Our First Tastes of Planetary Conquest

Posted: March 15, 2013 in Dust Related

Good morning, (Sub)Dredditors and (Sub)Dredditor friends!

A hint at a release of monumental proportions was given to us yesterday in the from of a Dust 514 dev blog. The information contained within said blog was enough to ignite an excitement in me for the game that I had not felt in quite some time. It was even enough to get me to log in for the first time in almost two weeks, and most of that time was spent chatting it up with my corp mates about the impending changes we’re going to see come the next build.

I won’t go into too much detail on the nuts and bolts of how planetary conquest will work, because I’m sure you’ve already sunk your teeth into that dev blog (and if you haven’t, you really should), but instead I’d like to touch on the implications and this will have, and perhaps speculate on how the meta game may evolve.

The basic gist of it is, for the first iteration of planetary conquest mode, they’ll be turning one of the low sec regions into a giant game of Risk. If I had to guess which region this would be, I would say have a look at either Placid, or Aridia (coincidentally, my first home in EVE Online was in the Maalna system in this region). I imagine it will have to be one of these two regions for a few reasons. It could be Placid, because a lot of the whole “Uprising” event has happened in and around that region (two battles in Placid, at least). It’s got a few faction warfare systems, but most of them are just plain lowsec. We also know that there will be 250 districts upon first launch of this game mode and if we discard the temperate planets held by the faction warfare systems, Placid offers us 33 conquerable planets. With between 5 to 24 districts per planet, 250 divided by 33 gives us 7.5 on average, which sounds about right to me.

Aridia is more of a long shot, I think. The reason that I include it is because it is the only region that is completely low sec, and if you look at the other regions with low sec systems, splitting those systems between faction warfare and nonfaction warfare doesn’t leave us a whole lot of planets to fight over. Aridia has no faction warfare systems, so it’s a little more isolated. It’s also got 75 planets, which is more than enough to accommodate the 250 districts… actually, it has too many. If each planet had only 5 districts, we’d be looking at 375 districts…so.. scratch Aridia (OK, yes I’m doing this on the fly, but give me a break, the dev blog was only posted yesterday).

So all you would be commanders of grand armies, I’d suggest you get yourself familiar with the Placid map, as it seems to me that’s probably the region we’ll begin our territorial claims.

I’m very pleased with the details of how planetary conquest is going to work. It does not have everything I had hoped for (*sigh* I pine  for persistent districts we can run around in to get a feel for the terrain), but it is a solid step in the right direction. If the first iteration of planetary conquest turns out like what was written in the dev blog, I think CCP is doing a great job at taking baby steps in introducing Dust into the world of New Eden. By making the conquest of planets into a sort of real time simulated board game, they’re going to give Dust mercs a real sense of presence in New Eden, while at the same time not over-zealously exposing EVE to the possible instabilities of a brand new market.

This will be a really good test run for one of the most important aspects of the game. FPS players love talking a big game on the forums about things like KDR and warpoints, but now we will finally have something to truly boast over! The merits of a corporation / alliance will be there for all to see in the territory that they control. For those non-EVE pilots here who are unfamiliar with null sovereignty, may I please lead you to this map, which shows who owns what. As you can see, it’s not difficult to tell who the major powers are. I eagerly await the day when we have something similar for Dust.

More exciting, is the fact that this new type of game will be available in the next build! That means the true meta of Dust 514 will begin soon, and I shudder with anticipation. There hasn’t been too much mention of a release date, and I had thought there was mention of something happening sometime in March (though, I could have sworn I heard the same thing for February). I’m pretty sure they said builds would come every 3 to 6 months, and since we’re in month 4 now, that still leaves us with possibly two more to go. With FanFest fast approaching, my assumption is they’re waiting on that to make their big reveal. This makes sense as the 10th anniversary is a pretty big deal, so I’m sure they’d like to make some pretty big announcements there. Chances are, we’ll probably see these changes come to our PS3s around the same time as the EVE summer expansion comes out. It probably makes sense from some kind of marketing angle to release them at the same time.

In any event, it won’t be long, my fellow Dust Bunnies, before this game gets a lot more interesting. Now that planets and resources are starting to become involved, there’s no limit to the types of drama, deception and intrigue we’ll be able to experience. Truly emergent gameplay is on it’s way ladies and gentlemen; I hope you’re as excited as I am.

Until next time,

Happy hunting, everyone!

– JRD

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