Hans Jagerblitzen’s latest CPM activity report is critical of the Eve-Dust link:
[…] CCP clearly communicated at the summit that the focus right now is making quality, standalone games that compete on their own merits. The resources for Dust514 will continue to be focused on improving the core game for the duration of the road map, and the feature teams working on EVE Online have a full workload this winter of their own.
This leaves Team True Grit with a backlog of amazing ideas for ways to integrate the two games, that mostly require EVE feature teams to be allocated onto those projects in support – allocation that is looking highly unlikely for winter.
This matches Jester’s take from the CSM Summit:
It’s not that the plans for the link are bad. It’s just that many members of the CSM and CPM are concerned that they’re not bold enough.
The allocation of developer time will always be a struggle, especially for a game like Dust which needs so much work done to it to even become marginally atractive to customers, unlike Eve, which has the luxury of a stable or increasing player base (and more importantly, a stable or increasing profit base).
However, like the Low-Hanging Fruit initiative that spurred on development of the Crucible expansion, Dust could benefit from some easy wins to add viability to the Eve-Dust link while taking little developer time.
I’m not going to give you a list of specific things that should be done, but I will introduce an important concept that has not yet been addressed so far in the devposts I have seen; the concept of agency.
What’s missing from the Eve-Dust connection is agency. There is no way to act independently to affect the other game.
- Orbital bombardment can only be initiated by Dust players; the only choice an Eve player has is whether to bombard or not. Heck, they can’t even go on a roam and see which districts have active battles without access to dotlan.
- Dust players don’t get to choose which faction warfare system to contest, and the results of the battle only affects Eve players. Until recently, they couldn’t even choose their side.
- There is no other link (save shared mail and notification)
So, when Fozzie et al look at things to work on, I strongly suggest they choose features that allow an Eve player to independently affect Dust players and vice versa. The Eve-Dust link needs a lot more deliberate choices to be made available to players, or the games will forever be only bound together by helplessness.
Update: CCP Nullarbor responded on the dust forum.