So I’ve been playing Dust for a month now, and after my first impressions I thought it might be good to see how I felt after the honeymoon period was over. So here we are one month on, and still playing (and for the most part enjoying) Dust.
This is likely to run into a list of things I have found that I dislike, so I think it’s important that I emphasise that I am still enjoying the game. Very much. I believe I have managed to reach the Active SP cap on two out of the four weeks I have been playing, and I don’t see that letting up very soon. If only my Raptr would track my playtime so I could actually tell you how much I have played. Anyway:
First issue which has become apparent is that I have noticed is a lack of close fought matches. It seems to be about a 50:50 chance of either giving a complete rotfl-stomp or taking it. I have had a few matches where the tides of war have waned back and forth between the two sides, with heated fights deciding the winner at the last second. But that’s pretty rare. Most of the time its 4/5 points caped for one team while the other gets camped at the spawn. I suspect that this is due to the bumrush attitude of Pub matches, but seeing as DUST outside of PC are all pub matches, that kinda sucks. The only other answer I can find as too why is that the random team picker maybe ends up picking one team with far better gear than the other, certainly when losing I seem to see far more Duvole TAC rifles (but then I spend more time looking at kill cards during those matches). Whatever the reason, it’s really sucks. A good battle is one that’s fought hard for, and one which you feel you contributed towards.
I’m gona take a second to go back to the whole “Tiered investment” thing here. I know I harped on about it in my first post, but honestly it’s still a big issue with the game for me. I just feel like I either have to sit in the kiddie pool of Pub matches (and FW is still just another Pub match), or throw my lot in with a PC match corp, for which I really don’t have the time. I was lucky enough to take part in a CCP dev conversation on IRC in which FoxFour was discussing the topic. He hinted that FW was about to get a lot harder (and with more rewards to compensate). I don’t know what the plans are but they can’t come soon enough. Ideally we need something where a corp (or individual) can take risks in order to earn money, this is after all what the eve universe is all about.
I am enjoying the blend of earning both Passive and Active SP. It means that when I look at a suit, I can think, well using passive SP that’s going to take 5 days. But I can reduce that down to 3ish If I can gain a load of Active SP. My only worry is that the Active SP cap can kind of curb your enthusiasm. The one week were I hit the limit early, I stopped playing till the next Wednesday came around. Admittedly it was only two days later, and that was a busy week, so perhaps that was just coincidence.
That Segway’s nicely into the progressing in general, which is awesome. I love the feeling of unlocking a new suit and playing with what it can do. However I do wish that they had better visual differences between them. I’m not asking for completely unique models for every suit, but moving from a basic to a proto should give you some extra doodads or glowing bits on your suit. I am also a little bit worried that there is now no reason whatsoever to use the level 5 basic medium suits. If you have level 3 in the basic racial frame you can immediately start training the racial specialist frame, which not only has bonuses, but is also cheaper than the basics. You’d be silly to train level 5 Basic mediums suits rather than going directly for the level 3 proto specialist suit. (unless I missed something).
Currently there are only two things which cause me and distress when I die. The first is the “Death Taxi” or “Clown Car” mechanics, which means that I am constantly getting run over. Its fucking ridiculous to be honest. I am fed up of being either run over, or having to jog to the nearest cover to avoid some giggling idiot player padding his stats by running people over. Perhaps that’s unfair though, because running people over, while frustrating , is a fuck tonne (metric or imperial?) easier that using it as it was intended. I’ll admit that I rage inside every time this gets me (if you couldn’t have guessed).
The second thing is something which most team based FPS’s have an issue with too at least some extent, but which I feel Dust has dealt with rather badly: snipers. Nobody likes being sniped. Unlike most CQB combat, there is a lack of feeling that you had a fighting chance, or of being able to fight back. In most games its acceptably dealt with, through a plethora of methods: BF3 for example requires headshots for instant kills and scopes giving the snipers position away. Dust however has none of these, and most of the time the first that goes through your head when you know there is a sniper around, is his bullet. Worst of all, because when you die the HUD is instantly faded, greyed out and put at a funny angle, the damage direction indicator, more often than not, doesn’t tell you jack, meaning you have literally no idea in which direction to exact your revenge. This means that the feeling of inability to fight back is extended even further than normal, resulting in frustration.
Last but not least, are a couple of minor things which could be tweaked to polish the game that little bit more. Specifically the horrid radial menu and squad command system. As a squad leader, I want to be able to quickly and easily give commands to my squad, so that they can work and move together as a team. Instead I have to hold one button, press another, throw the mouse around the desk until it remembers what a Diagonal is, then snipe the objective I want to place the order on. Oh and even if I manage all of that, I will generally find that I can’t even give the order, because it seems to require directly line of site to the objective (which will be hidden until your onto of it anyway). I’m sorry, but that’s crap. On the subject of poor controls; why can’t I say I want an orbital strike here *points*, rather than opening up a menu which takes 20 seconds to load and manipulating it to tell the game where 20 foot in front of me is? And why pray tell does the score sheet take about 30 seconds to load and unload? Like I said, all minor niggles.
Ok so that last bit was a little bit of a rant for minor things… But the problem is that it’s hard not to get passionate about this game. As an extension of the eve universe its already very deep and interesting, but even forgetting the link to eve, it has an awful lot of potential to be a truly ground breaking game, which refreshes a genre. It just needs some more polish before we get there. I think I am starting to view Dust as a Juganaught, this thing as a lot of potential to be an amazing game, and if you look past the niggles and issues above, it is already quite good. But its going to take a long time for it to get up to its full speed. Once it does though, it’s going to be unstoppable.