So, I’ll be honest: I haven’t signed into my PS3 to play DUST 514 in a long time. I did do one of the 12 Days of DUST events, because it rewarded a permanent SKIN, and I’ve come on from time to time for a few matches, but haven’t played heavily in over a year. But DUST 514 hasn’t been out of my life. I’ve been part of a weekly podcast, of course, for the last 93 weeks. (We skipped two, hence Episode 91.) I’ve been part of active Skype channels about DUST and with other DUST players since months before that as well. The forums are often toxic, but they’re a part of my life as well. I’ve been away from DUST, but I have not been away from the DUST community. And as the shutdown nears, for as many questions as I have about the future of the game, I have more about the future of our community.
Our community is one of the most unique constructs in the gaming world. We’re a hybrid mix of console players coming from games like MAG and PC gamers coming from the MMO space, specifically DUST’s parent game, EVE: Online. As much as I want to pretend this whole community could easily just migrate to the next game, the reality is, our platform preferences and game interests vary so widely, I’d be hard-pressed to figure another game that would even sate the needs of a simple majority of our core community. I want to see many of us stick together. I still want to chat with the same people.
But I believe our forums may have a hard end date coming along with the end of the game. Unlike many other web forums, DUST 514’s forums are tied directly to our accounts in the game. Our accounts authenticate using the PlayStation network, a tie that CCP seems to be soon severing in May. Beyond that, it’s doubtful CCP wishes to continue exerting the amount of effort on moderating such a community, or even paying for the bandwidth to keep it running. A forum like Valkyrie’s new forum might have some potential, where accounts are not tied to an in-game entity, and the site features new auto-moderation capabilities. I’m hopeful CCP has considered our desire to stay as a community until we have a new game to share.
But perhaps we need to meet elsewhere. A DUST 514 Facebook group that I’m a part of currently has 1,415 members. Should interest exist, I suppose Biomassed itself could launch a forum community to provide refuge for those of us soon to be left behind, as CCP’s MCC finally departs. A player got in touch with me last week about a CCP game-focused social network, which perhaps we will talk about more soon. As a community, we may need to decide where we want to go, if we intend to stick together.
As a small note, I think we can say our player representation group, the Council of Planetary Management, will likely come to an end along with the current iteration of DUST 514. Their term will outlive the game, but without a game community left, it’s doubtful CCP would choose to hold an election for CPM3. I do feel CCP needs guidance and player involvement in the development of whatever comes next though, and I hope CCP will consider gathering a group of motivated, interested players to remain in the development loop long-term, perhaps combining former CPM with longstanding community members.
As for Biomassed, our podcast and our blog, we’ll be here long after the lights go out. I think there’s a lot of DUST’s story yet to tell. And while we wait to hear more about what CCP is working on, we’re going to be playing other games, watching movies and television, and nerding out. And we’re going to keep sharing that. We’re hoping to talk to the developers at CCP Shanghai again in the future, and we’ve truly enjoyed Saberwing WGA from the World of Tanks team coming to talk to us about where their product is headed. I think we have a long future of funny stories, good interviews, and extensive rolls of tin foil left to share. I hope you’ll stay with us.