Today we will try to explain in detail how you will start playing DUST and what choices you can make further into the game.
Understanding the different choices you can make is very important, and if you ever wondered what the very beginning will look like, this is the right place to be. Thanks to Fanfest 2012 we got a whole bunch of new info on how the universe is going to work, how much freedom you'll have defining your own role, and some brand new, never before seen gameplay mechanics.
So how does one actually start playing DUST 514 after downloading the game?
First thing you'll do once you get into DUST 514 is create a new character. You pick which of the four races you want to be and customise your character's appearance. Then of course comes the important bit. You have to pick a name. As DUST 514 will not use the PSN namespace, but instead will use the EVE name space for all characters, you may need to pick a name different to your gametag.
And with that, you start your career. To start off with, you are supplied with a set of "Militia" level gear. This is the basic stuff, and doesn't do as well as the standard, advanced or prototype gear. However, it's yours, forever. And hey, it's even free. Now I'm sure you'll be eager to jump into combat. If that's the case, then you can open up your Battle Finder in the Neocom (hit L1) and just jump into a game. However, if you're smart, you might want to have a look at your fittings. In which case, you should open up the dropsuit fitting screen.
Hold on, what's this fitting business? Only one of the most important things, that's what! Now quiet you, I'm lecturing! In DUST 514, you can choose how you wish to fit your dropsuit. And I don't just mean guns and equipment. I also mean things such as enhanced shielding, damage mods, armour repairers. That's not to say there's also a large number of guns and other gear to choose to fit to your dropsuit. And to just throw the number of options up to a truly ridiculous number, there are different types of dropsuits. So if you want to kill the other guy more efficiently (because if the standard fittings are like the ones from Fanfest, they're not that great) this is important.
Your type of dropsuit will be a major factor in how you fight. If you want to be fast, then equip a recon dropsuit. However, don't expect to be able to wade through a chokepoint and survive without getting turned into a pincushion. However, this is the domain of the heavy dropsuit. Heaps of armour, heaps of shielding, but doesn't move as fast. If you're thinking the Heavy from TF2, that's exactly what he can be. You've also got your "standard" flexible Assault dropsuit and your logistics dropsuit, which is geared towards supporting team mates with lots of equipment. However, remember that just because a dropsuit has a particular role, doesn't mean it can't do something else. And that's where the fitting comes in.
Want to be quick, but also able to take a reasonable amount of damage? Take a recon suit and slap some shield extenders on it. Now you won't die the moment someone breathes in your general direction. What about if you want to be able to wade into the fire as a logistics, keeping your friendly heavy friend topped up? Grab a repair gun and a whole stack of shield extenders (or armour plates if that's your thing). Or maybe you want to keep up with the recons while stopping them from dying of a death of a thousand cuts. Slap on some speed mods and you'll be able to keep pace with them. In fact, why not both? You can make separate fittings for each and switch between them either on respawn or in the field at supply points. It's up to you to work out how you want your suit and it's modules to work for your play style.
In DUST you start in High Security space. These are regions of space that where districts on the planets are controlled by NPC (Non-Player Character) corporations and their parent empires. These NPC corporations provide contracts that you can accept, giving you a constant source of work and ISK. However, just because the contractor is an NPC, doesn't mean you're fighting bots. Instead, you will be playing against other players, contracted by a different NPC corporation.
So lets say you've had a few matches. You've won some and lost some, and you're starting to earn some ISK. However, while you've been playing, you've not just been earning ISK. In fact, you've been earning a second resource as well, one arguably more valuable: Skill points. These skill points are gained both passively over time, and by actively playing the game, and are placed into a pool that can be spent at any time. So what do they do?
They can be invested to give you skills to either improve your performance in certain areas (such as the amount of health you have or how accurate you are with a certain type of weapon) or unlock the ability to use new equipment or more advanced versions of already usable gear. Each individual skill has five levels, with each level taking more skill points to upgrade than the level before it. Some skills also require other skills to be at a certain level to train, creating a deep skill tree. How deep you ask? CCP has stated that it will take about 7 years to get all the skills available to their maximum level possible, so I don't think that this is something you'll be able to blitz through in a weekend. Don't let that put you off though; it won't take that long to get your skills up to a basic standard so that you can use the gear you need.
So now you've got some skills, it's time to take a look at your gear. I mean, sure it gets the job done. But it turns out, there's also better, as well as different types of gear. So our next stop is the market, where we can check out all sort of new and exciting gear you can outfit yourself with. Now with the basic gear, you have a BPO - a Blueprint, Original. These are basically the instructions that tell you how to build something. Most of the advanced gear available on the market is only available as a BPC - Blueprint, Copy. These have a limited amount of runs available before they expire and disappear.
So now you've got a growing list of skills, some cool gear and you're starting to really get into the game. Over time while you're doing contracts for NPC corporations (versus other players) you will meet new people. Many will be like you, lone wolves out to get some ISK and action. But others will be a part of player run corporations. You might strike up a friendship with some of these guys, and they might decide to invite you to join them. Or alternately, you might decide that you want to forge your own corporation to take out into space and use to conquer the stars. And stars are pretty big, so you're going to need some good team mates to take them.
Besides the normal benefits a clan might give you, corporations also give you the ability to accept contracts from EVE players to attack or defend districts. These are much more lucrative than NPC contracts, and give you a chance to make a permanent mark on New Eden. Of course if working for someone else isn't your style, then you can just load up the war barge and kick someone else out of a district and take it for your own corporation.
Wait a moment; back up a bit. What's all this business about districts? Districts are areas of industrial or strategic importance; basically, they're the good bits on the planet's surface that you want to control. Districts will provide resources for their owners, as well as support such as orbital artillery, planetary shields and more. Because of their importance, both financially and strategically, districts will be where the majority of combat will take place. I mean, who wants to fight over a patch of dirt?
So now you're part of a corporation, and you're fighting and forcing the redistribution of districts across lowsec. Another player contacts you. Apparently you've been making quite a name for yourself. And now they're offering you the change to join their alliance of corporations, move out to nullsec and fight over the most valuable districts available. Not only do you fight for districts any more, but for control of the entire planet and the entire system.
Null and low don't just bring more ISK and territory to the table though. They also open up new opportunities during battles, such as hotly anticipated orbital bombardment. Has your enemy got a serious strong point that you just can't break through? Call in some death from above to make it easier. And it might not just be bombardment; CCP has hinted that we might get other types of support from orbit such as scanners. However, if this makes you worried that you will be mercilessly slaughtered from orbit, don't be; you'll get plenty of guns on the ground to shoot back with. Plus you can always find or buy some friends to come attack them in EVE. Mercenaries work both ways after all.
But maybe investing long hours in Null or Low taking and defending territory isn't your style. But you don't want to be stuck with all the others playing games that ultimately have no permanent effect. Luckily for you, there's faction warfare, where you take and defend territory on behalf of one of the four main NPC empires. This gives you all the corporation combat and all the extra tools you get from lowsec, but without all the territory management you would normally go though. Factions also might have advanced versions of gear available only to those that fight for them, which you can either use yourself or resell for a tidy profit on the open market.
There are four major empires that you could fight for. On one side, you have the Amarr and the Caldari, and on the other you have the Minmatar and the Gallente. When you start Faction Warfare, chances are that you will have to pick one to fight with, just like in EVE. If it inherits a similar system from EVE, you'll also be able to fight with your allied faction but be warned; there may be some limitations. Make sure you choose wisely: once you commit to one faction, switching to an opposing faction is very hard, but not impossible.
Want to find out more? Check DUST 514 FAQ and our video suggestions over there!
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