Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dust 514: Enhancing the New Player Experience

As a result of its complexity and massive differences compared to most FPS games on the market, Dust 514 can be quite a difficult game to understand. But it doesn't have to be that way if new players are given the proper education before being thrown into battle with veterans. This blog entry will outline ways to improve the comprehension of Dust 514 among new players without dumbing down the game. Improving the existing tutorial, adding an in game tutorial, and doing changes to the starter fit system will make new players understand the game much better.

Education of new players is lacking right now. I have seen people confuse starter fits for static FPS classes, and not know that they could even edit them to add the guns they wanted or create new ones. I have seen players generally clueless about how the market works. New players need to be informed so that they can have a good experience in Dust, and hopefully stay and contribute to the game's growth and success.

If you are a new player, I recommend going to the help tab on the Neocom, go to tutorials, and do them all. You were asked to do the Neocom tutorial when you started Dust, but you likely were not asked to do the others. They're really short, and you might learn something valuable.

Out of battle education: Neocom, skills, market, fittings, & more.
I'm not sure if its a glitch or not, but there is no tutorial prompt for new player after the Neocom tutorial; this means players are currently not asked to the market, fitting, and skills tutorial. This is likely an error since I remember being asked to do the whole thing when it was first added into the game, but it needs to be fixed. Players must be prompted to do the tutorial.
  • The "Way of the merc" video that shows up after character creation explaining various aspects of Dust 514 should not be skippable. It contains important information that players will need to know.
  • ALL tutorials must be mandatory. If you already done it with one of your characters on your account, you should not have to do it with other characters on your account.
  • The fitting tutorial needs to cover restocking so players know how to restock their non-unlimited fittings.
  • The market tutorial should take the players on a complete tour of the market, and teach them how to view the 3D models of items, view descriptions, fitting requirements, and item attributes.
  • If the tutorials are not mandatory, then an audio message offer new players item or ISK rewards to complete the tutorials. This will motivate players to learn.
  • CCP must add Proximity Chat, toggle push to talk OFF and voice chat ON by default, and if they do the unthinkable and do not, then they should at least have a tutorial on tweaking settings that cover voice chat settings, push-to-talk settings, screen scale settings, brightness settings, and controls settings. At the very least active voice chat will allow mic-less players to hear their teammates through their tvs. The devs must embrace the social aspect of the game as it has the most longevity. There are many things that new mercs can learn from fellow players in game and communication is at the heart of any team based game.
  • The uses, strengths, and weaknesses of various dropsuit, vehicles, and equipment types.
  • Explain the different tiers of items, and the higher skill point requirement as well as financial risk that comes with higher tier items.

In battle education: pew pew & other important things.
There needs to be a gameplay tutorial simulation with some AI enemies, and AI teammates. The AI doesn't have to be smart, just move, follow squad orders (attack/defend/capture/rally), and shoot. The simulation must do the following things. Considering there will be AI enemies in the upcoming PVE mode, this isn't unreasonable.
  • Basic movement and shooting.
  • Switching to secondary by tapping R2 instead of holding R2 to bring up the item wheel (like many seem to do, tapping is faster).
  • Switching to, and using equipment like nanite injectors and nanohives.
  • Checking the enemy's dropsuit tier by aiming down sights on the enemy to see the tags (MLT, STD, ADV, PRO).
  • Explain how enemies are spotted by line of sight, and how signature radius as well as scan detection stats effect enemy detection.
  • Checking the efficiency percentage of their guns at different ranges, and on different targets.
  • Calling down vehicles.
  • Checking the overview map, and setting squad objectives from the map.
  • Setting squad objectives with the command wheel (R2+R3, select, aim, R1).
  • Hacking objectives.
  • Climbing ladders.
  • Calling down precision strikes.

Informed decisions: more militia weapons, revamped starter fits, let them try it first.
People need to be able to test weapons with militia variants in order to make informed decisions as to whether or not to invest skill points into them. There are militia dropsuits for every type, but the selection of militia weapons is very small. The starter fit system can also be tweaked to allow for more variety of dropsuits and weapons to try out; this would make experience of more dropsuits and weapons much more accessible, and broaden the horizons of new players beyond the favored assault dropsuit + assault rifle combo. I will outline ways to implement this in a balanced way.
  • When players choose their starter role (Enforcer, Arbiter, Artificer, & Sentinel) they get a free unlimited starter fit based on their chosen roles. This is the only thing that really needs to be unlimited.
  • All weapons need to have militia grade version. Militia infantry items can be double in price, or nerfed a bit if needed to balance this change. 
  • All starter fits besides the starter role fit should be made of a limited set of militia items, and should not be infinite. This will help teach players how items are lost in death, and the importance of restocking.
  • Limited starter fits should be expanded so that all dropsuits, equipment, and weapons are represented. This would allow new players unfamiliar with the market to try out and understand the great variety that Dust has to offer from the very beginning. Here are some examples of what the expanded and more various finite militia starter fits could look like:
         assault - assault rifle + scrambler pistol + nanohive [20]
         assault - swarm launcher + flaylock pistol (SOON™) + stasis webifier (SOON™) [20]
         assault - laser rifle + flaylock pistol (SOON™) + active scanner (off market for fixing) [20]
         scout - shotgun + nova knives + drop uplink [20]
         scout - sniper rifle + scrambler pistol + nanohive [20]
         logistics - scrambler rifle (SOON™) + nanite injector + repair tool [20]
         logistics - mystery Caldari rifle (SOON™) + remote explosives + nanohive [20]
         logistics - mass driver + nanohive + nanite injector [20]
         Heavy - heavy machine gun + flaylock pistol  (SOON™) [20]
         Heavy - forge gun + scrambler pistol [20]
         Heavy - plasma cannon (SOON™) + scrambler pistol [20]
         crusader (SOON™) - slots currently unknown [20]
         pilot (SOON™) - slots currently unknown [20]

With these suggestions implemented, the new user experience would be greatly improved and ease players into Dust 514 more effectively. As always, we'll continue to attempt to help push and publish ideas that help establish, enhance and grow the Dust 514 community as much as we can. Have any ideas that need sharing? Would you like to join our staff as a writer? Be sure to contact us at magww@live.com, Thank you for reading.


  1. very good suggestions bro

  2. That caldari rifle is the gauss rifle by the way.

  3. That caldari rifle is the gauss rifle by the way.

    1. That's depressing actually since I liked the previous bulky look that it had before http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/6371/caldaririfle.jpg

  4. really good ideas here

  5. I've been kickin ass with a kit not listed here.

    30-6, 44-1, 25-1.

    "decent" suggestions. But people should learn to think outside the box and test shit for themselves.

  6. been kicking ass with the raven suit gek and militia mods

    34-0 36-1 42-3

    best advice to give to the new players if for them to attach a passive armor repper mod to their suit because they expect their health to regen after a while which we all know is not the case.

  7. Adding proxy chat will do nothing except clog up you ears with the QQ and screams of noobs and retards

    1. ur an idiot. prox lets u talk to blue dots and other allies not in your squad.

    2. we respect the opinions of others but proximity chat one of the best team based features ever. allows for broad communication and even the education of new players in game.