Reasons to Play DUST 514 (Part 2)

DUST 514: where retiring EVE players go to relax.

A fellow GameSkinny contributor asked me why I started playing DUST 514, a free-to-play massively multiplay shooter exclusive to the PlayStation 3.

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In the first part of my response, I covered the compelling dystopian science fiction of the EVE brand and the virtues of a bunch of crazy Vikings who live on a rock in the North Atlantic.

This is the second half detailing my other reasons:

The Persistent Universe

It is here, in terms of virtual worlds, that CCP’s New Eden is peerless. A single, massive, persistent universe which is open to be explored, moulded and fought over by all who enter. There are no shards, no fragmented communities spread across servers – every player can encounter every other player, any manufactured item can be bought and sold by anyone, every territory defended or lost.

The ten-year history of EVE Online has seen organisations and individuals rise to glory, infamy and ignominy. Each one of the hundreds of thousands of players contribute to the ebb and flow of territorial control, market prices and cultural behaviour. Within reason, anything goes.

Participants in the EVE Universe are not simply part of a community, they are a society, a nation. Albeit a nation at war with itself (well, it’d be a dull game otherwise). Being part of this unique gaming environment feels somehow significant, knowing that every interaction has huge potential influence. This influence extends beyond the game world, far into the video game metasphere and the fabric of real society – because this grand social experiment dressed up as a sci-fi game presses people’s buttons.

It’s raw and edgy and it provides the opportunity to see the realities of human nature in a safe and controlled environment. It highlights the positives of teamwork and the value of safety in numbers, but equally gives platform to individuals to act with the highest – or lowest – ideals.

Depth with Convenience

All of the above is there to be experienced, but only if you’ve got a hell of a lot of time to invest in EVE Online. Personally, I just don’t any more – in recent years, my life has made other plans for my time. It is very difficult to be a casual participant in the EVE Universe through EVE Online, as much as I might want to.

DUST 514 on the other hand, offers exactly that.

I can just fire up the PlayStation 3 and charge into battle to spray some bullets and let off some steam. I can be in and out in 15 minutes and feel as though I’m still participating in the EVE Universe in some small way.

If I want to be a little more diligent and get my geek on with EVE-flavoured tinkering of vehicle loadouts and equipment wrangling I can do it from the comfort of my sofa.

If I want to fight for a cause, I can sign up to fight in battles taking place in key New Eden systems and attempt to influence the outcome as reported recently by CCP themselves at E3.

A Winning Pedigree

DUST 514 may be starting modestly compared to the commercial heavyweights of the FPS genre – it is after all a free-to-play title – but it will undoubtedly grow and evolve as we have seen with EVE Online. I don’t doubt there will be flaws and early hiccups, but DUST 514 is woven into an incredibly successful and enduring IP and, looking at CCP Games’ modus operandi, the smart player will get in at the ground level.

The integration of multiple games into one gaming environment is something World of Tanks developers claim can’t be done. Despite that, CCP Games boldly went and did it. Crazy fools.

But fortune favours the bold.

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Mat Westhorpe
Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.