Project Nova – What We Know So Far

This is a complete compilation of all information recently released by CCP regarding Project Nova. It will be continually updated as new information is released.

This post has all current data up through May 20th.


General Game Design

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.”

Analysis

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 19th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
CCP Rattati

We are not copying a single system from DUST to Nova. We are trying to translate the soul.

Draxus
What do you think DUST did best?

CCP Rattati
Well, that’s what the pillars are supposed to represent. Universal equipment means it’s not a traditional class shooter. There is freedom to mix and match. The freedom to be sub-optimal because you choose to. Min-Maxing. Great loot, DUST had officer weapons and Nova will have some elements of that. We are trying to adapt the vehicle system of active and cooldowns into the whole FPS which I think was super cool in DUST.

Analysis

I can already hear DUST Fiend screeching at the vehicle comment. For me, the fitting and micromanagement of modules when I used to pilot HAVs (back before the shift to all passive reps) was actually my favorite part of the game so I’m really looking forward to that. Hopefully, the fitting will be just as deep.

May 20th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
Pokey Dravon

In general it seems like the focus is moving away from “get tons of skills” and more towards “unlock lots of options” and the meta is build more around a wider set of fitting options.

CCP Rattati
Skills are contextual. There is no skill tree and no skill books. If you unlock a rep tool, it may mean that you yes, bought a skillbook and trained it.

Analysis

A couple parts here. For one the steps of buying the book, then training it, then buying the item the skill was for in the first place, was completely uneccesary. Reaching the prerequisites and then buying/upgrading to the item you want is sufficient without the additional steps.

As for a lack of a skill tree, this comes with several implications. For one, it means all skills and bonuses are going to be baked directly into the class progression. It also means that things that normally provide “core” skills such as +5% Armor HP/Level are non existent, at least not in a universal sense that affects all dropsuits. And skills you earn will be applied specifically to that class and no other. I need to think more about how I feel about that shift in skill training.

Game Mechanics

May 10th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
CCP Rattati
Risk/Reward in the form of power consumables per battle

Analysis

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

Analysis

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.

[collapse]

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.

Analysis

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.

May 18th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
Ripley Riley

Are things like dropsuits, weapons. and modules consumed?

CCP Rattati
No. Only consumable things. Risk/Reward I have explained before. The ISK loss mechanic. I do not want people to hide from losses. Only to reap more from killing high powered enemies and winning missions.

Ripley Riley
If you don’t purchase equipment with ISK, because you don’t lose equipment, what do you do with ISK?

CCP Rattati
You upgrade with ISK. Everything is a blueprint except consumables.

Analysis

We’ve touched on this before and it’s confirmed now. Individual deaths do not yield a loss in equipment, just potentially an loss in ISK. The only items consumed are ones specifically designated as consumables, such as Firmware, and these are only consumed at the end of the battle, not upon death. This encourages players to focus more on winning and less on avoiding death. It also seems that ISK is primarily used to purchase upgrades, but in reality the real prize players will be working towards are rewards from various factions such as firmware upgrades.

XxBlazikenxX
Will there be any plans to introduce a bounty mechanic?

CCP Rattati
Bounty is cool but not a priority.

Analysis

Bounties are cool but not required initially. There are other systems that should take priority, but it would be fun to see this eventually.  

May 20th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
CCP Rattati

Battle consumables also make you commit to winning, not conserving. Insurance and opt-out insurance can be where you choose your risk/reward. Firmware changes your suit and is part of the loadout, so it’s used by committing to battle.

junotristan
Has the EOM ISK payout been developed? i.e. fixed fee for the win, for placing 1st on the laderboard, ect.

CCP Rattati
Most of it, but that’s just numbers. Winning the mission is 1, 2, and 3. Not individual effort and least of all individual losses. I hated when I would run proto, try to win, go 12/12, and lose horribly. I agree the players thinking “I lost 2 proto suits and now I’ll snipe” doesn’t make for fun games.

junotristan
So if I queue up for a pub match and I decide not to pick my flashy firmware suit, then when I get into the fight and it starts to escalate and I need to bring in my Lai Dai firmware, will I not be able to do it? As I haven’t picked it beforehand

CCP Rattati
Yes, that’s a part of the risk and reward. Skill over gear.

Analysis

If I’m reading his intent, he’s just reiterating that focusing on individual losses is not rewarding and encourages loss aversion behavior. The ability to opt out of insurance is a nice way for players to decide how much risk/reward they’re looking for in the battle.  Players need to plan ahead to see what their needs will be in order to win.

junotristan
Will pub matchmaking work on what people have committed to the battle or a player skill/Mu rating?

CCP Rattati
Good question, needs consideration.

Analysis

Indeed a good question. I’m curious to see what they come up with.

Game Modes

May 19th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
CCP Rattati

[In response to an ongoing discussion about FacWar in Nova]
I would have just stop assuming FW 1) Exists, 2) Behaves like EVE if it does, 3) Behaves like DUST if it does. The branching of the player base didn’t make much sense. I would mostly rather do it this way:  Mercs are always part of “FW”, the enver ending war of New Eden. All missions/contracts are happening in that context ie. Pubs. Each battle simply can be given a “pick ISK’ or “pick standings” as a reward. We are also thinking agents, granting missions, each levels up and grants stronger missions, and more standings.

So, the element of fighring for other people (NPCs) should be in the context of FW. Fighting for yourself is “PC”

The faction “allegiance” that some players crave (I am Gallente) has to be fulfilled within either of those. PC, start a Gallente only corp. NPC, do Gallente missions. There can be no third “game mode” which is allowing me to fight for my faction in a persistent way.

Analysis

Initially I read this as “We’re removing Faction Warfare from the game” but it actually seems more like they’re removing the random pub matches from DUST and FW is becoming the new pub. You’re allowed to fight for whoever you want just like you could in FW to earn standings and other rewards from them. If you want to be loyal to a certain faction, just do missions for only that particular faction.

The shift to a “PC-like” game mode is essentially the shift from fighting for an NPC to fighting for a player corporation. This could take the form as being a member of the corporation or a ringer for higher. Either way it seems that the act of role playing is entirely on the player’s shoulders to actually play the role they want.  I am however a bit disappointed that there is not a smoother transition between “Low Risk/Low Reward” Pubs and “High Risk/High Reward” endgame content. However this transition may be smoothed out by various levels of mission difficulties.

On that note, I find the mention of “stronger missions” is a bit odd. Typically speaking PvP does not have scaleability difficulty due to the fact that the enemies are human, so its impossible to make a PvP missions “stronger” or “more difficult”. However if there were PvE elements to the mission, that is something that is absolutely scaleable. Just something to keep in mind.

Progression

Dropsuits

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

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

Analysis

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.

May 10th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
CCP Rattati
We are always honing our meta/module/dropsuit progression. Current focus is Civilian, T1, T2, Faction but not copying EVEs system. Honing.

Analysis

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

Analysis

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.

May 18th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
CCP Rattati

Ok, an example. There are 6 classes. The dropsuit the player can choose from in the beginning are on of each of those classes. Let’s day a Kor-Azor Sentinel. It will have 6 Sentinel equipment that fit the roles purpose. As you play the sentinel, it will require skill points of a sort and once you have done enough you can upgrade to the next tier. At some point, the gear becomes tradeable between classes and skills that support the specialization will be uncovered. That is the basic idea.

Now, once you have everything unlocked, everything through playing, we will have upgrades, possibly rig-like that can be crafted or looted. These will be consumed 1 per battle. These upgrades are plugged into a firmware type slot on the dropsuit you have. So you might get a Kador firmware, plug it in and it will swap skin and give some different bonuses. These bonuses can be quite powerful because they are consumed.

Analysis

I later sat down with Rattati a bit later and clarified exactly what this all meant and will later be expanded upon in a later episode of Theory Workshop. Please keep in mind that we only confirmed the current design intent, and is subject to change. Effectively there are the 6 base classes you choose from that go through 3 stages of progression.

  • Stage 1: Dropsuits are prefit with various modules and equipment. As you play the class, various bonuses will be unlocked for the modules/equipment for the suit. Once all of these bonuses are unlocked, you are qualified to upgrade your suit to Stage 2:
  • Stage 2: Leveling up through stage 2 will unlock bonuses/skills that dive into the specialization of that class. Additionally it will start to allow you to take the modules fit to the suit and transfer them to another class to be used. For example leveling an Stage 2 Logistics that might be fit with a repair tool would allow me to transfer that repair tool to another class. Please note that any bonuses for specific modules unlocked during Stage 1 are tied to the suit and will not carry over when used on a different suit. However, there may be some overlap where bonuses that one suit has may benefit a module or equipment that was transferred from another suit. 
  • Stage 3: Reaching Stage 3 unlocks a special slot on your dropsuit for Firmware. Firmware is one of the few modules that are actually consumed when used in battle, but will only be consumed at the end of the battle. This means that you will only need one per battle. Firmware will likely be attained through various methods such as earning them from factions by doing missions. Firmware can change various things, but the primary purpose is to modify the suit’s bonuses to meet the design philosophy of the faction from which the firmware originates. These bonuses can be more potent than the base suit bonuses because the item is a consumable.

So my basic breakdown of how this will affect the user experience is as such:

  • Stage 1: Very straight forward for new players. Typical class based combat with premade fits so the focus is more on learning the game. Advanced users may be able to customize heavily if they have unlocked modules and equipment from other classes.
  • Stage 2: This is the primary unlock stage where players will unlock the majority of the content and gear to be used on all of their suits. Specialization also starts to take a more noticeable form and the player starts to feel the exact sort of role they’re playing. 
  • Stage 3: This is the end game state where players are hunting down, earning, and crafting firmware to further modify the bonuses associated with their suit. The interesting part about this is that this stage is easily expandable, as developers can easily add new firmware to the game to create new twists of the core 6 classes.

Once I got clarification, this made a lot more sense to me. It keeps things extremely simple for new players but provides rewards for leveling up that specifically benefit the class they’re playing. Advanced users will be able to customize on a high level if they have the gear unlocked from other classes. Finally the the firmware system allows for really specialized players to gain even more options to customize their dropsuit with. The key difference here is that you never really make an obsolete dropsuit, you simply upgrade the base dropsuit to have more and more options to work with in your fittings. Overall a very reasonable system.

May 20th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
CCP Rattati

Firmware can be powerful because it might be look, and it’s guaranteed to disappear. If it got lost on death, then super good players “will not die” and keep their advantage

Analysis

This solves the issue we saw in DUST where players would run in packs of Proto and stomp everyone else in the map and then lose no money because they never died. This guarantees that you’re committing to lose that advantage if you want to use it, regardless of how often you die. So players could theoretically group up and stomp with buffed up gear, but that advantage is guaranteed to be lost regardless of how well they do.

CCP Rattati
[Regarding pre-made fits for T1 dropsuits]
They are default, so no starting with empty slots, going to market, finding a skill, upgrade skill, buy wrong mod, buy right mod, not have PG/CPU. Which might help the NPE.

Analysis

Effectively removing the multiple steps a player needed to do to put together a fit early on will very much help the NPE. It still maintains the flexibility that advanced players will want, but for a new player the system allows them to hit the ground running.

Weapons

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

Analysis

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.

May 20th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
Pokey Dravon
So when you use a weapon and gain experience in it, the fixed progression is basically unlocking variants such as Assault, Burst, Breach, ect.?

CCP Rattati
Actually yes, Thematically that’s the feeder in a modular weapon. Barrel, clip, stock, ect. to be swappable. Scopes. Basically get weapons XP based on usage and effort.

Pokey Dravon
Ahh I see. So you’re unlocking these attachments, and then fitting you gun which can modify a number of things. Are those unlocks linear? For example I want to first unlock the high fire rate magazine and then level more to unlock the high capacity magazine? Or does it branch off so I can pick and choose what to work on unlocking?

CCP Rattati
Probably linear

Analysis

Expect guns to be reasonably modular. It doesn’t seem like they go quite in depth as dropsuits (no active modules or anything like that) but leveling up a gun will unlock attachments that can be used to custom fit your weapon. Pretty common these days in FPS games so players will expect to see it, so I’m excited.

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.

Analysis

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
Weapon progression within each weapon, with attachments. Some scopes can be used on any weapon.

Analysis

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.

May 16th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
CCP Rattati

Guns have a separate progression. So gun specific achievements can unlock skins, ect.

Analysis

In context, he was basically saying that you need to actually level up the gun by using it, not just having it on a suit while you play matches. Guns and suits will level separately depending on what you’re doing in match. It also seems like the game will have some form of achievements with rewards such as skins. These sort of things are always nice for people who really want to specialized and be rewarded for their dedication to a weapon or play style.


sebastian the huds
Will weapon progression be like skyrim in that the more you use it, the better you get as far as skills and attachment?

CCP Rattati
Not necessarily more power, but more choice.

Analysis

This goes a bit in line with what he was talking about in regards to equipment being unlocked and shared. Progression seems to be very focused around the idea that the more you play, the more options you have. I’m curious to see if it will be things like more attachments, more attachment points, stat variations, ect.

May 19th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
CCP Rattati

Laser Rifle will probably be re-purposed as a marksman weapon or sniper/sharpshooter. Sound will not be re-used but original used as a reference. That’s the same for all weapons.

Analysis

This is actually pretty disappointing to me. I felt the Laser Rifle was one of the more unique and interesting weapons with its unorthodox range profile. Hopefully whatever form it takes will retain some of that uniqueness. Also I’d love to have the old “kickball” shotgun sound from back in closed beta!

Equipment

May 16th 2017 – DUST 514 Forums
Draxus Prime

How would an earned equipment system work?

CCP Rattati
Good question

Draxux Prime
Like get X amount of ammo resupplied when you would unlock a better nanohive?

CCP Rattati
Note set in stone, but think battlefield class progression, plus sharing items between classes once they are unlocked. The more classed played, the bigger the inventory. This is in regards to the basic class gear such as repair tools for logis, cloak field for infiltrators, ect.

Analysis

So the second part of this quote is the interesting part. Rattati has spoken in the past about pre-made dropsuits that can then be modified and swapped out with different equipment. However it seems that the act of unlocking the suit is what unlocks the equipment which may be unique to that class. Because they’re pushing for universal equipment, the idea could be that you could fit a repair tool to a scout, but you would need to play as a support class to unlock the repair tool, and then fit it to your scout. The more classes you unlock and play, the more fitting options open up for all of your available classes. Again I’m seeing a lot of ideas from the concepts of Legion and I’m not sure how I feel about it, we will have to see more.

Fitting

Power Core/Fitting Resource

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

CCP Rattati
Combining PG/CPU to a single power unit

Analysis

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.

May 16th 2017 – DUST 514 Forums
Moorian Flav

Would there be a way for Civilian and even possibly T1 suits use the simplified power core but T2 and T3 suits use PG/CPU? Just a thought.

CCP Rattati
Something we absolutely consider

Analysis

I’m not sure I’m a big fan of this, at least in a literal implementation. I think switching the rules half way through fitting can almost be more confusing that adopting a more complicated system for all levels and be more consistent. If the idea was refined it may have some merit though, it just needs to make sense.

May 16th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
(In regards to using capacitor as fitting limitation)

Pokey Dravon
Probably one of those things that will just need to be tested. Get it in the hands of grubby players and see how badly they can break it

CCP Rattati
Yes

Analysis

Well it would be great to get in there and start testing. Star Wars comes out in December, you know.

Pokey Dravon
Well I asked it in the thread, but I was inquiring about how developers plan to compensate for losing the balancing tools that a duel resource system offered.

CCP Rattati
We believe that cap and cooldowns should be enough to balance but we will see.

Analysis

Again they seem to be pushing for cap to be the primary means of fitting balance.

May 18th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
CCP Rattati

Highs and Lows [Modules] do not necessarily need to exist. They are very spaceship centric. High and low doesn’t mean anything, offensive and defensive helps. We are forming all our designs around intent. Intent is deep and satisfying customization then it’s our job to make it EVE and smart. High and Low, PG/CPU are simply one way to do so.

Analysis

Essentially what he is getting at is that specifically using the terms “high” and “low” slots do not have any inherent meaning, and could be confusing for some people (one player jokingly asked if high slots were for modules on the upper half of the body and low slots were for the lower half). He has a point that while the terms “high” and “low” are references to EVE, they don’t really mean much to the average player until they are specifically told what they mean. Dividing slots into more readily recognizable categories would help players understand the system more readily without really decreasing depth of play.

CCP Rattati
Slots do not. Again, there are classes in Nova, but not class specific gear nor slots in the current design. Classes being classes, suits are of a class, not vice versa. Logistics is a class, Heavy, Medium, Light, subclasses support/assault so vanguard, the old commando is heavy assault, ect.

Analysis

Ok so the way he explained it here is a little confusing so let me break it down to the best of my ability. I will also expand on this idea in a later episode of Theory Workshop. There are effectively two categories of suits, Assault and Support. Each of those is divided up into 3 sizes for a total of 6 classes. I suspsect the classes are as follows.

  • Assault
    • Heavy Assault – Vanguard (Old Commando)
    • Medium Assault – Assault
    • Light Assault – Infiltrator
  • Support
    • Heavy Support – Sentinel
    • Medium Support – Logistics
    • Light Support – Marksman

As for how many slots each suit will have, that’s a bit up in the air. I suspect this will be heavily depending  upon whatever metric they choose to divide slots up (if any). We will need to get more specific details on this later.

May 20th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
CCP Rattati
[In response to a link of the Theory Workshop – Capacitor and Module Interaction blog post]
I was just going to that Pokey is pretty good at translating snippits. That writeup is a fairly accurate description on the equipment system we have in mind.

Ripley Riley
So capacitor is the fitting resource then? Huh. Well, it’s not I expected, but I don’t hate it.

CCP Rattati
That’s actually the only thing that is not in our plans or, let’s say, I want to avoid “invalid” fittings. It’s better to have firm design principles, like “no invalid fittings” and figure out a solution.

junotristan
Does no invalid fittings mean that there is a flatter/no module progression? i.e. can put all factional gear on a civilian dropsuit? You’d just be gimped for capacitor and not be able to activate anything?

CCP Rattati
You are assuming that there is 1) module progression 2) multiple version of a dropsuits taht have different cap. eNeither of these are in line with the design principle of “no pass through content”.

Ripley Riley
So the differentiation between dropsuits is more base attributes then? Not things like capacitor, PG, CPU?

CCP Rattati
There can be a difference between classes, but the concept of having a lower or higher tier class (i.e. Advanced suit AND a prototype suit of the same class) is not. And then skills on each class to support its role philosophy.

[He goes on to more or less explain what was covered before regarding the progression system]

junotristan
If you upgrade somethign from Tier 1 to Tier 2, isn’t that the same as picking advanced over basic? Just that you no longer have access to basic?

Dracus
I think it’s more about specializing

CCP Rattati
Yes, but it does not imply that you have more cap.
So now you have the Kaalakiota Assault. It has 4 default equipment on it that we say make sense. Let’s say a hipfire mod for argument’s sake. As you fight missions, you will earn XP for that Assault and unlock bonuses for the equipment types that make sense ” Better at X and Y” going towards specialization. Once you have have earned bonuses for the 4, you can upgrade up to the next Tier. Spend some ISK to do so and enter the unlock stage. Now as you get more XP you will unlock the gear from suit so other classes can use them. That is the flexibility progression. Once you upgrade to Tier 3, you open a firmware slot.

The firmware can be inserted, so a Lai Dai Firmware overrides the Kaalakiota firmware which gives it different modules bonuses, so you can change the fitting. The Lai Dai has a skin you can use but the skin can also be overridden with a skin of your own if you have one. The firmware “might” have more or less slots, but mostly Iw ant to keep the slots the same number.

So this in my mind give the freedom of EVE with a guided progression for new players. Lastly, the firmware might be consumable per battle.

Avallo
Also firmware is a “consumable” like items in DUST were, so for that added specialization you have to pay ISK for those suits, correct?

CCP Rattati
Yes, so you choose, high level battle. I am going to go in with my best firmware that is not insured and costs ISK. Some firmware is only available with standings.

Analysis

He goes on the re-explain more about progression, but we already covered that in a previous analysis (I will include it again after this comment). One further clarification is that your base available stats will likely not change as you progression through the Stages/Tiers, just bonuses and availability of options.


I later sat down with Rattati a bit later and clarified exactly what this all meant and will later be expanded upon in a later episode of Theory Workshop. Please keep in mind that we only confirmed the current design intent, and is subject to change. Effectively there are the 6 base classes you choose from that go through 3 stages of progression.

  • Stage 1: Dropsuits are prefit with various modules and equipment. As you play the class, various bonuses will be unlocked for the modules/equipment for the suit. Once all of these bonuses are unlocked, you are qualified to upgrade your suit to Stage 2:
  • Stage 2: Leveling up through stage 2 will unlock bonuses/skills that dive into the specialization of that class. Additionally it will start to allow you to take the modules fit to the suit and transfer them to another class to be used. For example leveling an Stage 2 Logistics that might be fit with a repair tool would allow me to transfer that repair tool to another class. Please note that any bonuses for specific modules unlocked during Stage 1 are tied to the suit and will not carry over when used on a different suit. However, there may be some overlap where bonuses that one suit has may benefit a module or equipment that was transferred from another suit. 
  • Stage 3: Reaching Stage 3 unlocks a special slot on your dropsuit for Firmware. Firmware is one of the few modules that are actually consumed when used in battle, but will only be consumed at the end of the battle. This means that you will only need one per battle. Firmware will likely be attained through various methods such as earning them from factions by doing missions. Firmware can change various things, but the primary purpose is to modify the suit’s bonuses to meet the design philosophy of the faction from which the firmware originates. These bonuses can be more potent than the base suit bonuses because the item is a consumable.

So my basic breakdown of how this will affect the user experience is as such:

  • Stage 1: Very straight forward for new players. Typical class based combat with premade fits so the focus is more on learning the game. Advanced users may be able to customize heavily if they have unlocked modules and equipment from other classes.
  • Stage 2: This is the primary unlock stage where players will unlock the majority of the content and gear to be used on all of their suits. Specialization also starts to take a more noticeable form and the player starts to feel the exact sort of role they’re playing. 
  • Stage 3: This is the end game state where players are hunting down, earning, and crafting firmware to further modify the bonuses associated with their suit. The interesting part about this is that this stage is easily expandable, as developers can easily add new firmware to the game to create new twists of the core 6 classes.

Once I got clarification, this made a lot more sense to me. It keeps things extremely simple for new players but provides rewards for leveling up that specifically benefit the class they’re playing. Advanced users will be able to customize on a high level if they have the gear unlocked from other classes. Finally the the firmware system allows for really specialized players to gain even more options to customize their dropsuit with. The key difference here is that you never really make an obsolete dropsuit, you simply upgrade the base dropsuit to have more and more options to work with in your fittings. Overall a very reasonable system.

junotristan
Would you be able to have to suit set up as Kaalakiota and Lai Dai in your fitting options (and if you’re willing to pay the per battle fee) use both in the same match?

CCP Rattati
No, you save it and bring it to battle. No in battle modifications. Just a mess and takes people out of the battle. You pick you suits and commit, that’s strategy. How you use them is tactics.

Analysis

I’m actually not sure if Rattati understood the question Juno was asking. I think Juno was asking “Can I have multiple fits of the same suit?” such as a Sentinel fit with one firmware, and then that same Sentinel fit with a different firmware, and pick between the two of them mid match. I think what Rattati answered was “Can you edit fits mid-match?”

So at the very least we know you cannot edit mid match, but it’s unclear if we will be restricted to a single fit per class or not.

Capacitor

May 10th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
CCP Rattati
Capacitor like mechanics to replace bandwidth (Basically ‘mana’)

Analysis

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.

May 16th 2017 – DUST 514 Forums
Fox Gaiden

I do like the fact that we will have something resembling a capacitor (operating like a mana bar in a fantasy game, for those not familiar with the capacitor in EVE.) Maybe there will be a fitting trade off over the resources it requires to fit, versus how much capacitor it will use to activate?

CCP Rattati
This is something we are heavily looking at, we have a few design pillars that we are working from and the top one of those is

  • Balance through Quantity, Capacitor and Cooldowns
  • Universal Equipment [vs Class-Only]
  • Universal Slots [vs Offensive/Defensive, vs High/Low, vs Assault/Logistics, vs Active/Passive]
  • At most one Resource, maybe zero Resource [vs PG/CPU]
  • Earned Equipment [vs bought, vs looted]

What this means is we can allow a lot of versatility, and balance through “availability”. Power can be increased or decreased by the Cap cost/recharge rate instead of pre-battle configurations of PG/CPU.

Can I “use” it vs can I “fit” it

Analysis

We start the update off with a pretty interesting quote. It looks like the developers are considering some very large deviations from what players may be used to in DUST or EVE. Balance through quantity, capacitor, and cooldowns feels fairly intuitive, where skills/equipment will use Capacitor and possibly be subjected to a cooldown to prevent constant spam. As for universal equipment instead of class based, the only thing I can draw from this is that any equipment can be used by any class. This isn’t really that much of a deviation from what we are used to aside from arguably the Cloak for the Scouts in DUST. Universal slots is also very different, avoiding high and low slots; this may require some creative changes to have fitting make sense in a way that’s possible to balance. This also ties in with his next point regarding only one fitting resource, or possibly no fitting resource. I can only imagine that they may be trying to tie everything to capacitor and making the capacitor the limiting factor for fitting which could be interesting. Finally earned equipment instead of bought or looted heavily implies to me that once you unlock a suit, you effectively earn a BPO of it so the suit itself never needs to be replenished, just the things that are placed into it. This is pretty similar to some of the original concepts that were talked about in the earliest days of Project Legion.

All in all it seems that while they have a direction they’re aiming, a lot of this is still up in the air or subject to change, so give your feedback now. In general they seem to be going for a very open ended fitting system that is devoid of many limitations. I have several reservations about the ability to balance such an open system, so I’d like to see more details on how they plan keep things fair and balanced.


Pokey Dravon

Will passive modules such as Armor Repairers consume capacitor as they run? Or is capacitor reserved for more active effects such as equipment? (Ie Repair tools)

CCP Rattati
One way to balance is to reduce Cap when you fit Passive Equipment, less to use in battle for your Actives

Analysis

This goes back to what I was was saying before about the developers possibly moving to a fitting system where the capacitor is the primary limitation on fitting. This is something I’d like to explore more in depth so expect a write up of an expansion on this idea.

May 18th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
Pokey Dravon
Something I’ve been wondering about. Can you clarifiy what you mean by “replace bandwidth with capacitor”? Going by terminology alone, those are very difference concepts that are not really linked at all. Could you share your thoughts a bit?

CCP Rattati
Basically the problem of laying out multiple deployables which we bandaided with bandwidth. If each deployable reduces cap while it is active, I think it’s possible to balance with the dame underlying methodology instead of taking on bandwidth again. Always use on system if possible.

sebastian the huds
What would the differences be though? From the sounds of things, it will be the same as bandwidth. Is there going to be something else that uses capacitor?

CCP Rattati
Active and passive modules

sebastian the huds
Ah, last question I promise. Cap batteries?

CCP Rattati
Ther is no reason they couldn’t exist. Or increased cap or cap recharge based on suits. Logis high, heavies low.

CCP Rattati
Let’s walk through an example of how this could work. You have a suit with 3 slots and 100 capacitor, 10 cap recharge. First slot, passive armor rep, +2hp/sec. Because it’s passive, it simply cost cap throughout the battle, lets say 30 cap. Now you only have 70 during the battle. Then you have an active module, let’s say shield recharge. Because it’s active, it doesn’t have a cap cost, only activation cost; let’s say 30 activation cost, 3 second duration, recharge when active of +10hp/s, cooldown 10 seconds. So the cooldown actually lasts longer than the cap recharging to full. And lastly you throw out a nanohive, now that both has activation cost and maintenance cost. So the cap goes down to 50, lets say, and the activation cost is 50, so the cap goes down to zero but ticks back to 50 (100-30-20).

So you cant spam everything at once, you have to think about timing, but you can also simply use passives (lower powered but always on) and not think about them. This ties into waves of opportunity, if 2 well matched combatants meet, it may be up to abilities and counters. You use an active damage mod, I counted with an active shield recharger, ect.

Analysis

 I actually expanded on this idea in our first episode of Theory Workshop. First of all this confirms their intention to include active modules for dropsuits which honestly suprised me. I figured that active modules outside of equipment would be considered too difficult to manage during regular FPS combat. However, as a former DUST HAV pilot who enjoyed the days of micromanaging 6+ modules at once, this is a very positive surprise for me.

Secondly it seems like the general idea is to provide balance between passive and active modules by having passive modules reduce the availability of capacitor which is required to drive active modules. All in all I think that a mix of active and passive tanking will be the norm but using capcitor as the limiting factor will be fairly easy to understand. What is currently unclear is what metrics they intend to use to determine if a fit is invalid or not. As I outlined in Theory Workshop, it might make sense to tie those limiting factors to capacitor as well, but that is my personal opinion.

XxBlazikenzZ
Will there be anything can force cap to drain? Like Neuts ect.

CCP Rattati
With this system, EWAR is possible but not guaranteed. It’s at least a foundation that supports it. Some dude running around leeching cap.

Analysis

It’s easy to get in a pipe dream of all the various EWAR things that could be done such as Neutralizers, Nosferatu Modules, Cap Transfers, ect. I have some reservations about direct reduction of Capacitor to enemies…I feel that may be too harsh on people who choose to active tank but perhaps that’s best to be tested and see how player behavior evolves.

Weapons

May 16th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel
CCP Rattati
Weapons are not meant to be limited at all, pick any weapon you like.

Ripley Riley
Will certain dropsuits add benefits to specific weapons? E.g. Use a plasma rifle on a Gallente dropsuit and receive faster reload.

Sir Rebral Palsy
HMG on scout? #nolimits

CCP Rattati
Each class will have actual skills that relate to that class’s role. In the form of bonuses, not fitting reductions. Heavy weapons on scouts is still one of the only class limitation still being debated.

Ripley Riley
Will it apply to weapons line-up like “all infantry rifles shoot confetti 20% faster” or is it bound to race?

CCP Rattati
We are not making 4 of each, so racial limitations are not smart. It’s more “support” weapons or “offensive” weapons we are not making 4 races of every object.

Analysis

Again, a very open ended style of design. I expect you will see very little in bonuses that cite specific weapons or equipment based off of race, as they want any class to use any weapon (except scouts with heavy weapons). The weapon bonuses you may get could be more related to the sort of role you’re playing and weapons may be divided up into support weapons such as mass drivers versus offensive weapons such as plasma rifles.

May 18th 2017 – DUST 514 Veterans Discord Server – #project_nova Channel

XxBlazikenxX
What balance changes have occured between the end of Dust and note to weapons? Have certain weapons changed?

CCP Rattati
weapons are completely redone

Analysis

This ties in with other conversations where weapons are modular and have various attachments that can be fit to the weapon. Obviously this adds several new options and variables to weapon design so I expected things to effectively be reworked completely. DUST values may be referenced, but I would expect some difference.

 

Media

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

Analysis

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.  

About Pokey Dravon 89 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
  • SILENTSAM69

    So how does one get an invite to the Discord server?

    • Soraya Xel

      I figure following and tweeting a host is a good way, so they can DM you the invite. @ocdtrekkie

  • Godin Intaki

    I see the flame is still alive and well, this community just won’t die 😀

  • ( DeaDPooL )

    I love biomassed lol CCP on the ball from what I’ve read…..i love , the all in one motion progression system….not just one thing at a time , but all in one go..