Uprising 1.5 is the newest update for the PlayStation 3′s free-to-play shooter DUST 514. This latest version focuses on recreating the “New Player Experience,” something which the game’s PC counterpart, EVE Online, has undergone a few times itself. We had a chance to ask Atli Már Sveinsson, the creative director on DUST 514, about these changes as well as other alterations to the core gameplay.
What was the driving focus behind Uprising 1.5? What did you feel absolutely needed to be addressed, and how did you handle it?
Sveinsson: “The largest focus of 1.5 is on accessibility for new players with the improved NPE as well as the introduction of the new squad finder which makes it much simpler to locate and group up with likeminded individuals. We also introduced more management tools for corporations, allowing directors to grant roles to members giving them access to different corporation functions.”
With update 1.5 focusing so much on the new user experience, what would you say was the biggest complaint you got from new users? How have you addressed that, or plan on addressing it in the future?
Sveinsson: The biggest complaint has been how hard it was to get familiar with the games progression and the dropsuit and vehicle fitting. The new NPE system takes important steps towards ensuring that these systems are easier to understand.
EVE Online is often criticized for its user interface. Uprising 1.5 seems to be addressing UI problems in Dust. What sort of lessons, if any, have been learned from EVE and incorporated into Dust?
Sveinsson: ”The hard lesson about accessibility really comes from DUST, as the console format puts more constraints on the amount of information you can display. In many ways this lesson is something that is good to take back to EVE and think of ways to present relevant information and actions without disrupting the immersion too much. So you might say that the lessons work both ways.”
Besides the new player content, it seems like Uprising 1.5 has made it easier to earn points for non-lethal actions (e.g. intel and transport assists). How does this impact the “role-based” nature of squads in Dust?
Sveinsson: ”These new war point additions ensure that roles such as the dropship pilot are as relevant as others on the battlefield. I would expect more players transitioning towards these support roles, bringing positive impact on the overall composition and coordination of squads.”
Is there any worry about existing players feeling left out when you release an update targeted at new players?
Sveinsson: ”As we are now releasing updates on a monthly cadence, the idea is more to release new features and content as soon as it is ready. As such you might have monthly releases that happen to have more new player content while others might have something for more experienced players. Ultimately it should balance itself out.”
What’s the number one feature from Uprising 1.5 that you think people who might have played Dust 514 in the past, but stopped, should know about?
Sveinsson: ”The squad finder is definitely a feature that adds a lot of value to all players, new and old.”
Uprising 1.5 is available as a free update to Dust 514. A full list of patch notes can be found here.