I was a big fan of DUST 514. For those who aren’t familiar, this was a PS3 exclusive first-person shooter which ran from 2013 to 2016 that (debatably) connected with Eve Online. To be clear, I wasn’t very good nor do I think the game itself was very good. But, the idea of an FPS that integrated with Eve Online in a meaningful way spoke to something in my soul. There’s been numerous attempts to revive this concept including one that, if CCP’s surveys are any indication, is very much a focus of their current efforts. I have discussed in previous posts the general requirements of an EVE-integrated FPS as well as a brief narrative describing an example of gameplay. Today, I would like to go into a little more detail about the features I would like to see both in the FPS itself as well as in EVE Online.
Same Universe. Although they interacted through the Orbital Bombardment mechanic, the worlds of Eve Online and DUST 514 seemed only thematically connected. You could only interact with characters on the same platform and your assets were exclusive to that platform. The new FPS should truly feel connected with the larger EVE universe. Specifically, the vast majority of game interactions should be accessible whether you are logged into the FPS or the MMO. For example, you should be able to access the same chat channels, markets, industry queues, assets, etc. Anything that would be reasonable for a person to do should be something that can be done in either client.
Same Characters. In order to truly feel like a part of the same universe, the characters you use in the FPS should be the same as the characters you use in the MMO. In other words, your FPS character will have access to the same assets and will have the same appearance and outfits as your MMO character. Likewise, the station you login to should be the station you logged out of in the MMO or your Home station. The clones used for the FPS will likely operate using different mechanics including different skills/skill queues and different Jump Clone restrictions (if any) but they should represent the same capsuleer.
Free To Play. In order to be accessible to as many as possible, the FPS should also be free to play. However, it should follow the same rules regarding Alpha characters. In other words, as an Alpha you can only be logged into one client whether that be in the FPS or the MMO. How the FPS handles logging in with multiple Omegas will have to be determined by the engine but it would be hard to multi-box an FPS.
More “Cosmetics”. Although something of silly thing for the MMO, cosmetics would likely be a solid stream of income for a game where the appearance of your character is more directly visible. And, perhaps these items could do more in an FPS. Although the EVE player base reacted violently to “Pay To Win” cosmetics when the idea was first floated many years ago, this has since become the norm in games. Done well, introducing FPS buffs to cosmetic items could benefit both the FPS and the MMO by adding additional value to them.
The Captain’s Quarters. Us old-timers know all about this, but for the youngins, while docked up you used to have the option to enter your Captain’s Quarters. This quite literally represented your own small space inside the station in which you could walk about and interact with the various objects as well as access some of the game functionality. In theory, this was the first step towards the goal of being able to walk in stations. However, it was a highly-debated feature as many thought that it was a waste of both development and PC resources to have. Personally, I loved the immersive nature of it. And, an FPS engine would be the perfect environment to bring it back. As an added bonus for both CCP and us RP nerds, this would provide the opportunity to sell additional cosmetics in the form of furniture and accessories for our space apartments.
Walking In Stations. In the wake of Monoclegate, the dream of walking in stations was killed. However, an FPS offers the chance to revive it. In essence, this would act as a sort of Lobby where you could hang out between matches (or, just in general). With the maps themselves representing the station and structure interiors there would be no real need for significant resources to be spent to add this feature. For more popular stations, a system could be implemented that used instances areas and matchmaking to avoid overcrowding or engine limitations. For example, if you were meeting your friends in Jita, you would take the elevator near your Captain’s Quarters and it would load you into the same interior instance as your contacts, corporation, or alliance as opposed to being dumped into a map with hundreds of random people. This could even offer the option to create additional cosmetics and customization for corporate offices.
Conquerable Structures. The main gameplay of an EVE FPS should involve conquering player structures. Although I leave balancing this as an exercise for the developers, I feel the core mechanics of this would involve deploying frigate-like Dropships (likely stored in the Frigate Escape Bays of battleships) which, if not destroyed, would deliver Warclone Blanks into a reinforced structure during their repair timers. In the FPS, the aggressor would be required to complete a variety of tasks to bring the station under their control. However, their respawns would be limited to however many warclone blanks were delivered while the defender would have the possibility of significantly more. Meanwhile, the aggressing fleet in the MMO needs to decide if they are going to try and continue pushing the timer and possibly reinforcing/destroying the structure or rely on their FPS counterparts to get the job done.
Strong Strategic Elements. Battles in the FPS should be strategic affairs rather than just racking up the most kills. The aggressors goal is to take control of the station by gaining access to important internal infrastructure. However, in addition to these primary systems will be a variety of other systems that can be controlled to improve their odds. Likewise, the defenders need to choose between defending/retaking these systems and defending the primary objectives. Since Defenders should have an advantage, controlling these systems will likely be essential to success. Examples of such strategic systems could include:
- Clone Bays. By taking control of the structures clone bays aggressors gain additional spawn points allowing them to push their attack.
- Defense Systems. Most structures would likely have automated defensive measures. By taking control of these systems those could be turned off or possibly turned against the defenders.
- Door Controls. By controlling door access, opponents can be funneled into ambushes or away from important systems.
- Surveillance Systems. By taking over surveillance systems, aggressors could blind the defenders to their locations or possibly feed their locations to the aggressors.
- Power Systems. Power could be disabled turning off systems in that area.
Of course these are just a few examples and I would expect professional game developers to come up with a variety of interesting and valuable systems.
Faction Warfare. Like DUST 514, the new FPS should tie in strongly with Faction Warfare. Battles would directly affect FW contests as well as be integral to flipping systems. FPS battles could speed up or even be required to flip Infrastructure Hubs. Likewise, they could be required to flip structures within a contested system.
Ad Hoc Battles. In addition to these strategic battles, the FPS should offer plenty of other battles. I mean, shooting things is what people play it for, right. However, even these could impact the larger even universe. Perhaps, different factions could fight for control of NPC stations resulting in those stations being switched to the control of another corporation. The possibilities are nearly endless. But, no reason you can’t just have the occasional death match. We are just clones after all. Perhaps, it’s just another blood sport for the masses to watch.
Intelligent Matchmaking. Since so much is on the line, it is important that teams be assigned properly. While many of these battles will be assigned according to your corporate and alliance affiliations there should be the opportunity for individual pilots to get involved. However, a system needs to be in place to detect if they are engaging in awoxing or other behaviors and pulling them from teams accordingly. Likewise, you should have the ability to form squads and operate together.
While I don’t consider this to be an exhaustive list, these are some of the features that are most important to me. What would you like to see in an EVE Online FPS?