Dust 514
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 5 February 2013, 5:32 am
I'm not really playing console shooters, as I much prefer aiming with a mouse than with a gamepad. But when reading MMO blogs you can't help but read a lot of commentary on the upcoming Dust 514, due to its connection with EVE Online. Spinks wrote: "CCP is working hard on getting Dust 514 ready for release. The game, which will be F2P for PS3 only, is in beta at the moment. MMO Melting Pot sums up some bloggers’ thoughts on the beta and none of the people they quote actually like the game or seemed inclined to want to play it on release. That could be really bad news for CCP, these are people who were already invested in the genre and probably also play EVE and have Playstations: ie. their target audience." And I couldn't help but wonder if that is REALLY the target audience.

I tried EVE several times, and while there is obviously some shooting going on, I wouldn't call EVE a shooter game. Dust 514 will obviously be very different, with a lot less spreadsheets and a lot more shooting. And as several people repeatedly explained to me that the point of EVE PvP is to create an unbalanced situation, I can only assume that combat in Dust 514 will be significantly more balanced than in EVE. In short, not only do the two games play very differently, they also attract people with very different motivations.

Now Stabbed already remarked that the EVE economy and the Dust 514 economy are very much separate and not likely to intersect much anytime soon. So I am beginning to suspect that the EVE-Dust 514 link is more of a marketing gimmick than a real feature. Beta reviews are decidedly painting a picture of Dust 514 being just a mediocre shooter compared to what else is available on the PS3. Which wouldn't be surprising, given that CCP never made a console shooter before, and isn't exactly famous for great character animation in EVE. It looks to me as if CCP wanted to make a console shooter thinking that is where the money is, and just used their existing game as leverage to promote the new game, without really wanting to integrate the two games all that much.

So what if Dust 514 is just a mediocre console shooter, and the EVE Online link is just means to get the word out and to get journalists to write about the game? I've seen several previews on major gaming sites where the EVE link was practically all they ever talked about, and gameplay was barely mentioned. That marketing strategy certainly works for now, but risks seriously backfiring once the game is released. I don't know if you still read print magazines on PC games, but I've noticed for years a trend where two thirds of a magazine are taken up by hyped previews, and the last third is taken up by disappointed reviews. On release, professional game reviewers actually play the game and start criticizing actual gameplay, and comparing with whatever else is around.

Personally I wouldn't be surprised if Dust 514 ended up with a Metacritic critics score of just around 70. Anybody else want to estimate how the game ends up being received on release?
Tobold's Blog

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