Published on January 17th, 2013 | by Adam Lee
A New EVE in MMO Gaming?
Sci-Fi 4x games (Explore, Expand, Exploit, Exterminate) have always been one of life’s great pleasures. There’s just something about transcending the boundaries of our damp, grey climate and heading for the stars that helps me picture the actions of my minions much more clearly than ordering tanks around terra firma.
In my mind’s eye I see closely fought gun battles down on the planets when I send my boys in to invade, ships jumping from unknown worlds to remote space outposts wheeling and dealing as they go. I see attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion and C-Beams glitter in the dark… uhh, that’s a movie but you get my point.
I’ve always wanted a game that allowed me to realise these flights of imagination, to traverse the mystery of space and set foot on alien worlds in one coherent experience. While a few have tried, none have really delivered definitively on their bold promises. My most recent foray into this world was the Star Trek MMO which made a good fist of space combat, but fell down pretty heavily on the ground sections. However something new this way comes.
EVE Online, the worlds largest and most involved space MMO, allows you to share a galaxy with over three hundred thousand other pilots running around, trading, building space stations and engaging in intergalactic piracy. Sure it partially matches my sci-fi fantasy (no not the blue woman with three… the gaming one!) but now they’re trying to fill the void in my ground based urges. DUST 514 is the most recent addition to the EVE universe, and instead of flying through the sky in gleaming ships of gold you get to strap yourself into a golden drop suit instead.
Bands of mercenaries face off in typical man-shoot fashion, utilising an array of hi-tech weaponry. Soldiers are orchestrated from a giant mobile command centre in a manner not unlike Natural Selection 2, keeping resources flowing to keep turrets and the like powered and shooting. The most interesting part; as of January 10th the DUST and EVE servers have been merged. DUST players can now actually take a planet for their orbiting space overlords above, and if so inclined, can designate targets to unleash terrifying orbital space lasers upon their foes.
Open beta begins January 22nd, and I admit to being very excited to see how this all unfolds, but there’s still one thing that confuses me. DUST 514 is a PlayStation 3 exclusive, and while I can understand broadening your audience, EVE is most definitely a PC game for PC gamers. I’m concerned it won’t it generate the interest it deserves – being shot by a sniper makes you angry, but being blown up by a giant space ship in another game you have no idea about, on a different system that you can’t interact with, is going to be significantly more frustrating. Regardless, the technology could hopefully pave the way for a whole new brand of interconnected multiplayer games. Here’s hoping that my Sci-Fi dream will one day be realised, and without me having to invest in multiple platforms to do so.