Hotfix Alpha is out now.  Lots of details have been posted by CCP Rattati.  Here’s the main changes as listed:

In Hotfix Alpha, we wanted to address brick tanking, so we increased speed penalties of standard and advanced plates and increased their fitting costs. We also provide alternative options with drastically reduced fitting costs for reactive and ferroscale plates, and a substantial increase of repair rates on repair modules.

We are also providing more infantry anti-vehicle options by massively boosting the Plasma Cannon damage, as well as AV grenade damage. The Plasma Cannon takes skill to use, so it should be rewarding to those to specialize in it. We also reduced Locus grenade damage a little bit to make other types of grenades, such as the Flux and AV, more interesting to players.

The infantry-versus-vehicles balance should also be improved a little by our modifications of Large Blaster accuracy. It shouldn‘t affect tank-versus-tank battles, but will make the Blaster sniping of infantry at long ranges more difficult. The Large Blaster should still remain a strong close combat weapon against vehicles and infantry but be used more for infantry suppression at longer ranges.

Gallente scouts have been quite powerful since 1.8 and needed a look, specifically when it comes to their dampening bonus and scan range bonus. The Caldari scout passive scan range bonus was also reduced, as it is one of the most powerful scanners available.

We have made sure that the cloak, albeit still powerful, now rewards players for investing in the higher tiers by reducing the dampening bonus and duration. The 25% dampening bonus of the cloak allowed quite a bit of leeway in fittings, particularly for Gallente scouts with their native dampening, and 3HP/s regeneration rate. Some thirty odd pages on the topic of Gallente scouts can be found here.

Additionally, as a heads up for you and your corporation, we will be making some changes to Planetary Conquest, as we want to change ISK generation from passive to active. This change is scheduled to go live later this week. More on that here.

We tweaked the Assault Rifles a little bit, reducing the Combat Rifle damage a little bit and boosted the Gallente Assault Rifle (Plasma). Overall the rifles are in a good place, but this small change is warranted.

Now for some unexpected changes that I hope you all like.

We have reduced the slow-down effect from bullets down to zero, eliminating „stun-locking“. This will potentially have a slight adverse affect on the efficiency of high ROF weapons, HMG‘s and Combat Rifles in particular, both of which are doing quite well on the battlefield right now. We will keep a close eye on this over the next few weeks.

Second, we found and fixed the range issues on the Bolt Pistol and the Ion Pistol – I happened to stumble upon 1Shayz1‘s video where he filmed his findings and scoured the SDE.  We received that information through the right channels, verified and fixed the issue.

–Winsaucerer

CCP Rattati has posted on the forums details of what they’re thinking of including in the next update/hotfix, named hotfix alpha:

Dear players,

The contents of Hotfix Alpha are responses to issues that have been identified by the use of behavioral data, and/or raised and verified by the forums and CPM. These proposals have taken into account the feedback from the community in the Feedback threads and are primarily based on tweaks to existing balance rather than radical reworks.

We will therefore be locking the current feedback stickies and storing them. Thank you all for contributing in a positive manner, and we‘re hoping you‘ll be back for round two soon.

There are multiple changes that did not make it into this pass because we want to spend a little more time on them. We will open up new feedback stickies on these as soon as we have finished with preparing Hotfix Alpha.

The proposal for Hotfix Alpha will now be open for final review while we finalize the numbers. Once Hotfix Alpha is released, we‘ll be holding off further tweaks to anything in it for a little while to see the impact in gameplay. Based on the trend analysis from 1.8 it takes a few weeks to stabilize, and taking into account that 1.8 had a limited respec, changes in some cases were instantaneous. With some of these tweaks, players will have to collect SP first, and then spec into different playstyles, so it may take a little longer to stabilize.

Finally, to be as transparent and forthcoming with information as possible, we are pushing this high level vision out as early as we can. That also means we have less confidence that these changes will all go in as planned, so please remember that some items may be pushed back to a later date if they‘re not ready.

Tanking Modules
Armor
• We want to reduce the stacking of plates by normalizing pg and cpu a little bit, and also increasing the speed penalty a bit.
• We also want to make repair modules a little more useful so we‘re increasing repair rates by a small amount.
• We also want to make reactive and ferroscale plates more attractive by reducing the PG /CPU requirements so people will use them instead of basic armor plates when they want to maintain some speed.

Shields
• The CPM and community has been vocal on not changing multiple ehp modules at a time. As such we will not be making any changes to shield tanking until the next hotfix. This also gives us a chance to examine new data from rebalanced armor modules.

Weapons
• We will be increasing the damage of the Plasma Assault Rifle and reducing the Combat Rifle‘s damage a little, nothing dramatic. Rail Rifles and Scrambler Rifles will not be changed in this hotfix, but we‘ll keep an eye on them. We‘re not making massive changes here as we expect the armor changes will have an impact on rifle usage due to the damage profiles.
• We are increasing the damage of the PLC against vehicles, to help provide more options for anti-vehicle work using light weapons but we are also looking at adding Plasma Cannon variants at a later stage. The Forge Gun will remain as the strongest infantry AV weapon in each tier.
• We are reducing locus damage and normalizing damage progression to make grenade specialization more worthwhile.

Vehicles
• We believe, based on data, that Tank v Tank is in a good place. However, with the grenade number being reduced, we believe that AV grenades need to do more damage overall to become a viable threat to vehicles again.
• However, we propose that they replenish less at hives so we want to increase nanite cost of grenades. We‘re also examining the option of removing their ability to restock at nanohives, but we want to see how increased nanite cost plays out first.
• We‘re slightly increasing HMG damage against vehicles to make them a little more threatening to LAVs. They should still get laughed off by tanks.

Dropsuits
• We will do a normalizing pass on PG/CPU on a few dropsuits; Sentinels in general have a lot of PG/CPU and Basic Heavies are a little out of sync. However, this likely won‘t make it into Hotfix Alpha because it warrants a deeper dive.

Commandos
• Commandos play a big role by being flexible; you can throw on your rifle of choice and favorite secondary weapon, a suppression weapon, some long range support or AV.
• Tweaking the CR will bring the Minmatar Commando closer to his brethren but he will still be the favored by mass driver/swarm players, but his speed is somewhat overlapping Assault so we‘re reducing speed a little bit. He will still be the fastest Commando though.
• Introducing the PLC as a viable AV will encourage Gallente Commandos to come out and play, as well as some tweaking of the plasma rifle. Because of this, we‘re not making any changes to it this pass but we‘ll keep an eye on it.
• If players migrate from armor to shield tanking, the Amarr Commando will become more useful as well as shielded targets become more plentiful. We‘ll likely hold off major changes to it until we‘ve gotten shield tanking in a spot we‘re happy with, but we are aware it‘s lacking in bonused AV power.

Sentinels
• We‘re hoping changes to plates will help encourage other playstyles than Gallente Sentinels, as well as the eventual CPU/PG changes to make Sentinels actually have to pick what they want to fit, rather than throwing it all on without worrying.
Scouts
• We know that Amarr scouts are underused, but want to wait and see what the module changes bring. We are still looking at smart bonus changes, mainly a biotic efficacy
• We want to reward specalizing so we are lowering the base duration of the cloak. This should hopefully make the higher tier cloaks more useful.
• We are removing the dampening effect of the cloak. If you want to to be truly invisible, both to the eye and scanners, you must specialize and sacrifice slots to do so.
• We‘re also looking to increase the delay between decloaking and being able to shoot. This is pending some playtest results.

Assault
• At this stage we want to see what impact the rifle tweaks and the armor module changes bring before making any changes to the Assault suits. It is however definitely on our list for later hotfixes.

Turrets
• We want to boost efficiency for Small Rails against vehicles so there is a stronger purpose for them. A tank with a small railgun co-pilot should have an advantage in tank vs tank combat. This shouldn‘t mess with their effectiveness against infantry, but we‘ll certainly be keeping an eye on it.
• We want to increase Small Blaster ROF, keep damage, reduce overheat, and improve hit detection so as to make it a viable anti-infantry weapon. We‘re also considering a range increase, but we would like to see the impact the other three changes make first.
• The Large Blaster dispersion will be increased a little bit to make it less reliable against infantry, without majorly impacting it‘s power against vehicles at closer ranges. Reducing its range a little is on the table, but we‘re looking to see if the dispersion impact brings it back far enough on its own due to reduced accuracy.

Planetary Conquest
Overall, these are our objectives to reduce district locking and risk free ISK accumulation
• Decrease/remove passive ISK generation
• Increase ISK payouts from battles
• Increase Clone Pack Prices and number of clones in a Clone Pack

The idea here should be that if you want to make ISK, you should fight and consume clones. We also want clone packs to be a viable method of breaking into Planetary Conquest, but not useful for launching every attack you make; using clones you own should be the better option.

Please post your feedback in this thread, and keep it civil and constructive. Please also refrain from discussing things that are not planned for Hotfix Alpha; there will another time and thread to discuss those ideas soon after Hotfix Alpha is deployed.

Yours,
CCP Rattati

–Winsaucerer

From the forums:

Hey guys!

Earn extra Skill Points from May 28 to June 4! The event will start at 11:30am GMT on May 28 and end at 11:00am GMT on June 4. Players will receive 5 times the normal SP from War Points earned during a match. The weekly Skill Point cap will be boosted to 3 times the normal amount during the week as well, meaning that you will be able to earn as much as 970,000 SP during these dates.

Have fun, and happy hunting.

–Winsaucerer

CCP Rattati has been introduced on the forums as the primary contact point regarding Dust 514.  I’ll include the whole primary post below, but I want to draw attention to one section from it:

Next Steps

• A clarification on “server side changes“ versus “client updates“. Most of the attributes of items can be changed in our backend system, called CATMA.
• Adding new weapons and dropsuits with existing functionality, changing weapon damage, dropsuit hp and slots, pg and cpu values, and most of the values needed for balancing items and roles can be changed during server downtime.
• Things like terrain, texture, models, animations, functionality, UI and more, cannot be changed server side and need a client update. These changes are unlikely, but theoretically possible.

If I am reading this right, then it means, as expected, that we shouldn’t see any major changes to Dust 514.  Now that transfers have been promised, I hope for a Legion greenlight so we can see development focused a great deal on Legion.  Anyway, full post from Rattati about these matters:

Dear players,

My name is Snorri Árnason, a.k.a. CCP Rattati.

From today, I will be working closely with CCP Rouge to ensure the continued development and support of DUST 514, and will try to serve as your main point of contact for all matters DUST.

In case you‘re interested, my Dev Spotlight can be found here.

I want to begin by establishing the two main themes that will guide our development and improvement of the DUST 514 experience.

Transparency

• DUST 514 is my favorite shooter on the PS3 and we can and will make it even better.
• Persistance is the key factor, more so in DUST 514 than any other fps. There is plenty of fun to be had by squadding up with friends, skilling into various roles or specializing in a single role, and ultimately killing, winning and reaping the rewards in ISK and SP, even if Project Legion is developed on PC.
• Please do not biomass your characters, it breaks my heart.
• As CCP Rouge said at Fanfest, we will do everything we can to take care of our players. If Project Legion is green lit, we intend to migrate your character over if you wish and our goal is to preserve as much of your emotional, financial and time investment as possible.
• I want you to understand that right now you have a choice of maximizing your SP by using boosters, or saving your AUR/boosters, whatever makes the most sense to you as a player.
– keep playing using boosters and increase your SP
– keep playing and don‘t spend your AUR on boosters
• Our new processes will ensure that we are fixing and improving the right things in DUST 514 at the right time
• I want to work with the community. I admit that I don‘t know everything and I expect you to understand that we are doing our best. The individuals on the dev team, including me, will not have experienced every single thing you have. On the flipside, we have the design vision and plenty of data. There must be a mutual respect, and criticism is welcomed, if it is based on facts and put forth in a constructive way.

Collaboration and Data

• CCP Rouge and I are strong believers in crowdsourcing. I have said many times in the past that gamers are the ultimate optimization engine, a huge neural network of smart people from all over the world and from virtually all professions. The time it takes the playerbase to find the debatably “best fit“ is measured in hours and days, not weeks. Ultimately, we, the dev team will make the final decision but I consider the community at large, through forums and CRM reps, to be the first pillar, the CPM the second and developers the third.
• I also believe in learning from the example of others, most notably our EVE devs, including CCP Rise and CCP Fozzie. You can see them here presenting their EVE balancing philosophy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbS8HRHJ4nY).
• We will establish a few precedures and processes that will encourage a functioning feedback loop and verification with data.

Next Steps

• A clarification on “server side changes“ versus “client updates“. Most of the attributes of items can be changed in our backend system, called CATMA.
• Adding new weapons and dropsuits with existing functionality, changing weapon damage, dropsuit hp and slots, pg and cpu values, and most of the values needed for balancing items and roles can be changed during server downtime.
• Things like terrain, texture, models, animations, functionality, UI and more, cannot be changed server side and need a client update. These changes are unlikely, but theoretically possible.
• In the short to mid term we will exclusively be focusing on server side changes
• We will sort all feedback and ideas into the two categories based on technical evaluation, because it is not always obvious which one it is, and let you know
• We will aim for the first iteration pass as soon as possible. The DUST 514 team already has a sizable list of things we want to improve on.
• We will also be launching an “All the Small Things“ thread in General Discussions to crowdsource ideas in the next few days and gather for the next pass, again, with focus on small and quick server side updates we can get out the door as soon as possible.
• As part of the process, we will sticky specific topics under Features and Ideas and harvest feedback from those threads.

Finally, to those who want to continue our DUST 514 journey together I welcome and invite you to have your say. To the others, I truly wish all the best, and hope to see you again in the future.

Sincerely,
CCP Rattati

–Winsaucerer

Well, Dust 514 has reached one year since official release, and didn’t even make it a year before the covert announcement that it’s going to be replaced!  But the game goes on for now, and I continue to play until we transfer to Legion, at which point I’ll swap over to that.  In the meantime, to celebrate the first birthday, CCP is giving everyone a free 3-day Active Omega-BoosterYou can redeem it here.

–Winsaucerer

I thought it would be worth writing up a summary of where things are at now, a few days after the announcement of Legion.

A quick recap: CCP announced at Fanfest this year that they are making an FPS for PC (presumably they mean ‘Windows’).  The talk was labelled ‘Dust 514 Keynote’, but the announcement was for something called ‘Project Legion’.  There was much initial confusion.  Given that it was a Dust 514 keynote, and I couldn’t hear the audio properly, I assumed that ‘Project Legion’ was just a name for their Windows client of Dust 514.  But as it turns out, Legion is a separate FPS and not Dust 514.  As a result, there was much confusion and many upset.  The upset has boiled down to two main issues, for two groups:

  1. I am a PC player, but all my efforts in Dust 514 are going to be wasted in a move to PC
  2. I am a console player only, and have spent money on this game, and cannot or will not get a PC

I fall into the first category.  I am a PC gamer at heart (with Linux as my primary desktop, and Windows for those games without Linux clients that also won’t run on Wine), so a PC FPS is fantastic news.  But I have invested a great deal of time and some money into Dust 514, and did not want that all thrown out the window.  Many others fall into the second category, and for them it seemed as though all their time invested into CCP’s big vision for a 10+ year sandbox mmo fps was for naught.  People signed up for the FPS game with the 10+ year plan, with meaningful interaction with EVE, and deep sandbox play.  We were told that that FPS was called ‘Dust 514′, but it turns out it’s going to be called ‘Legion’.  That’s where we were after the announcement.

A few days later, many things have become clearer. Shortly after the announcement, CCP dev’s were saying that transfers would be good, but may not be technically possible.  Later, CCP Rouge announced character transfers officially.  Rouge used the word ‘applicable’ in relation to transfer, which caused concern.  He has clarified on this point:

There has been some concern about what I meant by “applicable”. We are looking to migrate everything we can about characters from DUST 514, including names, corporation membership, skill points, assets and ISK. We have not yet decided how this would translate to the new items and progression system in Legion, but we want to make sure that the time and effort you committed in DUST 514 is carried over to Project Legion.

So Legion is a Windows game (I hope for Linux, too), running on their modified Unreal 3 engine.  And in this way the announcement of Legion became fantastic news for PC gamers who can play on Windows.  But questions remain: Why not PS3 and Windows simultaneously?  And, why not Windows and PS4 simultaneously?  The answer to the first question turns out to be that PS3 is simply too limited in its hardware capacity to fulfill the vision that CCP had for their sandbox mmo FPS.  The answer to why Windows over PS3/PS4 is a combination of a number of factors which include: Developer familiarity with PC’s, the slower patch-release cycle working through Sony than distributing on PC, and them running their core product (EVE Online) on Windows.  So it’s not a ‘no’ to PS4, but it sounds like it is exceedingly unlikely that it will be on PS4 any time near the point of official release of Legion.

The dev’s still refer to Legion as an unapproved prototype that still awaits final approval.  It sounds to me then that the choice for CCP is as follows: Legion, or nothing.  The FPS vision cannot be met on the PS3.

So Dust 514 begins its slow death.  It will receive updates still, but none of those updates will bring it anywhere close towards the vision CCP had.  Many will continue to play, myself included, because transfers have been promised.  When Legion releases and people transfer, the population on Dust 514 will, I expect, significantly decline and the game die.  Why play a game which will no longer receive new significant content?

More people seem happy with the announcement than unhappy, but it has significantly split the community.  Those who fall into the first category (including myself) have a bright future in New Eden.  Those who fall into the second category are, as of the writing of this post, have a dark future in New Eden.

–Winsaucerer

GamerHubTV has interviewed CCP Rouge at fanfest, which also looks to me to include a small amount of new footage of the game other than what was in the keynote, but I could be mistaken.

CCP Rouge  states there that he has officially announced that there will be a way to migrate to Legion, in line with what he has said on the forums:

–Winsaucerer

Many people have been unhappy about the announcement of EVE Legion.  I, too, fall into that category.  The problem here is that I’m one of the ideal targets to convince about Legion– I’m very eager to play the EVE FPS on PC rather than PS3.  Yet the announcement didn’t include any explanation or information on what is going on for Dust players.  What people like myself needed to know, from the start, is that all the things we have earned will be fairly compensated for in a move to EVE Legion.  This does nothing to help those Dust players who only have a console, and for them I think the only reasonable path is a refund.  As for me, I’m not interested in a refund — I’ll play Legion, so just make sure a fair replication of my character can be made.  Overall it seems like this announcement was made in the worst way possible.  We now have some responses to some questions, from CCP Rouge, though still much needs to be discussed (be sure to scroll down, I have some more thoughts after):

Hi everyone,

Thank you for all of your feedback so far. I’d like to answer a few of your questions about DUST 514 and Project Legion directly given the feedback you gave me. I’ve picked these four points as they are coming up the most on the forums as well as in the live roundtable discussions here at Fanfest.

1) What happens to my character, skills and stuff?

If Project Legion becomes something more than a prototype, we will not leave our DUST 514 players behind. You would be able to bring your character name, applicable skills/inventory, and other elements of progression with you. We are still working on the details and we will have more to announce soon.

2) Are you completely abandoning DUST dev?

No. Without promising too much, we are actively working on stuff like balancing, Planetary Conquest, matchmaking, the in-game economy, and more. And of course we continue to work with the CPM to identify ways to improve the game.

3) Is Project Legion going to have a PS4 version? Or something for consoles?

It is still far too early to discuss platform expansion, as like you saw we are still only working on the PC prototype at this time. But the PC architecture gives us the opportunity to grow once we have a great PC product at hand. For now, though, PlayStation 4 is not something we are working on.

4) When are you going to give us more concrete information on Legion?

Again, Project Legion is still in an early stage of development but the whole idea behind giving a sneak peek at Fanfest is to get early feedback – and I really want to keep this discussion going, show you progress through dev blogs and such and listen to what you have to say.

Please post your feedback and questions in this thread – and let’s keep this conversation going. The team and I will be reading this thread, and I will respond as soon as I can.

CCP Rouge

I want to comment briefly on the answer to question one.  First of all, CCP Rouge is careful to talk about this as just a prototype.  There are problems with this kind of talk.  If the PS3 cannot allow the EVE FPS that we all want, then Legion cannot just be a prototype — it needs to be made.  The alternative is that we have no FPS under serious development, and none of us want that.  Don’t be reserved — commit to it.  Say in clear terms that Dust will receive balance and caretaking updates, but no major new content additions.  The problem with this announcement is how late it came, and with how little information there was.  We are not stupid — it is clear that the writing on the wall is there for Dust, so don’t be careful with your words to simply postpone what you know is coming.  Be open with us.  And in a choice between Legion and nothing, I will choose Legion.

The second comment I have on the answer to question one is the reservation in the statement “applicable skills/inventory”.  This is the wrong approach.  I understand that Legion will be a different design.  It would be foolish, for example, to include BPO’s as they exist in Dust 514.  The progression system is different.  CCP does not need to promise to bring applicable skills/inventory.  It needs to offer to bring a fair compensation for these things.  For example, with skill progression, estimate how far along players would be for x amount of skillpoints, and just put our character there.  Don’t transfer skills, but rather make some reasonable interpretation of equivalent investment.  Same goes for items.  Don’t just throw our BPO’s to the wayside.  Find something of reasonable value in Legion, and give us that instead.  It doesn’t even have to be related (for example, one month’s skill boost for a grenades BPO).  The details can be worked out later — just commit to some exchange being figured out, and we can discuss the details later.

None of this helps those PS3 players, but as a PC player as long as I have a fair transfer, I can get very excited about Legion.

–Winsaucerer