Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Couple of Dealbreakers...

As the hype for Dust 514 gets larger and we all grow more impatient, most of us are probably biding our time trying to "get organized" in other games by fielding new recruits and formalizing our protocols which roughly translates into "finding some dudes to play with regularly and thinkin' shit up". Battlefield 3 comes to mind, as it's the closest thing on the market to what Dust 514 is claiming to bring: a team based game with combined arms fighting (squads, guns and vehicles on big sandbox maps)

With the release of the latest patch, clans now have the ability to once again set up private servers for matches against other clans. We also see the return of the ominous "kick" option.
And if we look closely at the BF3 forums, the server browser and the game itself, we can find 2 things that could be MAJOR problems for 514: the freezing and the training wheels.

1. From Day 1 of the release of the private servers patch, you would THINK that the community would be like "GREAT! Let's turn off the mini map and use the mics and the compass. Let's get rid of the little red triangles because we don't need the game to do all the work for us. Let's turn on friendly fire because we are old enough now to not have the game protect us from our bad shooting habits." etc. But guess what? We found that the fastest way to empty a server is to turn off the mini map, the Doritos, the regenerative health, Friendly Fire on, etc. BOOM! Ghost town in one minute flat. EVERY time. Go look at the server browser right now... Go ahead. I'll wait. 10 pages or more, guaranteed: every server will be full with ALL the training wheels on. Now look up the hardcore servers with stuff off. You can count 'em on 1 hand.

Anybody else think this might bode unwell for Dust 514? The translation would be that most of the community is going to be in hi-sec, with some big clans in null-sec and a mix in between. Once the hi-sec zone realizes that the null-sec zone pays more you can bet that they will be screaming for balance in the forums as loud and as long as takes to make it happen. Again, ask yourself why would the majority of players NEED friendly fire off in order to play the game? Why do they need red dots and mini-maps? Dust 514 expects groups of players to take over and hold entire PLANETS..yet the majority of the community still has a hard time "taking A" if you take away their ability to bounce grenades off their teammates.

What happens when the best gameplay takes place in a part of the game where the least of amount of players experience it? Will every game reviewer who happens to not be part of a clan log in and come back with a "mediocre...2 outta 5 stars" simply because the guy spent 3 or 4 hours in hi-sec trying to figure out how to put an effective rig together only to have it destroyed because 20 of his 24 players weren't using their mics and were too busy sniping to be of any use? And for that matter, with a difficulty level the likes of which Dust 514 poses facing off against a server browser of milk fed kittens who are habitual grenade spammers or rocket launcher in a 5X5 foot area users, will the interwebs be awash with the laments of the adderal addicted latch key kids and their endless comments of "game sux! u mad bro?" even though the 3000 of us or so who hang around languishing down to the last man on the last planet know better? You can't fight the facts: if there are not enough people playing, it won't work. Based on the settings and the player counts of any random sampling of BF3 private servers, I'd say 514 has a VERY hard road ahead of itself.

2. Freezes. In a game like BF3, a freeze is only bad if you actually are a stat-nerd. Who cares, really? Whatever, the game saved your unlocks, blah blah blah, just relog back in and get back with your boys. Scoreboard? Dude, who cares. Win/loss!!

But that absolutely WON'T work in Dust 514. You can't have freezes. You can't have disconnects. You can't. The best lighting effects, animations or sounds in the world won't make up for the fact that you froze out right at the most crucial moment in the battle leaving your team without whatever it was you were doing at the time. If every bullet in this game can change history, then that history can't have series of asterisks denoting the parts where "well, we woulda won that battle and taken the planet but I froze out with 3 other clan mates and that took out all our tanks which let the enemy come in and knock down the shields... "

When it comes to microtransactions take the above frustration and multiply the tantrums by ten. God forbid you freeze AND lose your gear because it's still sitting on the field while you are hysterically hitting the PS button to get to the log in screen. Or worse... the enemy walked up to it and now it's theirs.
Instability above all else will KILL this game. There can't be even a 1-a-day tolerance for it because as the game progresses, every single thing will become that much more critical to success.
At least one of these problems is something CCP has control over. They can code it, patch it, outsource it, redo it and fix it. The other... Well, the verdict is still out on that. Hopefully it doesn't come in at the expense of enjoying Dust 514.


  1. Thanks.

    Just hoping the devs might read it and think about it a lil before the beta drops. As far as the T-wheels... really not sure what to make of it. Could be overblown but the numbers on the BF3 server browser are pretty scary.


  2. i pray to god dust doesnt freeze like mag.