Orbital strikes from Eve Online will be available with Dust 514

The only way to be sure.

At CCP's Fanfest last year, CEO Hilmar Pétursson unveiled the developer's Future Vision trailer outlining their long-term ambitions for the future of Eve and its integration with Dust 514.

At this year's keynote presentation for Dust, it was shown again - except shortly afterwards it was revealed that the interaction of combat between the PC gamers playing Eve Online in space, and PS3 gamers on the battlefield below, won't lie too far in the future at all.

Eve players will be able to launch orbital strikes against a planetary battle below, while PS3 gamers will supply target data from the planet.

Developers Brandon Laurino and Atli Mar demonstrated the ground-based combat on a split-screen projection, before Torfi Frans Olafsson and Kristoffer Touborg appeared on stage to control Eve terminals.

At this point, the projection split into four while the two Eve players duelled to the death. The victor applied a code to his weapon module and the planetary assault began with the strike beams appearing promptly on the console screens. Intriguingly, the orbital strike ship used was a commonplace battleship, rather than a specialised ship class. Potential Dust 514 players should be reassured that the level of damage is far removed from that featured in the Future Vision trailer, and is composed of a series of area-of-effect damage beams.

Also revealed during this evening's keynote was more on how exactly PS3 players will interact with the universe of Eve. Prior to fighting, players will wait in a mercenary quarters situated above the target planet. A familiar - yet far slicker - interface for Eve players will allow console gamers to browse their character information and view market upgrades, as well as accept player combat contracts.

As with Eve, marketplace items are separated into groups. In Dust 514, these include Weapons, Turrest and Vehicles and these core items will be purchased using Eve's currency ISK. Money will be earned by completing combat missions and achieving victory on the battlefield. Microtransaction items, on the other hand, will take advantage of the Aurum system, infamously introduced in last summer's Incarna expansion.

CCP stressed that while the game will be based on the microtransaction model, these Aurum items will not provide a so-called "pay-to-win" advantage. CCP has been committed to a lengthy beta process in order to ensure their second attempt at microtransactions is a balanced and fair one.

An explicit assurance that pay-to-win items would never feature in Dust was rewarded with an enthusiastic response from the audience.

As in Eve Online, there are limitations on how much weaponry and armor each soldier can take advantage of through the use of powergrid and CPU caps. These limits can be expanded through skill-training, however. Soldier "fittings" can be created and stored, allowing players to assume a new role between missions.

Character development will be similar to that of Eve Online, with points accrued passively over time. As well as passively earning skillpoints, the use of particular skills will also advance them. Skill names such as Assault Rifle Operation, Forge Gun Operation will feel familiar to Eve players and these determine the areas of weaponry specialisation that players can take part in.

Want to master everything? CCP predict it will take around seven years to take all skills to their highest level.

On the battlefield, player-controllable vehicles featuring upgradable turrets can be called in - air combat was also demonstrated. On foot, Heavy Infantry soldiers are comparatively slow, but brutally effective chaingun-wielding fighters, while the lighter units possess more mobility.

The demonstration also showed off the real-time 3D map, allowing players to watch the battle movement and kills play out from a dramatically zoomed-out point of view. This being a part of the Eve universe, there is of course a suicide option.

We'll have more information on Dust 514 in the coming days. Eurogamer will also be providing coverage of tomorrow evening's Eve Online keynote, as well as Saturday's traditional CCP Presents session.

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