Dust 514 – How the hell does it work #1: The money and the power
I’ve just sat down with CCP’s chief marketing officer David Reid to talk more about the money side of Dust 514. It’s a completely free to play game; if you feel like it you don’t have to spend a penny. However, if you want you can blow a wedge on various extra guns and add ons. Reid, however, says, “We have to be absolutely certain that Dust isn’t a pay to win game.”
He explains, “The way that we do that is as you play through the game you level up and get more skills. You unlock the ability to use more weapons, more dropsuits and more vehicles.” The key thing is that you won’t gain power as you level up, simply more options.
“As you start unlocking more and more things you’re probably going to start to want to customise,” says Reid. “Maybe you want to be a heavy who wears lighter armour but still carries that big machine gun so you move a little faster. Or maybe you want to be a sniper that isn’t a glass cannon, you move slower but you can take a few more punches.”
It’s these choices that should have you dipping into your wallet according to Reid. “That is where we think a lot of the microtransactions will take place.” Although he reiterates, “Your choices don’t upgrade your character. There is no ultimate gun or invincible vehicle that you can buy for a million dollars that makes you win the game. But what you can do is that as you level up, and get a certain level of capability, you can sidegrade into different vehicles, different dropsuits, different weapons, to customise the way you want to play” There’s one important thing, “You can’t just outright buy it unless you’ve earned the ability to use it.”
The things you can buy will be paid for by two in-game currencies, Aurum and ISK. “Go to the PlayStation Store buy £20 of currency, that will convert into Aurum and then you’ll be able to use that to buy things in the marketplace,” says Reid. “Now if you are adamant that you aren’t going to pay a cent for the game and you’ll grind until you die, then you will ultimately be able to do all those things with ISK.” (Which is earned though completing contracts and actions in game.)
Reid says, “The business model is less about Call Of Duty or Battlefield and map packs, and more about [PC MMOs] League Of Legends and World Of Tanks.” Crucially, the choice is up to you. “We do think that people will say ‘I’m having fun, I’d like to have more, I don’t mind spending some some money on it’”.