Thursday, May 9, 2013

Uprising Hits & Misses


'How could you nerf my dropsuit-weapon-vehicle??' We wonder if the devs ignore post like these as most intelligent people do. Posts where people cry about how theyve been wronged because their favorite weapon was nerfed and how it must be CCPs intent to screw them over [specifically of course] always fall on deaf ears to us. The devs have to consider the whole library and big picture rather than a single weapon when they make changes. Take the Minmatar HMG for a moment: Consider for a moment that if all holds true to EVE canon, the Minmatar HMG will probably be third in pure damage to the Gallente and Amarr variants. This could have been an impetus for lowering the HMG damage. Because it has to be slotted correctly when compared to the others and they dont want to be forced to give us a Gallente proto HMG that does 26 damage per round.

We're just extrapolating here but we think you get the point. The devs have also mentioned that they use metrics, and not a vocal minority, or some silly knee jerk reaction when tuning the game. This is great to know, as data is more trustworthy than players with a clear bias for or against a certain weapon or piece of equipment. Imagine how difficult it is to tune the Heavy suit, tune it too harshly and it can't fulfill its role, too easily and its unstoppable. Its always been our assertion that you cannot tune weaponry with the unskilled user in mind, because then the skilled user breaks the game. You must also tune with the exploiter in mind. Most have noticed the influx of Tactical ARs with this update. We're happy to see it become a viable weapon again, but CCP has to keep an eye on the Modded Controller Contingent who have always sought to abuse this weapon. It may be a good idea to hard code its fire rate into the game to prevent it from becoming a long range, high damage, high ROF weapon that has no peer. But enough about that, in this piece we look at Uprising, what things stand out, need tweaking and what is absent. Keep reading for the details.


Misses
Matchmaking - We can't stress enough how much this has to improve in this regard. When the new players come they wont stay long if veterans in proto level gear are able to prey on them. Dust 514 must have the best matchmaking system ever seen if its to maintain a solid playerbase. Not only must game modes be numerous, but even when higher level players venture into instant matches they must be matched up against players with comparable SP.

AFKing - That this is still an issue is inexcusable. Why are players that simply camp in the MCC during battles being rewarded for doing so? These mercs need to be kicked from the battles and receive AWOL occurrences on their permanent files at the very least. Imagine the implications when half of the players in a battle are behaving this way, ruining the experience for those actually playing. Most importantly, due to the copycat nature of online play, how can we not expect this kind of behavior to spread if its being rewarded? And who could blame them? This has been an exploit long enough for some people to wonder if CCP supports it.

KB/M - It seems as if there is an issue with this control option at the moment. This needs to be addressed ASAP, as it ruins the game for an entire group of players.

Turrets - Apparently turrets are having an issue with aiming high and low and not registering hits in some instances, another issue that has to be addressed ASAP.

HMG Bullet Spread - Giving Heavies more HP does nothing if they cant do consistent damage at their optimal damage range. Shouldn't it be a bad idea to close the distance on a HMG? Like we mentioned above, many complain without being able to see the big picture but a system that has the HMG missing half of its rounds inside 30m or unable to hip fire isnt good. in a recent thread on the Dust 514 Forums, CCP Blam all but confirmed changes are coming. Reducing the HMG damage makes us scratch our heads a bit, but we'll continue to trust that theres a method to the madness.

The New Death Screen - If theres someone who actually likes this new feature, we have yet to hear from them. Its more than a bit clunky and where is the quick bleedout option? We can understand urging players to 'call for help' but not allowing a fast respawn option allows wounded players to be revived in the middle of firefights where their chances of surviving more than few seconds are slim.

Faction Warfare - Let's get this option working ASAP, as its a necessary break from the Ambush-Skirmish-OMS cycle. The devs must also make this grouping easy, if groups of 16 are allowed, this process must also be simple and quick. Organized teams should not be forced into playing with non-motivated random players who may have their own agenda in mind.

Nanite Injector - This items fail rate has been an issue for too long. The auto option is good but there are too many times we spam the injector over a down teammate to zero effect. Its getting to the point where many are hesitant to equip it because the instances where it actually works is so low.

Lag/Framerate - Still a small issue here at times. We know the devs will continue to strive into making this a non-issue.

Logis - Someone may want to keep a close eye on the metrics for logi players going forward. Many are abusing the CPU, PG, Slots and natural repair rate of this class to turn it into a super-assault. We know this isnt how it was intended. Lowering the base shields and armor and making this class more squishy might be necessary at some stage.

Hits
Missiles - Great tuning here as the missiles finally have bite again. There's nothing worse than useless assets in a shooter. The weapon effects are also a nice touch.

HAVs - Tankers seem ready to riot if you believe what you see on the forums. Sounds like the ranting of a an entitled minority if you ask us. CCP looked at metrics [again, ignoring the small vocal minority] and determined these would be tuned down. Who could really argue with this? We actually argued for a system where drivers couldnt control weapons and vehicle ammo was not unlimited, this is pale by comparison and more than fair.

Scopes - The sights are very well done in this update, and although the Gallente model shows a scope when there is none we got over it. The next step is adding further customization so that players can equip their choice of visual enhancements.

Melee Damage - Here consistency shines as damage finally differs between the classes. Heavy, Assault, Logi, Recon. Well done, CCP.

Expanded Squads - This is a welcome addition, but we have to stress that this can only be the first step. CCP would do well to make squad size customizable. Like mentioned above, organized groups have prepared for Dust for some time, they cant be reduced to guessing whether theyll get into the same match or not.
Great Visuals - The graphic upgrade is considerable. CCP deserves a lot of credit here.

User-Friendly - The new node based skill tree is still complex but a bit easier to grasp.

Invite to Squad - At last! One of the best features in this build.

EVE Clock - A very welcome addition to menu, this was long overdue.

Repair Indicator - This is a very good mechanic that lets you know when you are being repaired. We would like to see more visual indicators like these.

Mass Driver - Instead of lowering the fire rate or direct damage, instead CCP took down the splash radius. Not bad at all. Rewarding player skill is always the best way to go.

Necessary Additions
 Tutorial - We've ranted about the importance of this for some time to no avail. Now the NPE is even shorter with even less relevant details. Who is going to tell new players how to spend SP or how important an armor repairer is? Or that shield rechargers are useless at this stage? Or how to give squad orders or call an orbital strike? Do you realize no one tells you how to call in a vehicle? The list goes on and on, this is too complex a game to throw new players to the wolves and tell them to 'figure it out'. Depending on the playerbase to train new players has always been folly. Dust University provides a great service by taking willing new players under their wing, but how are new players even supposed to find out about them? There's not so much as a link provided during the NPE. Jenza's Dust 514 101 series has taken the unheard of step of doing the developers job for them and providing a tutorial for the new player in New Eden, but how many players go on internet searches to learn how to play shooters? Not many. They decide they cant figure it out and stop playing. Here again, not so much as a link. At this point we are tired of bringing it up. The NPE has gaping holes that will prevent even the interested player from enjoying the game. Either CCP will address it or suffer the consequences.

AV Grenade/RE Damage - This is still a mystery, and its baffling in a game like this where the details are so important. This is a necessary addition.

Weapon Range - Another critical value still curiously absent. Now that weapon ranges are fixed, its very important to display maximum and effective range on the weapon screen. At this stage its just as important as damage.

Join Game - Another feature still curiously absent. The ability to follow our allies into games [even ones in progress] is paramount.

Friendly Fire - This is New Eden, only instant battles should be of the casual variety. Its been mentioned that we first need deterrents for griefing and team killing. Fine, lets get them added ASAP so Dust is a more tactical and consistent place as a whole. Orbitals that kill the enemy but leave allies unscathed? No way.

Marking Targets - Gameplay still lacks a mechanic where non-squad leaders can highlight targets, Dust needs this functionality to improve the level of teamwork and communication.

Incapacitated Rangefinder - A mechanic that shows how far away down targets are so that we can prioritize our down teammates is critical.

Command Structure - We're still completely cut-off from our teammates in Dust and communicating with them in team chat is optional for some reason. Even moreso its inefficient, have you ever been in team chat where 16 people are talking at once? Where are our MCC Commanders and a Platoon Commanders to oversee the Squad leaders? The result is reducing Dust to a game with little to no teamwork where each squad is on its own with no connection to the overall goal. Dust needs the compartmentalized command channels and platoon broadcast that MAG had, and it needs them now. Even the reviewer from Warp Drive Active seemed shocked by any kind of organizing principle 'The 256-player shooter monstrosity that was MAG pulled this concept off much better than DUST does, resulting in gameplay that is far less like chaotic gang brawls and more like an organized ground war.'

Proximity Chat - We understand that talking to the enemy through a dropsuit isnt something the Dust lore supports, but what about friendlies that are close by? Features like this make the game alive and promote teamwork and communication. All of a sudden, instead of simply being a random blueberry the person asking for ammo is real.

Frames for each Class - The game has less variety without specific designs for the Minmatar Assault and Gallente, Amarr and Caldari Logis. CCPs Art and Design team are excellent and we feel almost cheated without seeing the unique looks of each of these classes. We're almost certain the Logi and Assault frames were merged because the game had to make the 5.14 launch date, but we sincerely hope the next update shows us the specific designs for each.

Enemy Equipment - Let players destroy or hack enemy assets for a small bonus [+5 perhaps]

Orbital Strike Indicator - This notification can often go unseen due to the fact that its in the same blue text as everything else and there's no verbal alert. Perhaps red or yellow text and a 'orbital assets are available' prompt would be more effective.

Incentives to Win - Dust still has the core issue of rewarding winners and losers similarly. There's simply little difference between willing or losing a battle. This kills teamwork as players often decide to camp back into low-risk sniper positions rather than try to help achieve victory. This has to change, give the victors significantly more  ISK. We'd also recommend no salvage for the defeated. Afraid of people leaving battles that arent going well? Penalize them by tracking Desertions and Deserter % on the mercs permanent file and make this information public and expose the fact that they are unreliable, lastly give us the option to disqualify mercs by Deserter % when player contracts are implemented. Higher level NPC contracts should have Deserter % thresholds as well.

Chat Timestamps - Another user friendly feature that would add to the overall game.

In Match Icon - This would be useful in showing users what players are available to group.

Cancelling Hacks - Its odd that we still dont get the WP for preventing the enemy from taking our objectives. This needs to change.

More MMOs need to use the soft launch strategy that CCP used with Dust 514 on the 6th. Invariably there will be game elements that are broken and need tweaking. Giving themselves a week with this new content to iron out the 'kinks' is one of the best decisions CCP has made with this title. Now they just have to address these issues as quickly as humanly possible so the game is a good experience upon release.

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 magww@live.com

14 comments:

  1. I was absolutely shocked to hear anyone could dislike the new Death Screen. I just love how it works now. I love how I can choose to spawn, or wait for a pick up while looking at the map. I love seeing my bleed out timer, and the spawn timers. It helps me make my choice.
    I love the way I can see the distance to the closest logi while this is going on.
    All this with only one button to spawn. I love it for every feature it has. Especially the kill report as you go down.

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    Replies
    1. agreed I've yet to here anything negative about the death screen.

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    2. i hated it too. how do u bleed out?

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    3. Choose a new spawn to bleed out.

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    4. yer nothing saps the moral more then getting killed by a lucky scrub and seeing he has died 14 times with one killl and your that kill lol... as for the death screen its no real problem just got to get use to it, besides the main reason people arnt likeing it is because its so hard to get picked up

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  2. Also marking targets is how the game already works. You just do not need to push a button to do so. The TACNET only shows what someone in your team can see. As soon as you look and highlight a guy, you put him on the maps of everyone on your team.

    Not sure why anyone wants to have to press a button for this. The current system is the best system in any FPS.

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    Replies
    1. we agree the passive spotting is excellent, but there are many times when highlighting a target like the SL can is important. it could be a tank, sniper or dropship and the flashing icon is faster and easier than explaining where the target is on the map.

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  3. +1 good review. agree on the matchmaking and tutorial. hope CCP listens.

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  4. I just hope CCP makes sure these faggots with modded controllers cant bring their bs into Dust.

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  5. I also hated that the caldari assault and logi have the same frame. hoping they add different designs soon.

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  6. In case any of you have missed it, here's the stickied post in the Dust forums regarding our meeting this morning with Brandon Laurino and CCP's efforts to fix some of these issues:

    https://forums.dust514.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=775813#post775813

    Stay tuned for more news from your CPM

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  7. A balanced and fair review.

    Great list. Your lists of what DUST needs are always very close to my own.

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