud City – CCP wants to focus on more interesting interactions, such as Dust mercs invading stations in player-controlled space or controlling space elevators. They are just concepts at the moment, but incredibly cool ones at that.
Another thing CCP was clear on was that they want Dust 514 corporations to have a strong sense of identity. As such, they are planning on expanding the visual customization options available to the player and also making corporate districts reflect their owners. Time-based paints for players to use were specifically mentioned, as were flags and banners reflecting corporate logos for matches that take place in a corporate district in Planetary Conquest.
Finally, there were some technical mentions. Keybinds are planned for inclusion within the next six months (currently keyboard and mouse users must use default keybinds), and improvements to the control schemes and auto-aim features for both controller players and mouse players are in the works. In regards to the PC, the only statement I could get was “We are laser-focused on the PS3.” This focus is so narrow, in fact, that CCP dismissed putting Dust 514 on the PS4, saying that – much like PC – it’s “not in the foreseeable future”.
CCP has, as far as I can tell, no major game-changing plans for Dust 514 in the works. At least, plans they are willing to talk about. Rather, they know Dust released in a rather poor state, and they want to make it a great game before considering adding to it. That’s a position I very much support, and here’s looking forward to an optimistic future for CCP’s little foray into the world of shooters.
I just wish it would come to PC.