EVE Players Test Orbital Bombardment – The Only Way To Be Sure

EVE and DUST 514 beta players attempt test out the new orbital strike function that allows EVE players to bomb PS3 players on planets.

Yesterday, independent of CCP developer influence, some enterprising players took it upon themselves to organise an event to test out the new gameplay functionality recently introduced to EVE Online with the connection to DUST 514. I went along to observe in the hope that I could witness an orbital bombardment.

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Restricted Access

DUST 514 is still in closed beta* and although unconfirmed reports suggest that over 500,000 DUST mercenary characters already exist (a single Playstation 3 DUST 514 account can have 3 characters), the Non-Disclosure Agreement to which all beta testers must adhere precludes the discussion of any DUST-related game experiences. So sadly an up-to-date ground-pounder perspective must remain behind the NDA veil and only information gleaned from the EVE Online client is in the public domain.

For two hours I watched and listened as Kain Spero, the event organiser, attempted to co-ordinate both the DUST matches and orbiting EVE pilots with some success, but there were some significant hurdles to overcome.

Any EVE pilot who wished to deliver a tactical strike needed to be enlisted with specific Factional Warfare aligned NPC corporations in EVE in order to be able to interact with the orbital infrastructure required to target planetary battlefields.

The current mechanics behind how DUST matches are organised evidently meant that the location was hard to predict in advance, however with less than an hour to go the low-security system of Ikoskio was announced as the site of the DUST battles and a number of pilots in appropriately-fitted destroyers arrived above the announced planetary districts to deliver their payload of death upon the heads of waiting soldiers.

Confirmed Kills

Much of the time I observed found the destroyer pilots waiting patiently in orbit at the mercy of pirate gangs looking for a kill (which they occasionally got). As we waited, it was a nice touch that DUST battles actively taking place in the planetary districts below were indicated by the occasional flash of explosions visible from orbit. But pilots had to wait patiently for a request from below before being able to open fire.

The very occasional successfully delivered tactical strike saw a fairly ordinary salvo of weapon fire flicker from the destroyer, a brief explosion on the surface moments later and, if all went well, some undoubtedly satisfying kill notifications which were subsequently shared in the chat channel.

The voice-comms reports from DUST soldiers on the ground were admittedly amusing as they attempted to describe the ravaging effect on the battlefield, with various weapons providing different effects; an EMP artillery strike strips all targets of any shielding, a hybrid tactical strike delivers damage over a wide area and an orbital laser strike is more focused but higher damage.

Overall, it seemed like a successful, if long-winded, technical test, but as a gameplay experience it was less impressive. The logistics and patience required to pull off a successful orbital strike seemed far from trivial. The cross-platform communications, whilst an amusing distraction, seem little more than a curiosity at present – it is unlikely that console-bound DUST players will have the patience to engage in the kind chat channel culture prevalent in EVE.

Nothing to See?

So the truth is that the EVE-DUST link as it stands doesn’t yet offer much to the average EVE player unless under very specific conditions, beyond being able to communicate in-game with console-playing friends.  But that’s a bit like saying the first successful moon orbit didn’t offer much to the field of astronautics. Once getting there was proven possible, the future became full of exciting options.

CCP remains tight-lipped on exact plans for the future, but as DUST 514 battles start to play a greater part in the territorial disputes of EVE‘s factional warfare, the picture will hopefully start to become clear.

Until then watch this space, read this FAQ and marvel wistfully at the future promised in this trailer… 

[*Edit: DUST 514 Open Beta announced]

Source: EVE Online Client

Source: Evelopedia

Source: EVE News 24


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Author
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.