DUST 514: Uprising 1.4 - Death to the Murder Taxi
EVE Online's stablemate, the free-to-play PS3 shooter DUST 514, continues to receive a makeover as CCP Games provide further amendments.
The 2.2 GB update was deployed today and features a plethora of changes aimed at improving the massively multiplayer shooter.
Many of these are subtle quality of life improvements such as improved mouse/keyboard control, more polished HUD and menu displays and some fine-tuned visual effects. There are also improvements to the Matchmaking system, as part of an overhaul aimed at refining the balance and flexibility of the Battle Finder.
All the changes will go toward improving the gameplay experience, but there are several entries in the 1.4 changelog which stand out.
New Maps and Environments
“Three new battlegrounds in a brand new mission terrain: Impact Ridge, Fracture Road, Border Gulch.”
“Introduction of the 'Research Facility' Surface Infrastructure, comprising one large outpost with several integrated medium and small sockets.”
Utilising the modular nature of DUST 514's map layouts, the variety provided by layering interchangeable structures onto various base maps has been given further diversity to the available battlefields. The Research Facility joins the existing major structure types; Biomass, Communications and Orbital Artillery
In CCP LogicLoop's fascinating devblog on the design of the latest structures, “No Fighting in the Lab Room”, he goes into great detail about the process of designing of the Research Facility, from concept...
“The outpost should look and feel like a real working laboratory, the sort filled with people in lab coats (when not under assault by immortal mercenaries).”
...through the gameplay functionality...
“Once the objects are designed and laid out, the gameplay areas within the outpost need to be balanced. This includes infantry and vehicle paths, and how each path will access the three main entrances to the outpost.”
...to final polishing (dusting?):
“During the final step of the process we do a polishing pass on the special effects and lighting to set the environment mood. This is done by the level artist, who will optimize the Level of Detail settings for objects and lighting to increase performance.”
The end result is the first DUST 514 gameplay environment directly related to the evolving Planetary Conquest gameplay mode linking DUST 514 to EVE Online. Player-run corporations can choose to purchase and build these surface infrastructures, providing benefits to their DUST 514 mercenaries and EVE Online pilots.
In the case of the Research Facility, the bonuses it provides allows clones to be moved a greater distance across the campaign map and reduces the rate of Starbase fuel consumption.
Murder Taxi Licence Revoked
This change will provide a blessed relief from the Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV) rampages which saw many mercenaries run down and killed despite their supposedly state-of-the-art dropsuits.
In a blog published on 22 August, Uprising 1.4 and Beyond, CCP Praetorian expanded on this change:
“We have also dramatically reduced the issues with LAV collision damage; They now do damage based on the speed that a vehicle is traveling. This means it is far more difficult to roadkill infantry, though not impossible. You just have to mean it more! :)”
Big Metal Targets Needed for Slaughter
Carmageddon re-enactors face a further challenge with the re-specced Swarm Launcher, which is the go-to anti-vehicle solution now due to the following changes:
"Swarm Launcher base lock-on time has been increased to 1.4 from 1.2 and its fire interval has been reduced from 2 to 0.3."
"The Swarm Launcher Operation skill bonus has been changed from increasing the clip size to reducing the lock-on time by 5%."
Not only will this make LAV drivers think twice about presenting themselves as a target, heavier vehicles will now find themselves needing to give more thought to their own survival. How this balances out remains to be seen, but judging by the forum response, opinion is divided.
Cowards Need Not Apply
“Implemented idle timer to prevent AFK farming in battle ground or MCC. Players not performing any PVP action in a certain period of time will be kicked out of the game”
This aims to address a problem arising from the free-to-play design of DUST 514, particularly the passive skill point acquisition system which allowed idling players who join battles to reap benefits without actively participating, much to the frustration of their team-mates.
Of course, there are many other nuanced changes besides those discussed above and the full patch notes can be viewed here.