This week saw CCP Games‘ ambitious free-to-play massively multiplayer shooter DUST 514 take some significant steps forward in their quest to sharpen their Playstation exclusive title.
New Guy at the Top
On October 8th, CCP Games announced they’d hired former Electronic Arts executive producer, Jean-Charles Gaudechon.
Frenchman Gaudechon, whose previous form includes Battlefield Heroes and Need for Speed World, wasted no time choosing his dev moniker, CCP Rouge, and getting his first devblog under his belt, in which he clearly stated his objectives for the future of DUST 514:
“With DUST 514, my mission is to give you the most intense and engaging experience possible for a free-to-play online multiplayer shooter in the EVE Universe. This requires focusing primarily on the core gameplay, but also on a deep and rewarding link to EVE Online and everything that comes with it: the incredibly immersive fiction, sandbox design, best-in-class player-driven economy, and much more.”
The ongoing DUST 514 iteration process, which is a staple of CCP’s development ethos, sees some well-received improvements this time around, with New Player Experience streamlining and many quality of life refinements.
As I have recently discovered and documented in my DUST 514 Diary, there’s more to getting involved in the planetary conflict than simply logging in and shooting stuff (although they’ve doing that easier too).
Here’s an overview of the polish added:
The Squad Finder – Rather than charge to your death alone, it’s now far easier to find an audience. I’ve used the Squad Finder and it works really well, allowing me to get stuck in and experience DUST 514 as part of a team. No more “LFS” in chat channels.
Tutorials – Intuitive, objective-based tutorials now help you learn key elements like joining a battle, creating a custom dropsuit fitting, training skills. They also give rewards for achieving objectives.
Other key elements which will improve the experience for both rookies and veterans include:
Corporation Roles – Organised mercenary corporations can now assign new roles to its members. The Accountant, Personnel Director, Terrestrial Combat Officer and Terrestrial Logistics Officer are key to the smooth operation of any respectable merc outfit. Especially ones specialising in Planetary Conquest mode.
More War Points – Mercs now get more points awarded for performing non-lethal tasks on the battlefield, such as Intel Assist (if a merc’s scan leads to a successful kill), Transport Assist (dropping folk into enemy fire is now rewarded) and Counter Hacking (not taking chunks out of work surfaces, but the other thing).
Stuff That Just Makes Sense – Buttons renamed for clarity, further improvements to server-client performance, graphical refinements and more.
Full patch notes can be read here.