Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Game Within a Game

Every once in a while an idea comes along that blows your mind. It has your head spinning around the newly expanded possibilities it represents, yet it is so simple somebody should have thought of it years ago. That doesn't mean whoever came up with the idea will implement it perfectly, but you can be sure that the idea will survive, evolve, and be thought about by developers and armchair designers for years to come.

Warhammer Online's public quests were one such idea. CCP's Dust 514 is another.

Dust 514 is going to be a console FPS game that connects with EVE Online. Planetary control in EVE will be determined by the outcome of Dust 514 matches.

My initial thoughts are about how the two communities will interact. Talented FPS teams and players will be recruited by the richest and most successful EVE corporations as the "ground team" arm of their organizations. If FPS fans decide they like Dust 514 they will no doubt create accounts and subscribe to EVE. But the the FPS players don't have to subscribe to the larger MMO at all. This gives the matches in the FPS a heighted importance and purpose. You are fighting battles in a war being waged by powerful corporations in a universe you can barely understand. But the larger war isn't theoretical, or just made-up lore that only exists in single-player missions and in game trailers. Those powerful corporations are run by real players in another game, on another platform.

I'm less certain about the impact on EVE players. They could look at the FPS players as peons in their quest for domination. "The fleet does the flying, the infantry does the dying." Or it could be a source of frustration as your battles could be determined by the outcome of another game played by other players.

In any case the two sides would be interested in what the other is doing. FPS players would have a whole community interested in the outcome of their matches, and EVE Corporations would have even more people looking in from the outside in awe of the politics, deceit, and meta-gaming going on in the interstellar power structures.

Do you think that Dust team could be bribed to lose a match if the price were right? Might they be paid, not in ISK, but real money? Like I said, my head is still swimming with the possiblities.

You have to give CCP credit for not being afraid to let their game change and evolve in new directions.

Other links: CrazyKinux, Broken Toys.

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