23 Feb 2013

Something Is Afoot - Walking in Stations

Right now there's not much of a reason to think about Walking in Stations (WiS). Things have been quiet around it, almost suspiciously so. Still, despite the failures of Incarna, the development of WiS is ongoing, with prototype footage presented to the CSM behind the curtain of non-disclosure last summer (Ctrl+F etc.).

It makes me curious. Not in a way whether WiS is good or bad for Flying in Space. Neither do I care much about what kinda features it's going to have. Concerning WiS, I'm most curious about its place in New Eden next to EVE and DUST.

So first of all, let's have a brief look at DUST:
  • It's a multiplayer first person shooter
  • It's going to remain a Playstation 3 exclusive for the time being
  • It's freely accessible ("free to play", as smart marketing people have dubbed this model a gaming age ago)
  • It allows gameplay interaction between DUST and EVE players

One of the big takeaways of this is that DUST is going to bring a lot of people in contact with the single shard world and emergent gameplay of New Eden. It's going to cater to a target audience the majority of which wouldn't have wasted a second thought on Internet Spaceships so far.
I've often read or heard people saying something like "I love reading about EVE, but I could never get into it." It's a huge opportunity for CCP to offer these people entry to EVE, something DUST looks to achieve.

Why wouldn't Walking in Stations attempt the same?

I really don't know; reason enough for me to assume that WiS is likely to be freely accessible and aim for a target audience that for now has shown little interest in playing EVE; much like EVE players in WiS. Other than throwing a bit of a tantrum over it, that is. And that's the thing: why bother trying to "win over" EVE veterans if there are people that may adopt WiS with much less bias (but a fair bit of money to spend that's out of reach for now)?

Payment models aside, it also makes a lot of sense to me to separate WiS gameplay from EVE. Why not a more peaceful and serene setting maybe; not as scary as EVE, but sharing the same universe and allowing players of entirely different games and fancies to interact across entirely different games. Look no further than DUST 514 for a pretty convincing proof of concept.

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