Why You Should Play Dust 514
Disclaimer: I am a raging CCP and Dust 514 fan boy. The thought of space mercenaries makes my pants get a bit tighter. The short version is I’m about as biased as they come.
You may have heard of this new, free-to-play shooter on the PS3, Dust 514. It’s made by the same folks that brought us Eve Online, the spaceship simulator notorious for its steep learning curve. The development goal with Dust 514 was to create a more accessible way for people to enter the world of Eve Online while not diminishing any of the depth. Thus Dust 514 was born.
For those of you that have your doubts about Dust, lend me your ear for a few minutes. I’m going to make the case why you should give this game a try.
The largest difference between Dust 514 and most other shooters is the depth of the game. I’ll try to illustrate this with an example. In Dust, as with most shooters, you are able to customize the equipment you take into battle. Dust, however, takes this concept to another level.
Your battle equipment is centered around a drop suit, a suit of futuristic armor that protects and enhances the wearer. Each of these drop suits has several slots for various types of modules; pieces of equipment modify your drop suit’s stats. Some modules increase the armor of your drop suit, others increase the damage output of your weapon, and others will increase you sprint speed. The possible combinations you could encounter are vast, though some will be more effective than others.
Additionally, Dust 514 boasts a robust skill system, allowing you to specialize your character. The system isn't class based, allowing you to come up with many unique combinations. You could aim to be a front line medic, dishing out damage while also reviving fallen allies. Conversely, you could try your hand at being a defensive player, charging in first and soaking up damage in place of you team.
Another driving feature of Dust is its consequences. In most FPS games battles have few lasting results. A battle starts, it ends, you get some experience, and you move on to the next one. Very little is affected by the results of the battle. This isn't the case in Dust. A unique feature in this game is that equipment is destroyed up the player being killed. Say you have a favorite tank. You've spent time acquiring the skills to pilot a top of the line model. Its weapons are the best, as are its defenses. You've spent time and effort in order to acquire it. You decide to take it into battle. Unfortunately, your precious tank is destroyed. In most games, you tank would miraculously be returned after the battle ends. This isn't the case in Dust. Once a piece of equipment is destroyed, be it a rifle or a tank, it’s gone for good. There are means to replace your equipment but every item will be destroyed eventually.
This sense of consequences extends to the battles as well. As opposed to most FPS games, there is often a lot riding on the result of a battle. With Dust affecting the Eve universe, battles have lasting results. Money can exchange hands, territories can be lost, equipment destroyed. All this leads to a lot of emotions revolving around outcome of a fight.
CCP is Staffed by a Bunch of Bad-Asses
The final reason you should check out Dust is the reputation of CCP, its developer. For the past ten years, CCP has never stopped updating and improving Eve Online. Like clockwork, every six months there is a new, free expansion for the game, bringing tweaks, balancing, and new content. CCP intends to continue this trend with Dust. Once Dust is launch in less than a week’s time, CCP isn't simply going to forget about it and move on to the next project. They have pledged to continue development, continuously improving and expanding the game. What’s more, it will all be available for free. The end result for the for the player is a free, immersive, and deep shooter that will be growing for years to come.