Not long ago, EVE Online received an expansion that allowed players to interact with and build upon planets within the galaxy. As it turns out, this was a very important step in making Dust 514 possible. A brief explanation was given about how players could conquer planets and build infrastructure (in EVE Online). Following the sandbox design ethos, the in-game objectives in both EVE Online and Dust 514 are determined by the players themselves. However, Dust 514 will also include a "High Security Space" for new players that features matchmaking functionality to help teach players the ropes. One player (in EVE Online) might build several sets of structures (like mines or cloning facilities) and defenses on a planet. Another faction might hire a group of mercenaries to conquer the planet, but it's up to them to decide which structures to attack and secure. Capturing a cloning facility on an enemy planet, for example, will enable that faction to more easily create and deploy troops to the front lines. Mercenary corporations formed with friends in both Dust 514 and EVE Online can be enlisted to carry out planet-side portion of the missions, which are played out in sessions of Dust 514 that will accommodate between thirty and forty players at a time, and last an average of twenty minutes. Some examples were also shown of how Dust 514 will let players customize their character and choose whether to be a specialized pilot (vehicles are also customizable), logistics specialist, or heavily armored infantry. Equipment, weapons, vehicles, armor, and more can be purchased via the EVE Online's primary or secondary (player-driven) market. Dust 514 aims to add another layer of depth to the (already incredibly deep) universe of EVE Online. Both games compliment each other like two sides of the same coin, with the EVE Online players focused on interstellar control, and Dust 514 players focused on capturing land, riches, and resources by engaging in planet-side firefights. It will be interesting to see how the PlayStation 3 community reacts to a massively-multiplayer shooter that's directly tethered to such an intricate MMO. Nothing quite like it has been done before, but it seems like CCP's careful and incremental approach to expand the EVE Online universe to a home console via Dust 514 could be a real boon for gamers who want to participate in battles whose outcomes have overarching impact on a huge, persistent galaxy. Dust 514 is headed exclusively to PlayStation 3 in the Summer of 2012. Watch the Shacknews E3 2011 page to follow all our coverage of this year's show. You can also subscribe to it with your favorite RSS reader.
An early look at the 'Captain's Quarters' feature from EVE Online's upcoming free Incarna add-on.