[UPDATE: It looks like the update has gone live earlier than expected. If you've got DUST 514 beta access you can install Precursor right now!]
Big changes are on the horizon for DUST 514 beta testers.
According to a letter from Executive Producer Brandon Laurino, August 21 will see the release of the Precursor beta build. The new version of the beta will include some long-awaited and anticipated features of CCP’s free-to-play shooter which ties directly into their EVE Online MMO.
Such changes include:
EVE Online integration -
At last, the DUST 514 beta will make use of the shooter’s most exciting feature, connectivity with EVE Online‘s single-shard server. This means that players on the PS3 will be able to communicate with their counterparts on the PC and Mac using real time chat and the in-game mail system as the two games will exist simultaneously on the same server.
Technically, the beta will be integrated with the Singularity test server (known to die-hard EVE players as Sisi) and not the “official” Tranquility server where the real magic happens. Still, it’s an important first step towards integrating the two games into one, cohesive universe.
Orbital Strikes -
Easily the most exciting feature of the new update is the orbital strike support. Precursor will allow beta testers to call in air support from ever-present War Barges – massive airships that float above each multiplayer map. Strikes from the barges won’t be as powerful as the shots that real player in EVE Online will be able to make, but they should give players a taste of things to come.
Instant Battle Matchmaking -
Precursor will also grant players the ability to search for friends, form squads and immediately jump into a game using an instant battle matchmaking system. That means you will no longer need to select a match full of randomly varied allies and opponents. Instead, players and squads can be filtered according to skill to allow for more even-handed fights.
In addition to these major changes, the August 21 patch will bring with it multiple bug fixes, graphical tweaks, new maps based on EVE Online planetary statistics, mouse and keyboard support and even the release of the free Neocom companion app for the Playstation Vita.
While we still can’t say much else about DUST 514 at this point, CCP has promised that prospective beta applicants will have more chances to see the game for themselves very soon.
We here at SideQuesting will continue to report any new information about the fascinating product as it becomes available.