Thursday, September 22, 2011

Player Interviews: Leithery of the DBD

Our next interviewee is Leithery from the Deadly Blue Dots. In this in-depth interview he gives us his opinion on how CCP can keep online populations steady, why false bravado might not be such a good idea, How not even a hi-sec hole can protect Plymco Pilgrim and BHD from his wrath, and why Players > Forum Gangsters.

What should people know about the Deadly Blue Dots? Does your corp have a new title in Dust?

We’ll always be good ole’ [)B(]. To the MAG players: If you’ve forgotten about DBD, take it as a lesson that posting on a forum isn’t as important as in-game performance and activity. Lots of clans that have come and gone from MAG and the official MAG forums, and though DBD has abandoned the forums, we’re still 100+ strong on MAG.

To everybody else: Tactics and good management are the names of our game. Our clan visions pull together people who like winning as a team, rather than excluding hard working players simply because they don’t have “enough” of one particular statistic. We let our brains, not brawn, do our work for us. Whether you’re a capsuleer looking for a consistent investment, or you’re a mercenary wary of competition, keep an eye out. Where some investments will go out with a big bang of unfulfilled promises of talent, we’ll be the ones consistently making the bottom line.

Some of the clan/corp rivalries coming to Dust run pretty deep. Is this Good or Bad for the game?
I like killing people in games. Killing people in games generates conflict. Do you have an ideological conflict with the people you’re killing with your serious business internet guns? That’s an added bonus.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the metagame and eventually forget that the reason you sat down to play a game in the first place was to PLAY A GAME. You can’t do that if nobody wants to fight.

What would you incorporate in a balanced vote-to-kick system?
That rather depends on the game mode. If we’re in a completely rule free null-sec like game mode, the most fair and balanced thing is permissions with variable kick weights. As a Director in the corp, I want to be able to kick anybody in game with just my vote. If I have a member, however, I only want, say, 7 members out of a squad of 8 to be able to kick someone I’ve designated “squad leader”, perhaps with just the proper permissions. Basically I would like to be able to create a kick hierarchy where, if you’re in one part of the hierarchy or another, your vote counts as a multiplier towards one part or the other that, ultimately, corp directors specify, and that multiplier can be between 0 and 1.

Recently, groups like the ZSA have taken a lot of heat from PC players for what they view as false bravado, any comment?
Perhaps some history is in order. I got a PS3 on January 26, 2010. Does that day ring a bell? That’s right, I bought a PS3 for MAG. Before then I was a PC only gamer, minus the Nintendo consoles of course. Top 50 guild versus guild in Guild Wars and some small time CAL in Counter-Strike: Source as well as hundreds of hours devoted to games like Command and Conquer are what I could claim before MAG released. For all intents and purposes, I really am a PC gamer with a love for MAG. It should be said that the only reason I didn’t play Eve is because I was too young to justify the subscription fee, and I have a personal philosophy against subscription fees anyways (blame Guild Wars).

I think that both sides are overdoing their responses, which is atypical on the internet right? There’s no reason for ZSA to act quite so high and mighty as Rainbow seemed, though I’d note that Rainbow certainly doesn’t represent the stance of ZSA as a whole as per their own high command’s word on the subject. Some PC players are looking at it a bit wrong as well, though. As an organization is ANYBODY going to go on record saying : “Yeah, our alliance isn’t as good as yours. We pretty much suck and we’ll lose all the time to everybody.”? Food for thought.

Oh, and by the way, whoever the from Eve thinks that they’re going to be raining death and destruction upon whatever Dust battle you wish: a Dust player has to request the strike. Tell me if I’m wrong, but it would take a good deal of investment to hire a Dust group to instigate a battle on a planet, fly a Dreadnought into orbital range and not get torn to shreds by anti-orbital batteries, and then activate your siege mode in order to bomb a single Dust corp that pissed you off that one time.

Online games that have low or dwindling populations don't last long, how can Dust 514 avoid this?
Dust is doing the very best thing any company can do first and foremost to keep players in the game: They’re going to make it competitive in a group sense. Where there’s competition, there’s always fun. Even for games like Guild Wars that eventually lost their esports steam this is true. The microtransaction model is also a really great boon for bringing new players into the game. The very best thing CCP can do to keep people playing Dust is to make sure that

A) The game works, including minimizing lag. This really goes without saying, but a game that’s too laggy to play isn’t actually a game. Our poor Eve counterparts already knows this first-hand.

B) The majority of the tools should be in the hands of the players. I don’t think that CCP will mess this up considering their track record in Eve, but it still needs to be said. If you make a game that is supposed to be connected to the complex game that is Eve, any lack of control will lead to a lack of balance.

When is the last time you saw so much pre-launch organization by console players for a game? What are some of the more powerful factions you see shaping up for Dust?
It’s hard to gauge pre-launch organization for other games with smaller group sizes because there might be 50,000 5-man teams or something.
Is a major, core-focused and clever advertising campaign now critical to a game's success?
I think that’s the only type of advertising campaign that CCP does, if you can call most of Eve’s advertisements “clever”. I think that Dust, like MAG, will have more of a grassroots mouth-to-mouth advertising success than anything intentional. The existing Eve player base is already a form of advertising all their own.
CCP has mentioned different game types for Dust. What would you like to see?

Considering our great lack of information, there would be a lot of theorycrafting here, but in general I would like to see a “low-sec” player versus player queue-and-play and a complex, freeform null-sec battle mode. At the very least there should be some way for Dust players to earn ISK outside of nullsec, even if the rate is pretty slow.
Do you support Advertisements in-game and during load screens in gaming?
It kinda depends on what CCP would provide for the cost of having to watch those advertisements. If they promised to keep content up-to-date and spend money on advertising, then I could definitely get behind it. If they’re not going to do anything with the extra revenue to help the game, I can definitively say that I hate extra advertisements.
One of DUST's core issues could be the ability to make the game more "noob friendly". What changes would you make to even the odds between an experienced player and someone who's new?
One of the things Dust needs to be “noob friendly” is some role that requires little expertise but that can be cost-effective for low investment from corporations. Dust isn’t shaping up to be a game like MAG, where even if you have a clan you still have to grind your way through the levels to get to any area of adequacy, skill wise. Rather, Dust will have corporations always looking for profit. If that profit comes in hiring new blood to fill a necessary role, that would definitely help noobs learn the ropes. This sort of thing will probably develop on its own, even without CCP’s help. In all games there are strategies that take less finesse but that are effective. Sure, you don’t beat groups who know what they’re doing, but perhaps you beat the marginal groups who are beginning to become competitive, skill-wise, but just can’t be flexible enough to end a “cookie cutter” strategy. Better players always end up using more flexible, dynamic strategies, while the noob-centric corporation will have an effective but inflexible strategy: it either works or it doesn’t.

Inevitably the more time-invested player will have more skill points in general, but averages win wars, not single engagements. I don’t think Dust will “need’ something to shorten the odds on more experienced players. The veteran might win more 1 on 1 firefights, but if his corporation can’t, for instance, pay for as many clones as the noob’s, the veteran’s team still loses. Meanwhile, that’s experience that the noob can take as a lesson.

Aurum will probably also play a factor in helping along noobs. I don’t think there are going to be any “golden ammo” pieces of equipment that require AUR, but I wouldn’t be surprised if dropping some money at the start of the game could help the new player get to the same level as a vet, equipment wise and maybe even skill training wise, more quickly than if the noob just played the game.
Random players can be put off from games like Dust after playing against organized groups, should non-grouped players experience a game that is separate from what corps do?
Well, one of the biggest lessons we learned from MAG is that games that are even barely more complex than the current market FPS NEED a good tutorial. That is perhaps off topic, but it deserves a mention. The separation of different security levels into different game modes leaves a lot of room to justifiably prevent large corporate groups from jumping in and stomping the newer players. High sec, for instance, could have a game mode with simple team death match using “training clones”. It would cost some small bit of ISK, and not earn much, but it would teach players the fundamentals of Dust and only allow groups of up to 4-6 friends to go in at once.

That’s mostly theorycrafting. Separating newer players from the general population only helps everybody, though.

How do we prevent noob farming in games like what happened in MAG's Suppression game mode?

It looks to me that much of your corporation’s material wealth will be spent in battlefield equipment in nullsec battles. Plus, consider that every time you lose a better outfitted clone in a battle, you pay for it. “Farming” noobs for nearly negligible ISK and losing money for it doesn’t sound fun to me. On top of that, just split stat collection for high sec, low sec, and null sec. That needs to be done anyway for corporations to understand exactly what they’re hiring.
Spawn camping is a useful but controversial tactic in the FPS genre. In the event we have spawns, should anything be done to eliminate/minimize it?

Two words: static defenses. Do you want to defend your mobile spawn point? Your commander can decide to dip into the game’s wallet or however that system works out and pay for hybrid turrets or lasers or missile launchers to defend that spawn point from casual interference, but it will cost the expense of that emplacement. Does that mean that mobile spawn points could be used offensively? Of course. Static defense introduces that element of risk and reward that makes games actually interesting.

As far as game modes that don’t include such things, spawn points designed like MAG’s are relatively ideal, provided that they can’t dynamically be placed. That is to say spawns that can’t be accessed by the enemy.
It seems Dust will have some manner of group deploy, why is this important?

Do you mean outside of the corporation deployment? Grouping up with friends is the lifeblood of online games. Socom 4 and Brink fell through because they didn’t quite understand how to get that right, as did MAG. CCP should learn from those other companies’ mistakes.
Why is Dust's new frontier exciting to you?

Persistence, in a nutshell. The idea that what you’re doing exists somewhere in a separate space and that the consequences of your actions can have long reaching and powerful effects on systems that you don’t even consider is a really cool idea as far as gaming goes. Being able to lose a battle in order to win a war in a game is something that is simply cool. Competition is also a big deal that goes hand-in-hand with persistence. Can you not compete? Then you fall through financially. That pushes people to be innovative and prepared to try new things.
What kind of social areas would you like to see in Dust?
Social areas, from a clan perspective, would be great if they have relevant overlays to help organization. From a personal perspective, I don’t care much. When I played Guild Wars, I would often spend an hour or more forming a group of 8 players good enough and with the correct roles to play a match. During that time my avatar sat in a town instance and I stared at it. To be fair, my female avatars all had nice asses. In any case, if that screen were replaced with a chat box and a party list, it would serve the exact same function. A good combat environment is necessity and anything else is a bonus.

Any corp you have some "business to settle with" when the game launches?
DBD doesn’t have anyone with whom to settle any business...but on a personal note, if I ever find PLYMCO_PILGRIM or the rest of BHD in Dust, I won’t stop until they’re too afraid and beaten to come out of whatever high sec hole they find to hide in. If you ruin a game for me by spewing illogical nonsense to prevent patching your overpowered race (which is restrictive in MAG, for the people who aren’t familiar with it; you can’t just switch), I’ll ruin a different game for you. It’s only fair.
A popular suggestion mentioned game modes where VIPs or Hostages could be extracted or Liberated, your opinion? 
I’m not sure how that would fit into the persistence of the game. Whom would you be saving? Why were they captured? Why didn’t you stop them being captured in the first place? I think something more capture-the-flag like could be made with less strain on the immersion.

As a general note, if I’m a bit too MAG-centric, I apologize to those readers who haven’t played it. It’s a genuinely good game hindered by technical issues. Again, the huge amount of theorycrafting is a result of the lack of information we have. If you don’t like it, tell CCP about it!


  1. Yes, please somebody do what it takes to make plymco hide in a corner to scared to come out

  2. lol plymco and bhd hiding in hi-sec.

  3. Plymco sucks BHD sucks the MOds suck

  4. Fucking groupies how about you interview PLYMCO from BHD. DBD just mad cuz they lost to us in a clan battle LMAO sore loser ;)and playa BHD won't be alone in Dust514 so come rude boy we will show you who is the top shotta boutya

  5. LMAO!!!! what a tool. Kid needs to go outside

  6. we'd be glad to Bully. keep in mind we were the first publication to interview Pilgrim after his MAG forum banishment. just have him email our blog and we'll set it up.

  7. BHD was never good they just suck mod dick.

  8. lol at people hating on BHD, the most polite, mature mentor clan in all of MAG history. That's like hating on Mr. Rogers.

  9. BHD deserves props but Leithery dude youre kind of a joke


  10. I just talked to pilgrim and he said if someone wants to interview him to send him a message on the sony forum about it since he never comes on these types of sites.

  11. DBD's going into DUST.... interesting... interesting indeed...

  12. It's funny how the SVER tools reveal themselves through their vapid remarks.