Dust 514: What Players Hoped Planetside 2 Would Be?

I normally do not like MMORPGs with a monthly fee, but I decided to finally give Eve Online a go and I signed up for the two week trial. Thus far this is the only game that I will buy a monthly subscription for, because it is just that good. I will provide an article on my experiences in Eve Online once the Trial is over, but my attention was caught on something different, Dust 514. Dust 514 is a Playstation 3 FPS that aims to give just as big an experience as Eve Online, while also “cooperate” with Eve Online gamers. I did not follow Dust 514 at all, as I was not a Playstation 3 gamer, and since it was not coming out for the PC I was not interested in it. However I then decided to watch the Trailers and Gameplay Videos and with a huge exclamation mark I noted, “This is what Planetside 2 was meant to be!”. Now, there will always be certain differences between the style of gameplay in Dust 514 and Planetside 2, but let me give you a few reasons why Dust 514 might end up being more popular than Planetside 2.

Dust 514

Become a Merc they said… see interesting places they said…

What is so Special about Dust 514?

Let me start off by saying is that it’s created with the same idea as Eve Online was, when it comes to fitting. Fitting is how you essentially customize your ship, while in Dust 514 it refers to outfitting your “Battle Suits” as well as armor (tanks and vehicles) and dropships. In Eve Online each ship has a mildly specialized role, so in terms of weapons and ammo choices you will still have countless different possibilities as to whether you wanted to be a Long-Distance Sniper, or a Short-Distance “Shredder”. Aside from the weapons there were countless Rigs and different pieces of equipment you could install, depending on your role in the fleet, during Mining, Agent Missions, Space Exploration or anything similar. While my Corporations recommended me some of the more practical builds I was well aware that a player’s choice is vast.

In Dust 514 while I could not find a full list of fittings everything points to equally high versatility in choice, not only in terms of Suits and Equipment, but also Modules that may be installed. In case you are wondering what I mean, in Eve Online you could add Modules that enhance your ship’s different parameters, depending on which ones you considered the most important. For example, the Cruiser I am flying with now (which I decided to name “Mantis”, it’s the Moa) has Fittings that do not only enhance its Shield HP, but also increases Damage Resistance slightly to all types of weapons. My Corporate friends informed me that the Moa is a “Shield Tank”, and as such investing in having as tough a shield as possible will pay off in the long term (from my combat experience thus far, they were correct!). As far as  I can tell in Dust 514 the idea is similar. Each suit has a different number of possible fittings/slots, and each suit has its strengths and weaknesses. So you can choose to adapt your Suit and Fittings according to your play style, needs on the battlefield and your role.

In terms of Weapons and Modules, everything seems similar to what we had in Eve Online. I do not see anywhere mentioned that a Scout Suit (light and nimble) could not use a weapon that the Assault Suit may be using, as long as the Scout Suit has enough CPU/Power to use it. From what I could tell the Heavy Weapons are an exception, because their drain on CPU and Power is so high only Heavy Suits can actually employ them. In other words, you can really customize your character, and although you need Skills to open up new Weapons, Modules and Suits it is still an intriguing direction (Skills also improve your usage of these weapons, items and module, so even your Starter Gear in the hands of a skilled Merc will be deadly). Here is the “thing”, when I look at what a lot of Planetside 2 players were saying I feel that Dust 514 went more in the Original Planetside 1’s direction than Planetside 2 did. Any “Class” can use almost any weapon (as long as the CPU/Power can deal with it). The battlefield is changing dynamically (according to the trailer, I do not know how much of that is implemented yet) and the game is actually demanding, it is not just a “Call of Duty” clone, and here is why, you lose your gear when you die.

Just like in Eve Online you lose everything that you carried on you, when you die. This might beg for the question why invest In-Game or real money in order to have any of these things? Depending on which camp you come from you might consider this highly wasteful (losing real  or in-game money to re-buy your armor each time) or simply an incredibly tough challenge (you don’t use the good gear until you know how to use it properly). Since I played Eve Online I know how frustrating it might be to lose some good gear that took you “ages” to obtain, and you have to go up the slope again to get it back, but each such experience calls for a degree of learning and practice, just like in Eve. You win some, you lose some. I do not encourage people to spend hundreds of dollars on gear (as I heard some people doing in Planetside 2, pre-events) since you may lose it from one moment to the next. Be smart about it.

What caught my attention the most is how Dust 514 is meant to cooperate with Eve Online. One of the most gleeful moments I had was how ships in Eve Online could actually provide Orbital Strikes for your own forces on the Dust 514 battlefield. That is not the only cross-over between Dust and Eve Online however. Eve Online Corporations can have their own Army of Mercenaries from Dust whom they will use for conquering planets for their faction/corporation. In the same way the Eve Online Economy influences the prices in Dust 514, since all the weapons, Dropsuits and equipment (as far as I could tell) can be traded in the Eve Online universe. How much more will the two Universes be merged? Time will tell. As far as I can tell now it’s all going in the right direction.

I should not be so heavy on Planetside 2. After all, it’s focused on combat on just one planet, the battlefields are VAST, and the gameplay is still good, but there were always complaints about the rigidity of the classes, and in the case of the Infiltrator a lack of any versatility. While Dust 514 offers much more complexity in outfitting, and your actions on the battlefield have a wider influence in the Eve Universe there are still some things missing I feel, and these may yet be added in the future.

Both of these games are Free To Play, and both support Micro-Transactions, but ever since I started my “Career” in Eve Online I found Dust 514 more appealing to me as an Eve Player than Planetside 2 ever was, because the two games “cooperate” and react to each other. Planetside 2 is just a giant battlefield, a tug-o-war, while in the Eve Universe what you do may eventually be written down in the world’s History. One day I might return to Planetside 2 and discover that I was wrong. Perhaps one day I will buy a Playstation and be enthralled by Dust 514. From my standpoint Dust 514 appears to be the superior game, compared to Planetside 2, because its closer to the original Planetside 1, and has its own twist. It does not feel like a Battlefield or a Call of Duty Clone.

Alex “WriterX” Bielski

About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of AlterGamer.com he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

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