DUST 514 9 things you need to know about the free MMOFPS

Learn what makes DUST 514 different

EVE Online is a wholly unique MMO, and the developer's upcoming shooter, DUST 514, looks to continue CCP's legacy of creating unorthodox experiences. While it looks like a traditional FPS on the outside, it's actually a hybrid FPS/MMO/RPG, with a number of features that set it apart from everything else in the genre, including a deep connection to EVE Online that gives us a glimpse into the future of gaming.

Take a look at some of the things that make DUST stand out.

1. It's free-to-play, not pay-to-win

Youre not going to have to spend a dime to download DUST 514 from the PlayStation Network when it launches later this year. All youll need to do is well download it, and then youre ready to go.

Once inside the game youll find some microtransactions, with different items and customization options for sale, but CCP promises that these will simply be alternative to the ones unlocked through regular play. It has assured gamers that pay-to-win isnt an option. Its a shooter, after all, and skill overrides a shiny gun any day of the week.

2. Firefights are big and explosive

The mercenaries in DUST arent your traditional modern-era soldiers theyre from the future, where people use laserbeams and wear suits of thick armor and stuff. Because of this, battles are slower, with players soaking a lot more damage than they do in games like Call of Duty, where a few well-placed shots to the chest will drop someone.

Its more akin to games like Tribes or Section 8, where fights are like duels of competing titans, blasting each other with missiles instead of peppering them with bullets. Theres still some bullet peppering going on, and a well-placed headshot can still end a fight, but the battles are generally bigger, making for more consistently epic encounters.

3. Vehicles need to be dropped in

The dropships, tanks, and jeeps of DUST dont sit around randomly waiting for players to jump in. They, like everything else in the game, are a resource, and must be called into the world by the player. Thankfully, this is a relatively simple act: tapping on the D-Pad brings up a menu, which allows anyone to call in vehicles at almost any time. There can only be so many on the field at any time, so spamming isnt an option, but we prefer this to having random tanks spawn around the map, as it definitely makes for a more dynamic experience.

4. Your character will be highly customizable

Though there will be a number of default characters to choose from, your character in DUST will be highly-customizable. Rumors are you'll be able to deck out your character with cosmetic upgrades, but the only things shown off at Fanfest were the actual skills and enhancements. Youre essentially able to create your own class, switching out your armor, weapons, and skills as you see fit, creating the perfect mercenary for the job.

5. You share a universe with EVE players

EVE Online isnt split up into different servers like most MMORPGs. Instead, everyone is on one, giant shard. Why is this important? Because DUST 514, too, is in that very same universe. And were not saying it shares a universe like different spin-offs share a universe, they literally share the same space. The planets youre fighting on in DUST are actually physically in EVE, and youll be able to communicate with EVE players. Everyone sharing a universe is one of the reasons EVE has been so successful in building a strong community, and CCP hopes this same practicality will help DUST grow.

6. EVE players are extremely valuable to you

Besides being able to chat with EVE players, youll actually be able to take on contracts from them to try and take over different planets. But thats just a small part of the way the two games interact. The really interesting part shows up when players on the ground call in for an orbital bombardment.

Instead of signaling a nonexistent cannon, it actually calls for an EVE player to shoot at the planet, and if he does, the shots will hit the ground in DUST, destroying whatever target the mercenary was pointing at. We saw it in action, and the synergy was truly remarkable.

7. Youre extremely valuable to EVE players

The interaction between EVE and DUST players isnt a one-way street. EVEs planets are rich with resources, and paying a group of DUST mercenaries to take them over could be extremely beneficial to an EVE player.

So beneficial, in fact, that CCP expects that EVE pilots will pay rival mercenary groups to take over a planet, leading to battles on the ground and in the space above the planet, as pilots attempt to destroy their enemies in order to get into position for orbital bombardments. On the ground, youll be able to activate defenses that will attack the sky, too, supporting your space-bound ally as they support you.

8. ...but EVE players are still planning on griefing you

EVE players are a peculiar bunch. Wait, no, thats not the right phrase. We mean that theyre a bunch of jerks. This isnt a controversial statement, its a badge they wear proudly on their sleeve, joking about how the nicest EVE player would be an absolute scumbag in any other game. Some of the best EVE stories we heard from players at Fanfest were about them griefing each other, and this hazing is one they will extend to DUST players in any way they can.

We talked to over a dozen EVE players about this, and every single one of them said that they were planning on finding ways to piss off DUST players. I think a lot of EVE players are looking for that feeling of power, said Zorr from NorCorp Enterprises. Sometimes you squash a bug just because you can.

David from Tactical Nightmare said that the only thing preventing EVE players from being complete and total jerks is the limitations, though he isnt going to let that stop him. If there is any opportunity I will find it and maybe kill my own teammates, David said with a smile. I dont know what I can do. Just extort some money or whatever. I will try to come up with something.

Some, however, were actually anticipating some of this scumbaggery floating upwards, laughing about how the average Call of Duty player should be able to hold his own against EVEs griefers. Theyll be able to teach us a thing or two, he laughed. Theyre not carebears themselves.

9. It still needs some work

Though we enjoyed hearing about the promises of the DUST/EVE connection, playing DUST 514, as of now, isnt entirely fulfilling. The controls are a little loose, and the gunplay, in general, leaves much to be desired. We blasted enemies from point-blank range with machine guns and watched their health slowly tick down, and fired rockets at point blank that didn't seem to do anything of consequence. We felt absolutely no sense of contact when we blasted enemies with rockets or lasers.

Even melee felt weak, leaving us confused as to why these giant, armor-clad mercenaries didnt seem to have much impact. Were hoping that the gameplay is cleaned up over the next few months, since the potential is absolutely there, but as of now its going to be hard to convince FPS fans to ditch their favorite game for an MMOFPS that is lackluster in the FPS area.

But we're still interested. Now that we've witnessed what CCP was able to pull off we're amazed at the potential not just for this game, but for gaming in general. If nothing else, DUST 514 has kicked open a door we didn't even know existed, and there's something remarkable about that.

Hollander Cooper

Hollander Cooper was the Lead Features Editor of GamesRadar+ between 2011 and 2014. After that lengthy stint managing GR's editorial calendar he moved behind the curtain and into the video game industry itself, working as social media manager for EA and as a communications lead at Riot Games. Hollander is currently stationed at Apple as an organic social lead for the App Store and Apple Arcade.