An entire top-end Dust 514 load-out costs around $0.24 in real money
And you'll lose it all every time you die.
UPDATE: CCP has been in touch with a correction to our report, below.
The Dust 514 closed beta will be accepting non-EVE and non-beta testers on or around 29th June, and the date to move Dust 514 closed beta to our production server has not been announced yet.
ORIGINAL STORY: Buying items using real money in PlayStation 3 online shooter Dust 514 will be cheaper than you might think.
Assembling an entire set up of "very top end" gear (guns, weapons, items) costs around 24 cents, CCP vice president of Art - and mister Dust - Morgan Godat told Eurogamer at E3.
The reason for this, is quantity. You'll buy tens, and sometimes hundreds, of copies of equipment. That's because every time you die, you lose it all.
"There's a thing about Dust, which is every time you die, you lose your items, so we're talking about relatively small amounts of money," said Godat. "You can buy 100 copies of this gun, you can buy 100 copies of this suit of armour. We've got to make sure we're pricing things at the right level, because if you die [you lose these things].
"We're still tuning prices - the costs will change according to the feedback we get on the beta - but I believe when I calculated it last, at its most high-end - if you assume that somebody came in and had to buy, with real-world money, the best gear for a serious throw down - (they already had the skills, which by the way you have to build up and work up to be able to use the equipment) it was like a 24-cent thing," said Godat.
"That's assuming every piece of your equipment, including your dropsuit, was purchased with real-world money, and every time you died, it was a 24-cent cost to assemble your entire fit."
That, Godat reiterated, was at "the very, very top end of the gear progression". And before you can even spend like that, you'll have to have learned the skills to use that equipment.
"It's a little hard to believe that that cost would be something that somebody was reoccurring on a regular basis," said Godat.
"No one's ever done this before, never, ever, ever. This is so out of leftfield that we honestly don't know what's going to happen."John Lander, senior producer, Eve Onilne
Dust 514 is in closed beta at the moment. But people are already buying items with real-world money.
"One of the reasons we're having a really extensive closed and then open beta is that we need to work out exactly what [the pricing will be]," added Eve Online producer John Lander. "We've got players who are paying money in the closed beta right now to actually get these items, and we're looking at are the price points correct? Are they not?
"Off the top of my head," Morgan Godat chimed in, "I don't know exactly what they are. But the feedback that we're getting is that they seem to be broadly in the right area."
Those beta characters will eventually be wiped, Godat said, but all Aurum - real-world currency - bought will be refunded.
Dust 514 will move from the closed beta on the production server, to join the Eve Online test server this summer. This should coincide with the first Dust 514 beta event on 29th June.
When that happens the two games will be linked for the first time, albeit not on Eve Online's live Tranquility server. "And what's going to happen?" John Lander asked, in all earnestness.
"Somebody said the other day that there's a huge amount of in-game currency in Eve. Could you just throw all that money at a Dust player and buy everything?
"Do we need a dial that says there's some sort of exchange rate so that you can't throw billions of billions of ISK at people to enable them to buy everything in the game? Because that would ruin it. So we need to look at that."
"We will be watching very, very carefully when Eve players are suddenly flying around and playing with Dust players," he said.
But rich Eve players bankrolling Dust operations is exactly the type of emergent gameplay CCP wants.
"We absolutely want Eve players funding the wars for the Dust players," Morgan Godat said. "We want an Eve player to go to their friend, who's a first-person shooter fan, and say, 'Here's 50 billion ISK, I'm going to fund your army - you go find people."
Dust 514 - a free-to-play, downloadable game - doesn't have a specific launch date.
"We're planning right now to get it live on Tranquility this year," said Lander. But CCP wants proper feedback from the beta first.
"No one's ever done this before, never, ever, ever," Lander stressed. "This is so out of leftfield that we honestly don't know what's going to happen. So we need to take that feedback, we need to be flexible at that point, because anything can happen. Because we don't want to screw up Eve, we don't want to screw up Dust.
"If we get it right - when we get it right - the combination of those two games is going to make an amazing universe."