Brandon Laurino, Executive Producer for DUST 514, gives a sneak preview of the improvements coming to the DUST 514 Closed Beta with their “Precursor” release on August 21st.
Linking the intense front-line combat of DUST 514 with the galactic ship warfare of EVE Online has always been thekeystone to building a vibrant community, and now that keystone is coming into place. The Precursor release moves DUST 514 from its standalone testing server over to the long-standing EVE Online test server, titled Singularity (aka “Sisi”). This means DUST 514 on PlayStation 3 and EVE Online on PC/Mac will be officially running on the same server. When the Precursor Closed Beta build goes live, players on the "Sisi" server in DUST 514 and EVE Online can chat in real time and send in-game mail between games.
The first framework for Orbital Strikes goes live in the Precursor build. These powerful, space-based attacks help link DUST 514 and EVE Online, letting squad leaders call in Orbital Strikes from the War Barge flying overhead when their squad achieves certain conditions in battle. It was promised that this is just the first level of Orbital Strike capability. In the near future, players on the ground in DUST 514 will be able to request strikes from ships piloted by EVE Online players. These strikes have the potential to do far more damage than the War Barge, their accuracy and power determined by factors like your DUST 514 Merc’s skills and what turrets the EVE Online pilots have trained and fit to their spaceships. But Mercs on the ground won’t be helpless. They promise to soon add the Orbital Artillery outpost on the ground, which they can use to attack EVE Online ships in space.
The Precursor update also implements several matchmaking features. Players will be able to find their friends, form squads and jump quickly into battles together using “Instant Battle.” In addition, the matchmaking system has been implemented to intelligently place solo players and squads into matches based on skill, creating a more inviting shooter experience, especially for new players.
Precursor brings the Galaxy system online, which assembles maps from components based on planetary attributes and what is built on the planet, for tons of potential combinations. Closed Beta users will be able to help us test out a substantial array of new environments to battle in utilizing this new system. With the Precursor release, you can use a USB keyboard and mouse to play DUST 514. They are also working to add controller-based filters into Instant Battle/Matchmaking for a following update.
Everything mentioned above is just a small subset of what they’re adding to DUST 514 next week. All of these features are just the latest improvements to an awesome massively-multiplayer first-person shooter that will be free to play for every PlayStation 3 owner. In addition, they’re launching a free companion app on the Vita, DUST 514: Neocom, to augment your gameplay experience and let you customize your fittings, train skills, use the market, browse the starmap, and much more, on the go anytime and anywhere.
If you’d like to sign up for a chance to test DUST 514, head over to the beta site.