In May 2014 CCP announced that Uprising 1.8, released a few weeks earlier, would be the last update for DUST 514. There may be, according to CCP at the time, additional server/data updates but no more PlayStation downloadable client-updates.
Fast forward 7ish months.
October 16th, CCP announced that there would be another Release for DUST514 – Uprising 1.9. Barely a week later on Oct 24th/25th we get news of EVE LEGION appearing in the film John Wick, and few days later, on Oct 28th, the Uprising 1.9 Patch Notes drop via a Dev blog, giving us the playerbase the opportunity to see just what CCP Shanghai has been working on for, since the Uprising 1.8 release in April.
Confused? Join the club. What follows is an editorial look at some of what Uprising 1.9 will bring.
Maps and Moods
Back in march we were all expecting to get the Caldari Production Facility mapand Surface Infrastructure (SI), but it was removed from Uprising 1.8 last minute due to Performance Issues. Instead, after a mere 6 months, the performance issues with these assets have been fixed, and the set is again ready to be released. This particular map + SI set is one that CCP has been talking about since before Uprising 1.4, and first discussed as being ready for 1.7, so calling it “new” is a stretch.There are also 2 new “moods”, i.e. new skyboxes and light-colouring. Particularly the Toxin mood is interesting, as it finally adds a bit more green to DUST514, after repeated calls for trees (and friends!). Finally, some things on some maps have been moved around, because reasons.
Bug Fixes, Features, and new bugs
Various new features have been introduced as part of Uprising 1.9. To name a couple these are:
Increased infantry passive scanner range when scanning vehicles, Forcing a player to pick either cloaking or passive scanning amplification
While such additions are very welcome, they seem very untimely. Most of these “new” additions and fixes were actually requested well over a year ago by the community, while others (eg. sprint-bug) have been near-game-breaking for a long time. Critically, Uprising 1.9 will fix the flickering starfield in the login screen, quelling 2 years worth of raging.
Active scanners will now default to sharing with Team, which is an interesting concept, as players then have to choose specific scanners to limit sharing to Squad. It will also help with blobbing enemies in public matches, as all less-coordinated players run towards every scanned enemy; Rattati stated separately that the intent is for the “+15 Intel Assist” to apply also when a non-squad-member downs a scanned enemy.
Players now have to actively request a revive, before they can be picked up – this is likely a welcome change to deal with first the inexperienced Logistics player out there, and secondly, to disable the needle-fscking CCP introduced to the game last December in Uprising 1.7.
For some reason, CCP considers the addition of Warpoints (WP) for spawning in vehicles as a bugfix – Perhaps this has come about, due to them “fixing” whoever earlier decided to not reward WP for in-vehicle spawning?
New Players and Veterans
New players are given the option to apply triple boosters, as well as having a higher weekly Skill Point (SP) cap, to help them catch up with Veterans; players can now earn up-to 3 million (Active) SP per week, with stacked SP boosters, i.e. a few prototypes monthly.
In return Veterans are given Loyalty Ranking, that can boost their Skill Point and ISK rewards from battles … as well as the higher Skill Point cap and the optional triple boosters. Loyalty Ranks are in-part based on AURUM purchases, as well as life-time scores and age.
Also noted as an improvement to the New Player Experience is the inclusion of more notifications to apply boosters, incl a reminder at the end of matches.
While these new options are aimed at allowing new players to “catch up” to veterans, they are actually quite useless. More likely they will be used by veterans to increase their “lead” or just ignored entirely because Skill Point accumulation has now been rendered useless due to the new “Pay To Respec” option; as part of CCP Rattati’s Data Driven approach, CCP noticed that “P2W” and “Pay 2 Win” occurs often of the forums, and to accommodate the users, have decided to introduce a for-pay Respec, to allow players to simply pay to be able to use the latest Fit of the Month (FotM).The alternative SP systems, Roll-Over as proposed by CCP, or a Lifetime-Max, seem to be getting nowhere, outside of a not really useful “Please be patient ” by Rattati.
With the concepts of Scarcity and Player Trading having been brought up repeatedly over the years as critical components for DUST514, we are now seeing the first tentative steps towards an actual market: Selling stuff back to the NPC-based market, at 20-50% of the market-value.
This helps offset some of the issues reported around Factional Warfare, since people can now sell Salvage (Loot), but also allows people to simply buy AURUM, then buy AURUM-based gear, and finally sell this back to the market for ISK.
In order to get beyond the base 20% buy-back rate offered to new players, a player will have to either buy a Market Agent (1-time AURUM purchase), and/or have seniority, in the form of Loyalty Ranks, further putting new players (and cheap ones) at a disadvantage.
Blueprints (non-consumables) can also be sold to the Market, but more critically, can now be transferred between characters. In all likelihood, this is only between characters on a single PSN account, putting those with multiple PSN accounts at a disadvantage – thankfully, these players still have the advantage of passive SP gain on each PSN account.
Conclusions and Concerns
Uprising 1.9 seems to smell badly of a “Legion testing ground” rather than an update actually meant to help DUST514 thrive on its own.
From what we can see, this update is based around the notion of monetising DUST514 as there is no “new” content for DUST514. A set of bug fixes, undefined performance improvements, socket changes and maps we should have had a year ago.
Whether CCP is trying to increase revenue from a dwindling player base, or is setting up a monetisation test bed for the upcoming release of EVE Legion, or simply to make more money for the great space dragon, we are unable to say for definate.
There will be players, and corporations, that will insist on grinding out the 750.000 SP/week, since it will give them an advantage at least up until the 50-mill mark, and likely further as/if new content is introduced. During Triple SP events, players already complained about feeling a need to to hit the weekly cap, and this is now being made a staple of the game; potentially, the burn-out rate (rate of players leaving due to have played/grinded excessively) will go up, despite the doubling of SP-for-WP. And despite this is stated as a counter to AFK’ing for active SP, it basically opens up for more AFK’ing, as people can play until they get bored, and then AFK for more SP – add triple-active-booster, and gets excessive (but profitable for CCP)
Finally, this upcoming release is not without its merits, both for what it brings on its own, and for energizing a rapidly dwindling player-base (see an upcoming piece on this very website). We are looking forward to seeing it in action, and to bring you a play-test of it when November 4th has rolled around, but for now we find it hard to be impressed based solely in the Patch Notes.
DUST514 Uprising 1.9 is scheduled to be released November 4th, 2014.
really ? do you really want to know…