Monday, April 8, 2013

CCP: Don't be seduced by CoD

"As much as I find CoD laughably horrible. I think its needed. Not every shooter can be original or different or even good. Like most forms of entertainment there is a spectrum of stuff. CoD just happens to land on the below average, shitty side of that spectrum. Its equivalent to Hannah Montana, Vanilla Ice, Milli Vanilli or Justin Beiber. Plus, what do you expect from a game that spends more money on marketing than actually making it? The real problem started when everyone in the industry started trying to copy CoD and make easy, instant gratification games. That's when innovation died and CoD helped set the genre back ten years."

-poster from PC Gamer Article

This article by PC Gamer is flat out one of the best, most honest and accurate pieces we've ever read. It touches on the key reasons why the industry's obsession with creating easy, casual games has done more to hurt the FPS genre than anything else. We agree completely, and it inspired us to write a piece that begs CCP not to cater to casual in a way that waters down the core Dust 514 game.

Games like CoD aim to make everyone feel like they can succeed. They want to limit the instances of frustration and make everything enjoyable. They want to reduce the instances of thinking and instead focus on a quick easy to play accessible game where everyone can PWN. We're of the opinion that the developer educates the player on how to be successful at introduction, and then supplies the game world and persistent and consistent mechanics. Succeeding? Thats up to the player. Its also relative to his competition. If two snipers line up a shot on each other and one has truer and faster aim, he's the one that gets to succeed. Its very simple. And there's nothing wrong with that. Developers can't punish the better player by compressing the skill gap. Games shouldnt make sniping 'more accessible' [translation: easier] to appease lower level players. At a basic level you tune games with the skilled player in mind, not the unskilled one. If not? The top tier skilled player breaks the game horribly. An option to appeal to the FPS challenged, might be adding PVE environments where player skill doesnt vary as much as in multiplayer.

Casual games make a vow never to challenge or frustrate the gamer. The problem is, in an environment where someone wins and someone loses, frustration is a given. Friendly Fire is a good example: Many of the fans of casual shooters play them to blow off steam and escape reality through violence. They play to have fun, not think or figure out a problem. Let's not ruin their fun by asking them to do anything but shoot and pwn noobs. And lets not punish them for shooting at friendlies. Lets give them everything quickly, and when they fail, lets not remind them of it and get them back into the action as quickly as possible. Casual elements have crippled some gamers so much that predictably, when they dont succeed, they blame the game or the developer and refuse to take ownership. To prevent Dust 514 from ruin, we urge remembering the complaints that casual players will devise to explain their lack of success. Its important to recognize certain code phrases and excuses when we see them.

Its not responsive enough! This usually means switching from my main weapon takes longer than .2 seconds. Casual games have rewarded players with instant for for too long. There's nothing wrong with slowing down the process for switching to a secondary, hacking, or throwing a grenade. Instant animations are at the heart of tactics like dolphin diving. Adding a lengthy delay to 'go to ground' and rise is just the thing that would prevent behavior like this.

WTF is up with the hit detection?! While this is a legitimate concern, its only an issue when mercs that are barely or not moving are aiming down sights, getting hit markers and no damage is being done. Leaping wildly hip firing should affect aim and this non-tactical behavior has been rewarded in FPS for too long. Its past time a developer limited the effectiveness of this.

Movement Sucks! This translates to where is my unlimited stamina and why are there weighted movements? It means why can't stop on a dime and spin like a dancer despite the dropsuit i'm wearing and HMG i'm firing nonstop? This game sucks! Waah!

PVE - The core thing that casual games like CoD have always failed to acknowledge is that PVP isnt for everyone. Everyone can't excel when pitted against the various levels of player skill we see online. PVE gives players the ability to enjoy a more singleplayer style or co-op experience and still be part of New Eden. We hope these type of contracts vary greatly with the Salvage, Assassin, Escort and Scout missions we have suggested from time to time.

Support - Another aspect casual games ignore is that FPS can have variety in the ways that players contribute. While everyone cant excel at the shooting aspect that is so core to FPS, A true MMOFPS allows players to progress and contribute in a multitude of ways, whether they are safely piloting friendlies from one point to another, mortaring a position, providing ammo or coordinating from an MCC. We hope Dust allows an abundance of playstyles to prosper in New Eden.

Tiers - We're big fans of allowing newer players to wade into the waters of gameplay slowly. Dust is a game where shooter fans used to a compressed skill gap and little advancement will struggle initially. MAG offered a suppression mode where players trained against other players in the same PMC. Perhaps Dust could provide a low level training ground for players with 500K or less SP where they can participate in Skirmish & Ambush with other members of their default corp. The next level could provide the same thing with players with 1M SP or less. The following tier could provide players with faction warfare contracts where the compensation would be low [2,000-5,000 SP and 40,000 to 80,000 ISK] but the continued warfare between the Caldari & Gallente and Amarr & Minmatar would mean that winner and loser could be compensated equally. While mid and higher level contracts must almost certainly offer rewards that favor the victor, it may be a good idea to separate players in hi-sec by experience through SP limited zones and matchmaking.

Game Pace - Here's another place where Dust can bring some life and variety to an FPS landscape littered with respawn mechanics, variations on the same ambush, domination and conquest game modes and the same rinse & repeat mechanics with different skins and genres. Lets see something different from the standard 'eliminate the clones' and 'capture the points' style games. We've suggested single-death game modes, scout contracts, solo PVE missions, Solo assassin gametypes in addition to escort, the use of NPC AI as VIPs and Targets and even the ability to accept Bounty Hunter contracts or be a famous gladiator. There is a variety of player types that have been ignored by the lack of innovation in FPS. Offer those players an alternative to the usual respawn+shoot+revive and they surely will find a home in New Eden.

Deterrents - Instead of limiting behaviors we are big fans of deterrents. New Eden's economy and persistence & progression provide all the incentive necessary provided ISK doesn't grow on trees and SP isn't awarded simply for showing up. Team Killing, Rage Quitting, AFKing, Redline Sniping and a number of other questionable behaviors could be penalized realistically to urge players not to do them. What team killer in high sec will shoot blues knowing there's an SP penalty and a 10-50M fine from CONCORD waiting after the match? What quitter will abandon his contract obligation knowing a Deserter Item will be added to his permanent file? Would going AFK in the MCC be as popular if it resulted in zero points and an AWOL Occurence in your merc file? How many players will reside in the red area for long periods when no actions taken there result in SP? Reward criminal behavior with CONCORD Bounties in low and null and all of a sudden the best players in the game are hiring locator agents and hunting criminals, which is a good thing. In the end, give the ISK and SP value by not giving them out on a whim and watch players become incentivized.

Training - While the Corp Training Rooms CCP is adding will be something revolutionary to FPS as a place to develop skills and tactics, one casual complaint is valid. The Dust 514 learning curve is made unnecessarily steep by the fact that the tutorial is lacking. First, the tutorial must be mandatory, but even more important is a walk through where players test skill points, controls, movement, combat, driving and even flying. We tried the Defiance Beta recently and the story mode served as a tutorial that familiarized users with playing. While Dust has no campaign, PVE could easily be used, or we could see better tutorial that provides sample combat by the female voice that greets us at login. Something has to be done to make the game more accessible to new players.

As always, we'll continue to attempt to help promote 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


  1. One of the better articles on this site

  2. You might be mixing things up. There's a difference between player skill and SP. SP is what handicaps better players. Bad players can eventually win and feel good about themselves with enough SP and gear vs guys in MLT.

    If you want to make the game harder, you need to let it be more free- ie player movement and control is up to the player, and not limitations placed on the player. Adding stuff like Concord just adds more limitations. That caters to the casual player.

    Look at EVE. Concord provides a "safer" area for newbies to start, and do enough bad things and you'll have a harder time getting into certain areas. If CCP removed all restrictions, concord, and anything like it, you would have a game that is better for the hardcore players and worse for the noobs.

    1. we dont think so. Dust allows u to work towards better gear as a means of progression. Teir skill system is one of the best in gaming. SP dictates your rate of progression. player skill still rules. Dont forget our point in the article regarding ownership. If ur losing engagements its not the games fault. it may be ur skill level is not as high as u thought it was.

      movement and control is up to the player in the form of different dropsuit and modules. basically ur movement is customizable.

      CONCORD isnt a limitation. they represent a mechanic for structure. ur still free to do whatever you like. u just have consequences associated.

  3. Having high movement speeds makes it harder to shoot AND hit targets.

    This ADDS skill to the game.

    Standing still and simply aiming as fast as possible is not "tactical" or higher skill.

    Dust is slow and bad since they nerfed the movement.

    1. by that rationale a game where heavies can move like sonic the hedgehog would be better. please shut up talking.

    2. where is your argument?

      what does the relative movement speed of heavies or scouts have to do with everyones absolute movement speed?

    3. making everyone faster is stupid. the speed u can add through mods makes the speed comparable to any shooter out there. you want to be the roadrunner so bad go ahead.

  4. no way. r u crazy? the engine was struggling with hit detection before the game was slowed down. it had to be fixed.


  6. Why people should avoid a stupid, overdone, and childish game. Cool story.

  7. Boring article, love the use of codewords as common complaints that describe the utter fail this game is becoming anyway.

    1. translation: those are things I complain abt when I get pwned and im butthurt someone is calling me out.

  8. this article makes some very good points.

    IMO CCP must be very careful with separating the core game and only giving PC solid and persistent gameplay. Things like FF, command channels, command structure and MCC commanders have to be the backbone of this game and in it on every level. If not u risk making a game where players venture into PC but are clueless about how to play and what to expect.

    Why no one has seen an MCC Commander this far into the process is beyond me. This would have been the perfect time to get a portion of the playerbase familiar with some of the mechanics of the RTS view we thought was coming.

  9. This is funny. All your key phrases to watch out for are true in some respects in this game . Its not a silly complaint that the game is not responsive enough if your trying to do one of the many things that regularly slow down like; accessing fittings at a supply depot, calling in a dropship or lav changing from one weapon to another. These are all things that at times will seem unresponsive when compared only to dust itself. the movement does suck, as a heavy there have been many knee high curbs that are impassable to me, I could fall over these .not to mention the ground catching and holding you on what appears to be flat ground in several spots in manus peak. And i love it when you step in a spot on the mountains thats angled in how you can take a big chunk of damage. as to the hit detection, if a scout can walk back and forth thru the bullet stream of an hmg without taking any damage at 10m i don't know what to say. Oh ya its all the hopping around us heavies do ,all that 2 inch high hopping.
    Favorite part is when he says how COD hasn't figured out that not every one is up for PvP. The game thats had a single player, multi player, and co-op modes for the last 4 or 5 games. (Or more im not sure i don't really like COD)

  10. If a scout can run in front of your HMG for 10 seconds without dying, your aim is at fault buddy and you deserve to die.

  11. Not run in front of me for 10 seconds, run in front at 10 M eters. Further examples of the poor hit detection can be found at the ridge of nearly every hill and the corner of boxes . Manus prime is bad for this. Hopefully when we move out of beta this will improve.