There’s a horde a coming
One of the many things that CCP confirmed at Fanfest 2012 is that DUST 514 will include PvE. Now DUST 514 is an FPS game. How are they going to do PvE? Well it’s simple really. You unleash the horde.
For those of you that don’t know about horde or survival games, it’s where you or you and a group and other players have to survive against waves of AI controlled enemies. While the first few waves of enemies are easy to dispatch (if not cannon fodder) they get harder as you progress. Different games have different methods of doing this through either; introducing new, more powerful enemies; strengthening the standard mooks; or making the players weaker. Players keep playing until they either use up all their lives or they complete all waves (if the game even has a limited number of waves).
Now what does this have to do with DUST 514? Well one other thing that CCP mentioned at Fanfest was that your first opponents would be The Rogue Drones. Their story within New Eden is that they were an experiment in AI that went terribly wrong, escaped and has now spread to the point that they infest every corner of New Eden. They expand by taking any raw material and using it to build more of themselves.
“But hold on. DUST 514 is set on all sorts of planets within EVE and districts and all that other mumbo jumbo. How is this going to work with all that?” Well there are a number of options I can see that CCP could use, but here’s how I think it might work. When Rogue drones appear, they “infest” a district. While at first they do nothing, eventually they will begin expanding; first infesting sites within the district that are not nodes; moving onto nodes inflicting a penalty while they infest it; before finally infesting the District’s SI. If not dealt will, the infestation will eventually disappear. However, if they leave of their own accord they will leave behind the penalty on any nodes in the district that were infested for the next week or so.
Now that sounds pretty bad, but it’s not as bad as you think. It could be that there is only a chance that an infestation spreads. So it could branch out, attack a few non-node locations and then just disappear, leaving behind no penalties. On the other hand, they could hit every single node in the district, leaving you with penalties to everything for the next week if you don’t do anything about it. This means you have to choose wisely, whether you want to pay to remove an infestation that might not do any damage anyway, or get caught out when you find that you’re now only receiving a fraction of the resources you were before and now need to spend large amounts of ISK to remove the Rogue Drones.
Now how do you combat them? Drop in some DUST 514 marines and let them get to work. For every wave they survive, the local and district infestation levels decrease. Complete enough waves across any number of matches and the infestation is removed from that node. Complete enough waves across the entire district and the infestation starts withdrawing. In addition, if they complete all the waves on any particular location, the location immediately loses its infestation and gives a larger drop to the district infestation level.
“So what’s in it for me then?” Well first off, there’s ISK to be made. Recently CCP changed it so that all Rogue Drones in EVE Online have bounties on them. The same could easily be extended to DUST 514 with an ISK reward for completing each wave from CONCORD. Additionally, the owner of a district could set up a contract that provides additional ISK per wave completed, with a bonus payment if you finish all the waves.
And that’s just the ISK you could earn. There’s also the potential for some interesting loot that you could salvage from the battlefield that you could use to build some specialist items. These could vary from upgraded weapons to infrastructure upgrades for nodes.
Now most of what I’ve just written above is intended for lowsec and nullsec; territory that players can own. For Highsec (and possibly FW), I would think they would just be random infestations along the same lines, but without the infestation levels. High sec would also pay out less in bounties than low and null.
So in short it’s a survival mode where survival actually means something for a change. You’re not just fighting for points. If you were to not remove the infestation in time, you might open up an opportunity of an opposing group of players to take the district, and possibly the planet with much less difficulty. But that’s not all CCP could bring to the Horde gamemode.
In most survival gamemodes, it’s you and three other guys at most. Now it’s fun, working together with some friends. And you have to work together, otherwise you’ll get overrun, and quickly. However, what about if you could have more people? Imagine having 12 or 16 people all working together to take on some truly terrifying hordes. Now that would be cool, and would allow for some really interesting gameplay.
Adding the capacity for additional players doesn’t just open up gameplay opportunities. It also enhances the importance of organised team work. I reckon that this could even lead to the establishment of “Exterminator” corporations, going around offering their specialised services against drone infestations. Those that are successful will gather a reputation and will be able to charge more ISK for their services.
So what do you think? Do you have some amazing ideas for PvE in DUST 514? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
UPDATE: Someone asked for a graph. So i thought I would make it functional as well.
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