Friday, June 7, 2013

Dust finally getting a functional tutorial?

This CPM post on the Dust forums is evidence that CCP may be finally focusing on a detailed and deep New Player Experience that matches that of the Dust 514 experience. We've gone on the record countless times [like here, here and even here] explaining the need for a functional NPE [the current one is embarrassingly shallow and asks too much learning by osmosis] that not only shows off the depth, lore and originality of this game, but also insures that players know how to be successful.

Its folly to expect players to turn off their consoles, leave the boundaries of the game and go to Youtube, a Users Manual or Wiki website to learn how to play Dust 514. In this day and age players simply won't do it and its unreasonable. We love Dust University and Bojos School but no developer should ever leave it up to the playerbase to train new players. Only social players or those open to learning benefit from this, you cripple anti-social and autonomous players when you do this. We wont beat a dead horse too much but to launch without a proper tutorial cripples the ability for this game to grow, and this decision was inexcusable. Titles should include a seamless experience where everything involved in learning how to prosper should be available to the new player.

Dust must also accept that some portions of its game are complex when compared to what FPS players are used to. As such, these things require detailed explanations. We frowned a bit when the game launch was shortened to 90 seconds. Not because we dont like efficiency, but because too much valuable information had to be left out. Here are the ways we feel like Dusts NPE must improve:

 1. Basic - Find the person who defaulted ptt ON and voice OFF and shoot them. Communication is necessary in Dust, and not making this aspect user friendly and default on is mind numbing. Add prox chat for allies so players without mics can communicate with their teammates instead of having to use their psychic abilities to figure out what their teammates want them to do. Please consider leaving new players in the Academy until they reach 2M skill points or 100,000 War Points.

2. Mandatory - The critical information in the Dust tutorial simply can't be skipped or cycled through. It is too important, provide selections that require user input for completion. Players should also understand that Instant Battles, Faction Warfare and PC provide different tiers of gameplay. It would also be nice if FW had even the slightest incentives [loyalty bonus, higher ISK payouts, bigger grouping, better salvage] to prevent it being simply 'instant battles with a different name.'

3. Participatory - While a PVE portion enhances this, the lack of one cant prevent a tutorial section where players go into a trainer and test nanite injectors, shooting, throwing AV, Flux and Locus grenades, movement, hacking, reloading crouching and going prone in a shooting range and against virtual targets. Lets also see driving, summoning vehicles, orbital strikes and squad orders added explained. Its essential that players have the ability to learn the most basic parts of the game in a test environment.

4. Optional - Familiarizing players with chat windows, the system operation options, why theyre in a default corp, how to send mail, add contacts and a breakdown of the augmentations.

5. Incentive - Rewards will always draw players. Use the 'carrot' method to draw them in with items for completing parts of the tutorial. Offer limited use items for completing each part of the tutorial. Perhaps even a small amount of bonus SP for full completion.

6. Detailed Explanations - Why is there no walkthrough of the Merc Quarters? How can a new player even begin without knowing how important SP is, how to complete and restock fittings, search the marketplace for info, compare gear or learn how the chat windows work? Not even an explanation of how to use voice chats or that SP selections are permanent and Respecs rare? This is facepalm worthy. Find the person who made this decision and headshot them with a scrambler pistol. Then fix it.

7. Lore - Dusts core shooter aspects may still be improving but New Edens depth, history and story far encompass anything in FPS. Shouldnt this be showcased? Why wouldn't character selection include all of the trailers in addition to the short racial histories contained in the Dust PS Home space? Explain to new players how the different races vary on the battlefield. Promote the deep backstory of EVE, dont hide it.

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