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Tools of the Trade

Reported by CCP Shadow

What is the greatest resource in a universe of 5,431 systems and in excess of 65,000 planets? It’s people. The players that populate New Eden are far and away the single most important resource it contains. They are as durable as Morphite, as beautiful as Zydrine, and as volatile as Isogen-5. Without them, New Eden would be a poorer place. Which is why socialization is so important to us as both developers and players. We want players to be able to communicate in-battle and out; to be able to easily find and play with friends; to have the tools to meet and make new friends (and enemies) while they’re sitting in front of their PS3 and even when they’re not. Games are fun, but life is meaningful. And you can’t live without interacting with other people.

Of course, the fact that we’re trying to get two completely different demographics across two completely different platforms to not only communicate, but to compete, cooperate and, ultimately, generate conflict makes all of this that much harder. But we have faith that with the right tools, the players themselves will figure it all out. Here’s a brief introduction to some of the features and tools you’ll have at your disposal.

EVE Gate

Starting out, EVE Gate will be the communal hub for EVE pilots and DUST soldiers. This is where players from both games can manage their contacts, check in-game mail (when not actually in-game), post on forums, check their calendar for upcoming events or post new events of their own to the calendar. We’ll be adding functionality to EVE Gate over time. Some of it will be DUST-specific, like battle heatmaps, but most of it will be shared across EVE Online and DUST 514. EVE Gate is, after all, for all of the EVE setting.

Corporations

In EVE, the cornerstone of all serious space operations is the corporation. It allows players to manage funds, organize long-term activities and have a persistent venue to communicate with your fellow members. We are working hard on making EVE corporations completely seamless between EVE and DUST 514. This means that from the point of view of all corporation functionality, it shouldn’t matter whether a corporation member is a DUST player or an EVE player. There are of course certain functions that only make sense for EVE players and others that only make sense for DUST players, but for everything else there should be no difference. The idea is that a corporation staffed with members from both EVE and DUST 514 should be able to access all available functions. Common functionality includes creating corporations, managing membership, managing finances, and joining alliances. For some of these functionalities, we will be providing a native UI on the console client, while others that are deemed to be less immediately critical will be available on EVE Gate to start with. Currently, the biggest limitation will be inventories, as EVE items don’t really have any functions on the DUST client and reciprocally, but this is something that might change in the future when we will observe even more convergence between EVE and DUST.

Voice / Text Chat

Using voice chat, DUST and EVE players will be able to communicate with one another in realtime.

Text chat is of course supported too. The PS3 supports standard USB and Bluetooth keyboards right out of the box and so we don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that players will grab their PC’s keyboard for use in DUST 514. Believe me, it’s far easier than trying to use a software keyboard to keep up in a chat channel. The keyboard will be usable for chatting only. There will be no in-battle mouse + keyboard support.

Socialization is more than just tools. It’s about bringing people together. The nature of any FPS means the mechanics of socialization are a little different than your typical MMO. In an FPS, squads are the atomic building blocks of socialization. You jump into a quick battle, are randomly assigned to a squad, you fight with a bunch of strangers and maybe, somewhere amidst the mayhem and the carnage you decide, “Hey, that guy shotgunning people in the back, I like the cut of his jib!” Voice chat makes it easy enough to speak to him, but the ability to stick with him at the end of a battle and then jump together into subsequent battles is vital. Because at the end of the day, that’s how long-lasting relationships are formed. Of course, if you already have a group of friends (lucky you!) you can easily invite them into a battle or stick with them as you move between battles. After all, the family that slays together, stays together.

The War Room

The life of a mercenary is about fighting, but taking over a planet is no small task, so players will find themselves spending a lot of time in the War Room – a 3D lobby where players can go over their vehicle and character fittings; stock up on items from the corp inventory or the marketplace; chat with fellow corp members or once-off hires; scrutinize potential strategies and just generally get ready for the battles to come. Each War Room supports a maximum of 32 players at once. Players navigate the social spaces in DUST (of which the War Room is the first) in third-person.

The merging of EVE and DUST provides opportunities for socialization far beyond what most MMOs are able to offer simply by virtue of the fact that New Eden will soon be populated by players with vastly different roles, but similar agendas. And, we believe, the universe will be better  for it. Because, for better or worse, every minute spent in the EVE setting should mean something.

CCP LeKjart, Principal Game Designer

CCP Remnant, Game Designer