Thank you very much everyone for placing me on CSM 6 and now on CSM 7 where I am currently serving as the Chairman! If you would like to contact me directly, do not hesitate to just send me an eve mail in game. Keep your eyes here and watch for new posts.

Friday, February 10, 2012

DUST 514 & Buzzwords

Why, hello, Master Chief!
At some point this year, supposedly in the spring, CCP will be releasing Dust 514. There was a recent article published at Ten Ton Hammer interviewing CCP’s new marketing director, David Reid, along with CEO Hilmar Petursson.  The article has such gems as these:

David Reid:
“With DUST 514 shipping this year, with bringing in the tens of millions of people that play shooters on PSN into the New Eden universe, EVE could be the biggest game in the world at the end of 2012. To end the year on that upswing, it just blows my mind the opportunities we have here to keep building on this awesome universe.”
"I don’t think anyone has to worry about our commitment to making World of Darkness a transformative experience.  Despite what you hear from us about DUST and EVE, there are more people working on World of Darkness here at CCP than there are working on triple A titles at other companies I’ve worked at for the stage of development it’s at.”
Uh huh…. Okay, well, considering that we don’t have so much as a launch date for DUST 514 and CCP has yet to speak about how it will interact with EVE Online in even the most basic terms it is very difficult for me to get excited about the game.  As things stand right now, DUST 514 is nothing more than a couple slickly produced trailers. I also want to be very clear on this next point: Despite our requests for more information, not even the CSM has been able to garner a single detail about what could be the “biggest game in the world at the end of 2012.”

Never one to pass up an opportunity to discuss much of anything, the guys at Massively who run This Week in MMO singled out this article and spent some time discussing it:

Start around 7:45. Without more solid info, this is how pretty much everyone I talk to thinks about Dust 514. In roughly ten minutes, these guys break down the entire potential mess that exists concerning this game. There is too much ~buzz word~ nonsense with zero solid info given to players / CSM or anyone. Once again, it's hard to be excited about something that is still basically a trailer. What is worrisome about this is that it indicates to me that CCP’s new CMO is either completely oblivious to CCP’s recent history of ‘overstatement’ or that he honestly believes what he is saying.
As for World of Darkness, I agree with the guys in the video – there’s not sixty people working on that game, at least not sixty full time developers. CCP North America is a ghost town compared to six months ago.
Now, I get that a CMO’s job is to hype his company, but I would suggest that someone pull him aside and give him a formal education on the battered wife of a community that he’s dealing with. We are tired of this kind of thing and have been begging for even one scrap of solid gameplay information for over a year now. We have no more today than we did a year ago.

Update: Here is a bit more info, but it still basically amounts to more bread crumbs: Interview With Executive Producer - CCP Jian 

You can bet that as I run for re-election to CSM 7 that I will be banging the drum on this issue quite loudly.


  1. To be honest, if you have followed dust a bit there is alot to read and see. We don't need to see the CSM banging the drum on Dust 514 like a madman. Let CCP do their jobs and test and hype their game as a producer does. The beta hasn't even begun.

    This sounds more like you getting on a high horse for the CSM election then an actual issue. We all know that WoD is still in pre-production/early low scale production. There are no new issues here but re-election.

  2. I was figuring someone would say this so, cool.

    Basically, CCP needs to be careful before it falls right back into the same tiger pit of ~awesome hype~ that it just crawled out of. Yes, there is a lot of general info about Dust, but very little specifics with regard to how the game will actually play. Most importantly, there is nothing at all about how it will interact with EVE. The CSM had a session in our first summit last year with CCP on DUST and the meeting was embarrassing and terrible. The meeting minutes on it were joke because there was really nothing at all to report. We had another session actually scheduled for the December summit that was cancelled because CCP wasn’t ready to talk to us about it. Read that however you want. Also bear in mind the fact that I was actually working at the company when the initial EVE – DUST link was being planned. Here we are two years later and they still have nothing concrete to even hint at.

    On WoD – dude, the game has been in production now since late 2006. There was absolutely nothing pre/low scale about it! Over one-third of CCP’s previous 600 people was focused on WoD. I’m still under NDA for things I know about the WoD project that are not public. However, among the 80+ layoffs at CCP Atlanta last were the entire Art department and the Content team. Whoever they have working on it now, it’s a skeleton crew compared to what it was.

    As for the election stuff, I can’t help the timing of this. I blog about this kind of thing all the time, but I’ll admit to extra motivation due to a series of recent eve mails I’ve exchanged with Eve players asking what, if anything, I could tell them about DUST. Also, I don’t like horses.

    1. Well, for what it is worth, I think your absolutely right. There is a big danger again that CCP is falling into the same trap it fell in before: completely overhyping everything and then unveiling what can only be a disappointment. For all the talk about managing expectations, CCP isn't really very good at putting it into practice. Given what has gone before it surely is crazy.

      The same with the DUST-EVE link. It looks sooo similar to what happened with CSM5 and Incarna, it is almost uncanny. For CCP I really hope that they aren't making the same mistakes.

      Because in the mass of FPS available to their potential customers, the DUST-EVE link is their major selling point for DUST. They have to absolutely get that right, basically from the get go. Otherwise all that hype will fall down as flat as a pancake.

      And frankly, thusfar, except for little details on specific issues, there is next to nothing solid on either gameplay or the DUST-EVE link to go on.

      10s of millions of players is clearly just crazy-talk, but in the competitive FPS market, CCP really has to do something novel and exciting. The fact that they're not talking about THAT surely makes you wonder.

      Although personally I'm giving the new CMO a bit of slack. If I remember correctly, he was only on the job for 48 hours for that interview, so he's still in the honeymoon period. And you know better as anyone else, it usually takes some time before you can start putting some question marks behind some of the things said by CCP. Especially if you work for them.

  3. Wait, what issue? It's a game. Apparently, those of us who are space rich will be able to transfer our isk to Dust and effectively play for free. Who knows, it might be more fun than spreadsheets in space.

    I play Eve because it is one universe and persistent. That's all I need to know about Dust to give it a go.

  4. "What is worrisome about this is that it indicates to me that CCP’s new CMO is either completely oblivious to CCP’s recent history of ‘overstatement’ or that he honestly believes what he is saying."

    Amen, brother.

    Shades of Incarna now haunting Dust 514, imho.

  5. Actually Seleene,

    The world, CSM, and eve players will get to rend final judgment as the "playable" version of DUST is supposed to be revealed for Fanfest. I would say once that has been consumed then "we" can confirm if this is another Incarna episode or if it will just wind up being another FPS that is forgotten 6 months after release.

    I do agree that by this point if the release date is slated for spring/summer there should be more details released at this point other than as you call them buzz words.

    1. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'm worried FanFest is going to be more about DUST than EVE... :\

    2. I think that will be the case unless they are releasing some more details about the summer eve "patch", which honestly you all "should" know more about that than me.

      Btw...found this after reading your post.

  6. This is my prediction.
    - Fanfest will be the beneficiaries of see the first Dust514 has to offer. BETA access will become available to all who attend.

    - BETA goes live following Fanfest and those who have registered will get access. The hype begins.

    - Feedback ensues, bloggies, vids, etc.

    - New CSM begins to get information from CCP

    - Eve releases summer update with Dust514 foundation mechanics under the hood.

    - Eve update comes out on Singularity (post summer update) to bring enhancements EVE Client and allow the first interactions between PC & Console clients to be seen.

    - More feedback ensues, patches applied to both platforms

    - Marketing Hype ramps ups for Big winter kick-off. CMO Mr. Reid is in his glory!

    - Dust514 targets Holiday Sales season in conjunction with Eve Client Winter Update release.

    Anyone buy this?

  7. From everything I've seen and heard from CCP, when Dust launches it will have minimal interaction with EVE on day 1. Its probably not going to tie into any sort of territorial conflict at all.

    What it probably will do is offer players a means of attacking other peoples PI operations but that would be about it.

    CCP do not want to kill EVE if their Dust design turns out to be horribly broken, so until they're happy with the core game Dust will have a minimal impact on EVE.

    From the way fanfest is being billed I expect a great deal of info to be released at fanfest and from then on running up to the 'summer' release. I don;t even mind Dust dominating the stage either, CCP's plans for it mean alot to EVE in the not so distant future.

    But yeah, I'm also wary of the marketing buzz words and was surprised to hear that WoD allegedly has 60 people still working on it. That would be up to double what I'd have guessed.

  8. DUST 514 is developing a painfully similar vibe to Incarna with regards to actual game mechanics information; these are basic questions which CCP has thus far refrained from answering. The last time this pattern of behavior emerged, the content that finally launched was a disaster that almost killed the company.

    As things stand, I really don't like the way things appear to be going with the product; there's too much hype and too little substance being shown where it counts.

    1. Excellent observations. My hope is that they have learned from the past.

  9. I'll wait a month till fanfest. We should be able to test out the game there.

  10. Seleene, thanks for mentioning DUST514. I don't think people realize how important DUST514 is to EVE and vice-versa. One of the unique elements of DUST is how it ties into EVE. Without that tie, DUST is not unique. Furthermore it comes from a small game publisher that few people have heard of. Given the choices of FPS, I'd prefer to spend my money on Halo.

    That being said, if DUST isn't a success, you can bet that CCP will have more layoffs. CCP is counting on DUST to bring some attention to EVE's stagnant player base. If DUST fails, I'm not sure what the Plan 'C' is for EVE. (Plan 'B' was macrotransactions and Incarna).

    DUST and its interface with EVE will be relevant and CSM will be an important vehicle to communicate players' expectations and concerns to CCP.

    PS. Any insights about wether or not DUST will have something similar to CSM (CPM perhaps?)

  11. Excellent assessment Seleene, as always. You've got my votes since long before this article. It's relaxing to know at least some sane people are speaking for Eve's playerbase. Keep up the good work.

    As for Dust514, I can't shake the feeling it'll flop hard. We'll see.