Project Nova Ongoing Updates

In our ongoing attempt to bring you the most up to date information on CCP’s Project Nova, we will be bringing continual updates on any information found in the Discord server, DUST 514 forums, and other information outlets. If new information surfaces, we will compile it into a blog post for that week and discuss it on our weekly podcast. We will also try to provide commentary and analysis of the information to help provide some context. Please note that any analysis is purely the commentary of Biomassed staff and should not be taken as a confirmed fact. Additionally we will keep a running compilation of all of the information currently available so if you’re just coming back to the community, you will have a one stop shop for all of the available information.

In this week’s update we will be covering all of the information that has surfaced in the past few weeks, so some of the information may be slightly older.

April 26th 2017
DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel

CCP Rattati
“What are your favorite NPC corporations and why? We are exploring a new way to approach player classes. less focus on empires, and more on the fact that these are humans and humans interact with corporations more than empires. We are also not interested in making ‘4 of each’ anymore.

So you could start by playing the “heavy support” or Sentinel. That Sentinel, much like and AK-47 is made by a company. The company inherits some flavor from its native empire. So the Sentinel is made by Kaalakiota lets say; the Vanguard is made by CONCORD. But, much like the M16 has factory settings, the Navy Seals have a custom M16 which could then be the Carthum M16. Same chassis, different decals and skin and “flavored” stats — Better damage, less clip”

Pokey Dravon
“So basically you’re focusing more on a manufacturer design principles. For example a Boundless gun will have similar features to other Boundless guns. It is of course still Minmatar and comes with that flavor, but the corporation is really what dictates the style of weapon.”

CCP Rattati
“Yes Pokey”

Pokey Dravon
“In a way it’s a bit like Borderlands”

CCP Rattati
“Borderlands too”

While in DUST weapons and dropsuits were typically themed directly after the nation they originate from with the corporation name mostly being there for flavor text. The direction they seem to moving is to make the corporation far more important in the design of the gear and provide more consistency to make weapons and dropsuits more predictable in their theme. For example there may be a combat rifle, the Boundless Combat Rifle would be the full auto version, and the Core Combat Rifle would be the burst fire version. In the same example, the Boundless Heavy Machine gun would be the full auto version, and the Core Heavy Machine Gun would be the burst fire version.

As I pointed out in the chat to Rattati, this reminds me much of the weapon system in Borderlands 2 which follows a similar structure. I personally really enjoy this system because it allows players to easily recognize and understand what to expect from a weapon simply by seeing the name. This level of consistency not only helps with NPE but is also much cleaner and more professional design. 

One interesting point is the comment that “We are also not interested in making ‘4 of each’ anymore.” I imagine this means that not every corporation will have a shotgun, sniper rifle, ect. Again this is similar to Borderlands 2 where certain types of weapons are not made by certain companies because they fall outside the general theme of the manufacturer. For example Gallente Corporations may simply not make Sniper Rifles as their longer range nature falls outside the close range style of Gallente weapons. This will likely be a point of contention for many players, but personally I never really expected 4 of each even in DUST, so I think it’s a reasonable design choice. 

CCP Rattati
“To get specific weapons, you may need standings with corporations.”

It seems to me that there will be some form of a standing system where players need to run missions for various corporations to unlock access to their wares. This could be in the form of a standings, LP, or other metrics. This could actually serve to help build a player market where players with high standing with a particular corporation could sell specialty weapons to players that may not have enough standing. I do hope that the process of unlocking and accessing theses weapons is not too grindy.

CCP Rattati
“Thanks guys, we are trying to improve on the EVE method of Navy Issue stuff being just a skin and stats or Special Issue.”

 

DUST 514 Official Forums – Link

CCP Rattati
Our ambition is not to do a fixed class lobby shooter. It is also to learn from EVE and Dust 514, a thinking man’s shooter that is easy to understand, difficult to master.

Many concepts from Dust are alive in development, and many others have been cut.”
A good mindset to have. The approachability of games is what will attract new players, the difficulty to master is what will retain them. I also agree that Dust has some very good ideas, but also some very bad ones. Keeping what’s good and replacing what was bad is the best way to advance.

 

May 8th 2017
DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel

CCP Rattati

 

 

 

 

 

This appears to be a Gallente Heavy frame with possibly some slight differences in the model. It’s possible that we may see slighty differences in the models based off of what type of dropsuit it is, such as a Sentinel having a slightly different model from the Vanguard. Rattati posted this image without comment so it is difficult to tell if it is meant to be a dropsuit SKIN or special effect, but Thaddeus Reynolds pointed out that it has some similarities to a concept I made a few weeks ago as a DUST Veteran Reward dropsuit SKIN. 

 

 

 

 

 

May 10th 2017
DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel

CCP Rattati
“Sniper Rifles are meant to be more of a marksman support weapon or fire and move. No quick-scoping, no prone. Think CG GO AWP.”
This probably makes sense given the scale of the maps we will probably see. Long range weapons will of course have their place in cargo holds, ship exteriors, ect. But it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing the large open maps that DUST was built around. As such having a more DMR style sniper rifle will probably work best in the more urban-style maps we’ll be seeing. I’m not much of a sniper though so I can’t comment on the enjoyment of that style.

CCP Rattati
“We are always honing our meta/module/dropsuit progression. Current focus is Civilian, T1, T2, Faction but not copying EVEs system. Honing.”
This is fairly vague but more or less as expected. It does indeed sound similar to EVE’s system but likely streamlined or trimmed down to fit the context of Nova. The implication I’m getting is that this is effectively the replacement for the MLT/STD/ADV/PRO system that DUST used, and while that isn’t a massive change in how things were set up, it will at least be a little more consistent with EVE. Other than that it’s difficult to say much as the statement is fairly broad.

CCP Rattati
“We are considering the following: Dropsuit Progression from Civ to T3 as an upgrade process, not individual dropsuits”
My assumption here is that when he says T3, he means the Faction gear mentioned before. As for it being an upgrade instead of separate dropsuit, this is likely along the same mindset as the “power core” idea that was presented for DUST some time ago. For those not familiar, the ideas is that you have base dropsuit that is then fit with a core that increases its fitting capacity and may modify other aspects such as bonuses or slots. Originally the idea was to cut down on the number of items in the game to help with DUST’s performance issues, but I think the idea here is to pick your specialty of suit and then build off of that, rather than replace it. It’s a concept that wasn’t terribly unfamiliar to what was initially talked about in Project Legion.

All in all it sounds like it’s more or less the same as replacing suits before…though in this case you’re simply replacing the power core or whatever upgrade element they decide on. I’m fairly neutral on this but if it makes the system easier to understand for players, I’ll fully support it.

CCP Rattati
“Combining PG/CPU to a single power unit”
So this is going to be a hot topic for a lot of people. My initial reaction was “WHAT?! You can’t do that! It’ll make fitting boring!”. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there could be some benefits to both.

Single Resource Fitting
Pros

  • Easier to understand for new players
  • Easier to balance similar modules such as shield extenders and armor plates (No need to worry about ratios of PG/CPU – just the same cost for both)
  • Less difficulty trying to balance dropsuit resource ratios between one another.

Cons

  • Potential issues with dual-tanked or unintended fits (May have to use strong suit bonuses to encourage/discourage certain types of fits)
  • Less complexity for veteran players who enjoy tweaking fits to make them optimal
  • Potentially less variety of fits due to simplified fitting requirements.

Dual Resource Fitting
Pros

  • Two resources allows developers to tweak what kinds of modules work well or poorly with each other at the module level
  • Much more fun in terms of theory crafting and tweaking fits for experienced users
  • Wide variety of fits because it is difficult to nail down exactly what is optimal due to multiple resource limitations

Cons

  • More complicated for new users
  • Can be difficult to fairly balance modules against one another due to unequal ratios of PG vs CPU
  • Can be difficult fairly balance suits against one another, especially once equipment and weapons are taken into account

In short, the single resource is easier to understand and balance, whereas the dual resource is more interesting and can yield many fitting results. Thinking more on it, the game MAG had a fitting system that used a single resource and it worked out fairly well. A lot of the interest came from the wide variety of weapons, attachments, equipment, and armor types the player had to choose from. In many cases it was a matter of trading a foregrip on my gun for a little more armor plating, or not bringing a grenade in exchange for a better pistol. 

I really enjoyed theory crafting in DUST, especially when it came to fitting, and as such I would be sad to see some of that complexity go. However, I think there is also a lot to gain from going with a single resource system.

We also have no idea if the slot system will be identical to DUST. For example, simply high and low slots may not be granular enough to promote proper balance. Instead you may have multiple categories such as “Shield Slots” “Armor Slots” “Offensive Slots” “Mobility Slots” ect that would encourage a theme of fitting. To provide a degree of flexibility, some slots could have multiple options such as a Minmatar suit having a slot that can fit either Shield or Offensive modules.

Another option would be to offer strong bonuses to certain types of tanking depending on the suit, to encourage certain tanking styles. For example, and Amarr Assault would get a large bonus to armor plates to encourage them to fit plates. However because they receive no bonus to shield modules, it makes more sens to use utility modules in those high slots. Both of these options would help the circumvent some of the issues associated with a single fitting resource while still maintaining the diversity and balance of fitting.

CCP Rattati
“Capacitor like mechanics to replace bandwidth (Basically ‘mana’)”
Anyone familiar with EVE knows how a capacitor works. It acts as a pool of energy various elements of your ship can consume in order to active their effect. A capacitor has a max capacity and a recharge rate that can be modified with modules. This is an element that DUST severely needed and is an excellent addition to Nova. Note that the implication I got is that capacitor is not a resource used for fitting, instead it is used to activate equipment/abilities. For example a Support may use a repair tool on an ally which will slowly consume the Support’s capacitor and cease to function if the capacitor runs out. Once the Support stops repairing, the capacitor will begin recharging. This same principle could be tied to a number of things such as shield boosters, jump jets, ect.

CCP Rattati
“Risk/Reward in the form of power consumables per battle”
This is fairly vague but it seems like they plan to give players the ability to equip significant buffs to themselves that will only last for the duration of the fight and will be lost at the end of the battle (Dropsuit Rigs perhaps?). If this buff is not consumed per death but instead per battle, it would increase the incentive to win at all costs instead of trying to avoid death to avoid cost. It’s an interesting idea and I’m curious to find out more details.

CCP Rattati
“Risk/Reward in the form of contract insurance (easy missions refund ISK losses fully, and so on), corporation battles have no insurance”
This is very interesting. The implication is that the lowest form of pub matches will effectively refund you all losses you incur from the battle. I imagine this means any ISK lost from dying and losing your dropsuit, which effectively means that everyone is in a BPO. It stands to reason that higher level matches would receive less and less insurance payout, but also yield a larger potential battle reward. This did seem very strange to me at first, but going off the idea that they are trying to make players less loss-adverse, it actually makes sense in meeting that goal. It’s a concept that is actually pretty common in EVE where player corporations offer Ship Replacement Programs, where they will replace assets lost by the player if they loose it in defense of the corporation. The primary purpose of this is to encourage players to actually show up to fight, because they know that it wont cost them any money if they happen to get blown up.

This would effectively make low level battles be pure ISK farms with zero loss and small profit. Corporation Battles (which are the equivalent to Planetary Conquest) would be high risk (no insurance) and large potential profit. Again we see a shift away from players worrying about individual deaths and more concerned about winning the battle the net the max revenue. Obviously higher level game modes require more care in staying alive, but lower level battles should encourage players to take a more aggressive approach to combat.

What is unclear about insurance is if it covers the consumables, but I’m going to speculate that it does not.

CCP Rattati
“Weapon progression within each weapon, with attachments. Some scopes can be used on any weapon.”
So it’s safe to say this is confirmation of weapon fitting to some degree. Likely there will be a similar progression for weapons and attachments as there are for dropsuits, and some attachments may be interchangeable with other weapons. Very glad to hear that this is confirmed, and would love to see more details on what they have planned.

CCP Rattati
“Basically the intent is to draw from EVE as much as possible, while fixing the things wrong with DUST. One of those was risk aversion, and mechanics that punish normal FPS behavior too much in the beginning.”
I really like this mindset from a design perspective. I think in many cases the goal is valid and the means to achieve that goal are good ideas, but they can sharply deviate from what we may be used to in DUST or EVE. When I initially read a lot of these ideas, my knee-jerk reaction was quite negative, but after thinking it through I think there is a lot of good ideas that deserve at least an open mind. Trying to change the risk aversion of the players while maintaining some semblance of a risk/reward structure is going to be difficult, and I’ll need to see more details to really form a solid opinion, but overall I think they have their head in the right place.

CCP Rattati
“Faction means ‘faction flavor’. Whether Marine, Pirate, specific empire corps, Bravo Company, ect.”

 

 

 

About Pokey Dravon 53 Articles
Pokey Dravon has played DUST 514 since early closed beta and is a founding co-host of the Biomassed podcast and blog. Follow on twitter @PokeyDravon
  • Kenan Hoffpauir

    Dust was the only game I have ever played fanatically. The only game where I set alarms for Planetary Conquest battles, and woke up at 2am to grab a forge gun and go to work. When my corp fell into disarray, I became a harasser, targeting bigger corps during their busiest defenses, in order to fracture their squad forces.

    I made tons of friends and tons of enemies. The Contra Ban Joe jokes, the community coming together for Quickgloves, the bugs (planking bug, invisible tank), the politics, the metagaming, and coming up with some of the dumbest tactics you’ve ever witnessed, so much to love. Dust was a great game.

    Looking forward to the day where Remington Beaver (possibly my dumbest and most favorite in-game name I’ve ever had) can get boots on the ground, and continue to be the bane of pilots everywhere.

    • Dr IvoRobotnik

      Same here dude. There hasn’t been a game like Dust that I played and loved as much. I hope there will be a day too for Ryan Whooves (I was into Dr Who, and My Little Pony at the time xD ) to lock onto HAVs, LAVs and Dropships with my trusty Swarm Launcher & Flaylock again. The only weapon I almost maxed out in the game. Even if it doesn’t happen again, heres hoping for Project Nova. 🙂 Cheers