Friday, May 24, 2013

Resource Based Warfare

In the hallowed annals of warfare history, the battle of Thermopylae is revered by many because of the audacity of the Spartans. Three hundred of them died attempting to take on insurmountable odds, by holding a position against the near endless Persian Army. For three days the Spartans held a narrow pass against what was allegedly an army of 1M. Similarly, a week ago in New Eden, Hellstorm mercs found themselves badly outnumbered by Betamax operatives and many clones were lost, but they were able to triumph.

Few would argue that wars take resources. One look at veteran EVE corporations will show you that they have more money than they could spend in ten lifetimes. Finances should work to the advantage of those that have them, in a number of ways. We see making ISK important to Dust battlefields as another way to pay homage to the longtime EVE Corporations, by recognizing their embarrassing amounts of riches when it comes to the funding of war. At the same time, Dust should offer alternatives to the legacy issue where the power blocs have what is effectively limitless income. It would be nice to see an EVE to Dust tax rate high enough to easily have them operating at a loss if they feel the need to throw money at ground conflicts frivolously. Let the ISK flow we say.

We love the idea of Planetary Conquest, but we can't tell you how disappointed we were to find out some aspects of it. The first thing that really disappointed us was the 16 vs 16 style of play in PC. Dust 514 portrays itself as a shooter with large scale combat. But with 32 total mercs in its crown jewel mode? Three years ago a shooter [MAG] did 256 players in a single match. EVE has thousands of ships in some engagements, there is tons of work to be done in regards to making the game massive. Isn't this New Eden where resources and preparation matter? Why so small a number on the battlefield? The most damaging aspect to the game that exists as we see it, are mechanics that punish groups like PRO, STB and Zion for amassing large entities.

The 16 vs 16 PC structure caters completely to the 'Slayer' gamer type and isn't massive at all. It completely lowers the advantage of large groups by making their numbers irrelevant and caters to the smaller more KDR focused groups almost exclusively. Most Dust players aren't of the elite variety, the vast majority range from average to solid and sometimes good players. We're fine if each playstyle is supported by giving us more options regarding the match size, but only focusing on one type of gamer and ignoring the planner, support, command style players and the bottom 80% of the playerbase is not good.

Why arent there a multitude of district sizes with production or value based on size? Allowing 24, 64, 128 and perhaps even 256 per side. Now is this easy? No, but its necessary. We understand CCP wants to ensure a game that performs in terms of latency and framerate but its just as important that gameplay cater to all shapes and sizes. The highest level of gameplay shouldn't be tiny or cater to one gamestyle almost completely.

Also, why should Dust 514 have archaic Gentlemen's War limitations when EVE does not? No force or mechanics exist that force 'fairness' or even numbers onto a battle in EVE. If the enemy brings twice as many ships to an engagement, you will either overcome their advantage with skill and tactics or be destroyed. Also, why can the enemy see the clone movement and numbers on our districts? The size of an enemy force and their assets is among the most valuable intelligence in warfare, why give it away for free? Isn't this what spying, scouts and other methods of information gathering are for? Perhaps even PVE or single death modes where a Scout recons an enemy district and then provides clone counts and maps of the target locale. It just seems that the guesswork and uncertainty that could make PC more anticipated is not being utilized. Its much more exciting when corporations decide on the amount of assets to bring to an engagement, blind to the size of their opponent, and then deal with the benefits or consequences of their decisions.

PC also dangles districts as the carrot but never makes them tangible or truly feel like they belong to the corporations. Although exploring districts they own isnt available to players yet, shouldn't there atleast be detailed overhead maps provided? Give players map access and perhaps even allowing multiple levels of zoom like the previous starmap had, is important. This will allow them to become familiar with the territory they own and could even elevate the level of tactics when they defend their land.

As you can tell, we really like the the idea of a PVE mode where corps could hire/send small forces or single scouts in to discretely provide a map of the district or intel on enemy forces if their mission is successful. Valuable intel on a planet could force an attacking CEO to reconsider if the defenses are setup too well. An accurate map could also let them draw up an effective plan of attack. Nova Knife mentioned drones as functional PVE assets that corporations could use to protect their planets only a few days ago. This could add another layer of gameplay where a PVE mechanic could protect our districts and alert of us intruders like scouts or saboteurs. Anything is better than knowing exactly what the enemy is bringing to the fight and killing guesswork as a rule. Giving mercs the ability to be more informed about their potential targets is a good thing. Foolish is the man who knows only himself and nothing of the enemy.

What we're suggesting to the FPS crowd may seem groundbreaking, perhaps even scary, but isnt that what New Eden is about at its core? Pushing the envelope and laying waste to convention? This galaxy is an environment dominated by veteran corporations known for their wealth. As such, these resources should be the primary advantage when it comes to warfare. Lets throw away 'fair' and the 24 vs 24 mentality of equal antagonists and protagonists and instead think more in terms of 'max available'. Giving players ways to spend ISK is paramount. While there will obviously be a player cap, CCP should only limit the amount of mercs, assets and clones a corporation can bring to bear by what they can afford and district size. War has costs and ISK should be the only limitation, to an extent.

We'll spell out what we mean in a general sense. Say What the French intends on taking a district from a corp like GIANT on a Size 1 district GIANT owns. If Size 1 districts have a player cap of say, 32 players per side, 16 mercs and 150 clones could be available for the standard 80M clone pack [not accounting for distance traveled and clones lost of course] But extra mercs and clones can be added by the attacking or defending force at a cost of say, 2M ISK per merc while an additional 25 clones costs 5M ISK. Say the WTF platoon leader brings 29 mercs and 300 clones to the fight [an extra 56M ISK] while GIANT has 16 mercs and 150 clones. [zero extra cost] in this way corporations can customize the size of the forces they are willing to dedicate to a battle. Here is where huge, hour-long wars of attrition can be born. Especially by allowing more players on the larger districts. Battles where you can have up to 256 mercs available? [if you can afford it] We can only imagine.

Dust 514 becomes nothing ever seen before in a shooter if we allow armies to decide how many boots they bring to an engagement and make other elements are up to the players. There is no better customization than choice. Corps might even get the option of a cavalry [reinforcements to prolong a battle] in reserve if they predeclare it before the battle starts [here again, at high ISK cost: 100M] and reach a certain threshold [10,000 WP for a small district, for example] lets give ISK value and purpose by turning Dust into a money sink for both Dust and EVE corps and make winning and losing something very costly, isnt that why we have this fancy economy? We love the Salvage ideas CCP Nullabor and CCP Foxfour have addressed, and we know it will take time but we would really like to see MCC commanders from Dust or EVE who can oversee, drop in assets, larger battles, the dynamic and customizable battlefields and homefield advantages we were promised. Maybe even options for Sneak Attack [a shorter, 12 hr reinforcement timer perhaps?] Open Battles that anyone can join unrestricted by Reinforcement Timer, and Retreat or Surrender options like ContraBanJoe made famous in MAG to bring the experience full circle. Some aspects of PC arent fully fleshed out yet and that works to the detriment of the people who are ready for the depth of it.

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. since when was hellstorm good?

  2. best blog ive seen on this site. ccp needs to read this.

  3. very good read!!! we need to be able to kick team killers asap!!

  4. You are talking fantasies. Concentrate on making the actual game better and not proposing almost impossible things. It is already enough lagy, 32v32 would be impossible. Let em figure out how to stabilize the engine first than to expand on more players.

    All other suggestion are more about when we ll have persistent planets. And persistent planets are far away in the project. Persistent planets we might have when there will be warbarges (so we can travel from one planet to another), Space elevators (where barges will dock and players will ascend on the planets).

    Till than all the mods you are suggesting are impossible to implement. So better make suggestions on how to make this build stronger, the game with less lag and a more balanced game.

  5. I do not think these are complete fantasies. I think these are legitimate ideas for when the game gets out to Null sec and Sov space.

    We have to keep in mind that this is still low sec. This implies that even CONCORD is monitoring what is going on right now. It could be that out in Null sec there will be a lot less intel given on the map.

    There was some mention of a sandbox game mode being the first they made, and that something like it could be brought back for Null Sec and or Sov space. I am thinking that at the very least that is when we will see corps having to pay for every MCC, and Installation, not to mention placing those Installations themselves and calling them down in game.

    1. Exactly, these ideas are more for nullsec. But as i said i d really focus to make this build more stable and stronger before doing anything else tbh.

      But deffinitely nullsec has to have some interesting game modes or else it will become dull.

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