Against all odds, the Dust 514 keynote did proceed, after some serious sounding technical difficulties (evidently, it had to do with sparks, fires, bosses shouting, and the hamsters powering the computers screaming in terror). After a 30 minute delay, the keynote went on without a hitch. Below is a quick recap of the presentation.
Changes Coming with the Uprising Build
With the new Uprising game build to be launched in a little over a week, the devs spent plenty of time strutting it about for the players and press. The full list of changes is evidently very long, but the major tweaks can be summed up in five categories: accessibility, skill progression, improved graphics, new dropsuits and vehicles, and planetary conquest.
Between the screenshots, gameplay footage, and the devs talking about it, the UI of Dust is in for a huge revamp come Uprising. In addition to new interfaces, many of the existing interfaces have been redone. The skill UI has been improved, the spawn screen has been tweaked so it’s more informative, the matchmaking interface has been reworked, and the list goes on. Further, the time from launching the game to actually playing the game has been reduced significantly.
Additionally, it was announced that the hated Universal Voice Transceiver (which allowed you to use voice chat outside of squads and teams) will be removed from the game. Cue applause.
As hinted at by devs and seen on this site, the skills in Dust 514 are in for a major overhaul. Unfortunately, the devs gave few details during the presentation, saying that more specifics were to come.
The skills UI has be redone so that it has a much clearer progression, quickly showing which skills are prerequisites for others. If you are fine with the current skill layout, it will still be available for you.
After settling for subpar graphics for a long time, the devs unveiled the new visuals explicitly for the first time. Below are some before and after screenshots.
New Dropsuits and Vehicles
While the trusty four dropsuit types have served well thus far, CCP is expanding the lineup. Come Uprising, the Gallente and Amarr will have new medium-sized suits, and the Minmatar will be getting a new light-sized one.
In terms of vehicles, a new dropship type is to be added. Dubbed the Assault Dropship, this variant will allow the pilot to control a gun in addition to having two side gunners. The drawback is that it can hold few extra passengers.
Lastly, existing dropsuits and vehicles will have new color schemes added. There was still no news on my neon pink Hello Kitty tank, however.
By far the biggest addition coming in Uprising, the new planetary conquest system was demoed by the devs acting out a scenario. It went as follows:
After a diplomatic mishap involving CCP Foxfour’s shoes being stolen, CCP Nullabor finds himself at war with his shoeless adversary. After being harassed by attacks perpetrated by sock-clad enemies, Nullabor decides to go on the offensive by taking one of Foxfour’s planetary districts. I felt myself tear up when I realized that post-spawn cloaking will be added come the 6th. Needless to say, Nullabor won the battle, and was quick to say he did so with no use of a dev's godlike powers.
Showing off many of the new additions that are to come with the Uprising build, the demo was a good ending to an informative presentation. I believe CCP’s goal of exciting players and the press was achieved.