CCP has never been coy about the fact that DUST 514 is very much a work in progress; the term “open beta” is used to reflect the game’s status as a relatively polished sci-fi FPS without much besides basic gameplay in place. This lack of depth is due to be changed, with two fresh, substantial posts from CCP about the future of meaningful, EVE-linked features in DUST. The first is a dev blog by CCP Eterne which sketches CCP’s play for planetary sovereignty in DUST, which gives a date for the feature of “later this year”. The second is a FAQ-style follow-up on the DUST forums by CCP Nullarbor which answers some questions and adds clarification about the effects of the new feature(s) on DUST as a whole. Additionally, the Evelopedia article is a data dump of significant size.
- Planetary Sov in DUST will derive its basis the districts system, with a standard planet having between “5 and 24”. The implication is that a large or valuable planet could be split between numerous corps and alliances, or that a coalition could easily reward loyal member groups. The capturable planets and their systems will be accessible by a PS3-optimized starmap.
- The initial dispersal of districts will somehow be managed by the NPC corp Genolution Implants, though it’s not stated whether these districts will be purchased, conquered or merely taken. Each district will hold a base maximum of 300 clones, with 40 produced daily.
- The primary form of wealth produced by these districts will be “military-grade clones”. Each district will have the ability to produce and store clones, and these clones represent both the defensive capacity and value of the district. Each district will be able to hold an improvement which will increase clone production, storage amount and “clone travel efficiency”. The clones will be automatically generated over an owner-set hour-long timer each day, in a twist of the null-sov/POS timers found in EVE. The sort of map you fight on will be determined by what improvement you have (or haven’t) built.
- Should you fill your reserves by either moving clones over or by simple production, excess clones will be automatically sold to Genolution for a cool 100,000 ISK. When you run out of your entire stock of clones as a defender in battle, you lose the district. For corporation/sov battles, friendly fire will be turned on. Orbital bombardments will, of course, be possible. Unrelated corporations can join (if you allow them) by forming squads. They will receive loot in the same fashion as a regular battle now, but CCP plans to add a “contract marketplace” in the future to make DUST mercs actually mercs.
- Force projection in DUST will be limited: in order to arrive at battle, you need to have a clone reserve on a nearby district. Each jump away introduces significant attrition to the clones you’re bringing; the standard amount without the infrastructure improving travel efficiency is four jumps with only 20% of clones actually making it to the battle. The maximum with the infrastructure improvement is six jumps.
- The current “corporation contract” gameplay system is being removed and replaced completely with the new sov mechanics and a somewhat automated FW battle system. The FW system will create planets in warzone systems where plexing has occurred, and will be joinable by anyone interested. It will be possible to squad up and join these battles as a group (presumably under the direction of the squad leader).