CCP released another trailer for DUST514 today. This trailer shows that the concept of the game has some issues.
First, let's narrate what's happening in that video:
00:15 Opening scene: caldari mobile command centre is being shot by something on the surface (missile installation, probably).
00:22 Cut to: squad of vehicles approaching a facility. The facility has five towers in the foreground with a surface-to-space cannon of some sort in the middle distance, and what looks like the surface end of a beanstalk in the far distance.
00:24 Cut to: A drop ship gunner is seen shooting at ground targets.
00:26 Cut to: Tank shooting another tank at point blank range
00:28 Cut to: Dropship being blown out of the sky
00:33 Cut to: Surface to space cannon firing
00:36 Cut to: Turrets being deployed from space
00:46 Cut to: Tanks advancing on facility
00:50 Notification "Large Missile Installation Destruction +100"
00:52 Cut to: Troops advancing with dropship taking off
00:55 Cut to: Tank destroying another tank, Notification "Madrugar destruction +100"
01:00 Cut to: infantry placing charge on tank
01:03 Tank destroyed by one charge placed by infantry, Notification "Madrugar destruction +100"
01:04 Infantry shoots another infantry in the head
01:05 Battle scene with burning tank debris, tanks shooting each other
01:07 Cut to: infantry firing at flying drop ship
01:09 Cut to: 3rd person view of tanks shooting at each other
01:12 Cut to: Infantry shooting another infantry, Notification "Enemy has captured objective B", with structure in foreground labelled as [B], which also shows up in radar/minimap top left of screen
01:13 Notification "We are hacking objective B"
01:15 Cut to: Infantry shooting something over or through a tank, drop ship is departing screen left. Objective A and C labels off to right of screen, infantry presses data pad for some reason.
01:21 Orbital strike blows up tanks, flying drop ship, infantry running towards the camera
01:29 Camera flies up into the sky, panning down to view the rapidly receding battlefield then planet
01:31 Scene is resolved: we are in space, looking at an iHUB with two Rokhs providing orbital bombardment, 4 Ferox or Nighthawks flying alongside
01:34 Cut to animation zooming out to galactic map with multiple videos implying that this type of action is happening all over the EVE universe. Camera starts zooming back in to …
01:47 Same site as at the beginning, but we are now looking at an advancing column of vehicles on the other side of the site. They are moving towards the surface-to-space weapon which fires as …
01:55 The DUST logo forms out of shattered glass.
02:00 Notifications on DUST logo screen about "Free to Play", "Register now for the Beta".
What Does It Mean?
First, let me state that the interaction of the infantry and space fleets seems well in place for this video. Surface can shoot space, space can shoot surface.
There are limits on the ground forces though: I think it's 24 a side at this point (there was talk at FanFest 2012 about potentially raising the limits). There are no limits on space side. There are two factors that this will impact in the DUST side of things: logistics and firepower.
Go back and look at that supply of deployable turrets. They appear on the surface as if by magic. What are they deployed by? If it's something in space, you can expect that there will be a ship up there deploying them: perhaps a war barge. Perhaps that ship will be able to provide “reinforcements” in the form of more clones for the MCC to reclone those soldiers into. But if that something is in space, it's going to be a target. What will it attract? Well, unless you have cyno jammers in place, anything in space is going to attract a 1000-strong capital fleet to wipe that thing out of existence and blast the surface of the planet into molten glass. If you do have cyno jammers in place, you're going to attract 2000 battleships which will wipe that thing out of existence and blast the surface of the planet into molten glass.
Unless there are some artificial limits put in place, that supply of deployable turrets is going to be limitless: not just in game design terms but in real terms of how many will be supplied to the corporation attempting to overrun or overtake the facilities on the planet. The only limits the players will impose will be the economics of it: if each “phase-synched Railgun” deployable turret costs 1M ISK, someone's going to want to be paid 1M ISK to deploy that turret. I know some people who will blow a billion ISK on those turrets just so they can fill the battlefield with deployable turrets to the point that no one's walking on the surface of a planet anymore, but as a general rule people are going to be looking for more than 1M ISK return on investment for plonking a 1M ISK disposable turret on the ground, so I guess there is some form of “soft limiting” that will take place.
No doubt there will be a technical or “hard” limit on the number of turrets that can be active on the battlefield at any time (e.g.: a MCC can only control a certain number of things, Homeworld Cataclysm style). What will happen in any action involving a large alliance is that the maximum number of turrets on the field will be met early, and it will be sustained. Those turrets might be relocated or abandoned if possible, otherwise you'll end up with a group shooting its own turrets in order to allow a new turret to be placed at a more sensible location.
So you have something dropping turrets if it hasn't been blown out of the sky by the blobs of bored capital pilots that roam null sec and low sec looking for something to do.
Then there's the orbital bombardment. Those two Rokhs are flown by very foolish pilots. Two battleships and a bunch of battlecruisers, sitting in space by themselves for long enough to get a lock on a target on a planet? They're going to be toasted by a roaming squad of stealth bombers, or the aforementioned bored capital blob.
I'm wondering what mechanisms will be in place to allow orbital bombardment to happen, other than supporting 24 units on the ground with 2400 ships in space. How disciplined will orbital bombardment be? Will there be a limit to the number of pilots that can fire upon a particular target?
The trailer is nice in theory, but due to being so very light on the space-side of things, we cannot tell how successful the EVE/DUST interaction will be. Two Rokhs with minimal support: that's not orbital bombardment, that's bait!
If the only way to keep your ground troops safe is to have the bigger blob in space, how many people will use ground troops? If Bunnies need contracts from Eggers, how many Bunny corps will be sustainable in this universe with the number of Eggers who have need for Bunnies?
And finally, all the orbital bombardment done to date has involved turret weapons. No drones, no missiles. That makes me sad.