Relocation of Strife - Dark Star Imperium vs The United Empire
In May 2018, Space Engineers organization Dark Star Imperium expand to Dual Universe: formed through the fusion of Primarch's Trinary Star Union and Firestorm's Avalon Galactic Federation, DSI bring with them many of their allies - quickly rising to community first page thanks to the enrolment of their Space Engineers members - but also their enemies: newcomer Tharis soon threatens Primarch and Firestorm with "cyber attacks" in continuation of an old strife between DSI and United Earth Empire, led by a ex-TSU officer turned hostile.
In June and July 2018, DSI are hit with a "coup d'état" attempt from treacherous member Melkor, who is caught in the act of writing bogus chatlogs designed to weaken DSI members's trust in Primarch; the swiftness with which Melkor's ploy is revealed evocates old rumours of repeated spyware usage by Primarch against his UEE enemies; in answer, Primarch states that it was UEE who used spies and ddos against him, compromising his professional and private life.
In October 2018, UEE get into Dual Universe, although on a much smaller scale than DSI; UEE leader Thernax - possibly Tharis - declares his hostility against Primarch and his followers after leading two sabotage attempts within DSI and the Opean Federation.
In Novermber 2018, Thernax attracts attention from news outlets Ark Central and Dual Insider, and tries to pit them against each other by cross-sharing conflicting informations as both productions already share a known rivalry.
In December 2018, Thernax - now Zelevas - pursues open conflict between UEE - now The United Empire - and DSI; several organizations, including PEK and New Genesis, side with DSI.
In January 2019, a copious amount of video-verified "evidence" is generously shared by Zelevas and Melkor on several Discord servers, including Ark Central; these documents refer to Primarch's usage of spyware, his habits of insulting, threatening and sending shocking pictures to adversaries, and his open admittance of using alt accounts in DSI in order to reach first page; more leaks about Primarch's real life soon follow through obvious strawmen accounts.
IRL involvement within Dual Universe is a severe breach of EULA: Novaquark's community managers start an investigation.
In February 2019, Dual Insider publish their January update where they openly side with Primarch, debunking Zelevas's allegations but also accusing Ark Central and Terran Union of participating in another of DSI's adversaries's "doxxing" attempts; AC's clumsy involvement is sadly confirmed but DI also hitherto admit that Zelevas's documents are genuine. Ark Central wisely choose not to debate the matter in their own January episode.
The following days show more attempts from anti-Primarch voices to produce dubious claims, but Novaquark's lengthy investigation - also fueled by other, cleaner sources than Zelevas - nears its end; at this point, community managers get in touch with incriminated parties in order to give them one last chance to make amends and clean up their act; none of them seem to catch the drift, however, and on February 28th, heavy disciplinary measures are issued: the "DSI / TSU / UEE Investigation" concludes with the permanent ban of Primarch, Zelevas and Melkor, as well as the reset of DSI with Firestorm as their newly-appointed leader.
Dual Insider's producer Lime (aka MM The Boss) also ends up on the chopping block, but his participation in the DSI/ TUE conflict is only an aggravating addition to his previous, accumulated misdemeanours.
The perpetrators issue eloquent protests, vivid denegations of any "last chance" offerings, various expressions of rage and for some, open threats towards Novaquark, but the vast majority of the active community welcomes and commends the "Metaverse Company" on their decision.
Dark Star Imperium are now free to grow back on neater terms.
When you get killed in Dual Universe, your body is destroyed but your consciousness is transferred to a Resurrection Node, where your body is reconstructed and you get a nude-clean fresh start; you can only spawn back at the nearest of the nodes you are linked to and conditions, such as owner authorization or organization membership, will apply.
These limitations aim at two goals: Nodes will not be used as instant "suicide" transportation devices between settlements and their availability and location will have a major strategical role; invaders/ raiders will have to place and protect their Node in order to respawn close to the battlefield if killed in action, and defenders will have to save their own Node or risk eviction-by-death from their own positions.
Even everyday peaceful activities will have to consider this factor, as Nodes management will be crucial to the tactical field control of any operation, military and civilian alike: legates and strategists should be particularly mindful of them.
Bring Your Game Face - DICE
Backed by various entities, such as Band of Outlaws, Cinderfall Syndicate, Solar Empire or Terran Union, The DICE gaming commission aims to manage publicized games and races within the Dual Universe.
It could prove interesting to see if both tools react in the same way to forthcoming changes.
Raiders of the Lost Arks
Novaquark has confirmed that in time and space, both far-off, players might stumble on other Arkships. This sounds plausible if a little chancy: thousands of ships, each bedding millions of fleeing survivors, took flight before the Big One consumed the Solar System and a couple of those vessels might have ended up quite close - in spacewide terms - to each other.
However, this possibility raises quite a few questions, one being: "Since NQ did not plan for any NPC activity apart from a few market bots, will these arkships be new player starting points ? How will the already established power balance handle those fresh spawns ?"
Another question, rather desquieting, comes to mind: "If these ships won't be spawn points, what happened to their passengers ? Are we in for silent, high-tech, twenty-kilometers soaring, metal-clad mass tombs ?"
And finally, this one: "If there ARE NPCs after all, how will the newcomers be considered by the "original" Colonists ? Will Mankind's survivors find out that the most alien being we know is and always will be our fellow man ?"
Persistance and Renewal
Another challenge the Dual Universe - players and developers alike - will face is the control of environmental degradation: if the game-world is not renewable, then it will be plundered, day after day, planet after planet, by metal-smelting industrialists and stone-carving architects, leading to defacing and depletion. If it is renewable, then colonization and therefore, space race and war effort will lose some of their major motivation (i.e. the need to conquer fresh lands to harvest, though this could be supported by placing the most valuable ressource spawns on more distant worlds).
Balance, as for most problems, will be the key, as the process will be slow but inevitable: at terms, for instance, we may be in for a ravaged, hollowed and test-build-covered Alioth "homeworld". Will mankind's remnants repeat the same mistakes as their forebears ten thousands years ago ?
"After entertaining the idea for some time, we finally decided to launch the Alioth Aerospace Expo! The AAE is an industry-wide project designed to showcase the talents of best shipbuilding companies and individuals that DU has to offer. The Expo will be planned and organized by an Honorary Committee made up of respected community members and organization leaders. The plan is to hold the event in an Expo center in Alioth's safe-zone. At this point in time we have already had 12 organizations who have agreed to participate!"
If this event indeed manages to... lift off the ground, it might prove to be a major actor into the Dual Universe industrialization.
The Riddle of Kyrium
Kyrium is the strongest metal known to man, it was used in the construction of the Arkships, its fomula was open-sourced along with Ark blueprints by the U.M.F. to the whole world...
... and not a single Pioneer can remember a thing about it.
Ten thousands year of cryosleep, they say, can damage the brain functions and cause heavy amnesia: this is why Pioneers will have to learn everything again, from industry to piloting to combat, from the ground up through cybernetic implants technology. But that no one, not a single human survivor from Earth, can remember anything about kyrium nor find any record of it raises some questions.
The Great Abandonment, as Earth's Exodus came to become, was riddled with strife and incidents: full-scale wars were waged over access to some Arkships and others were destroyed at launch, and even as Project Rebirth got smeared with rumors of treachery from its powerful international initiators, it became obvious that some of the U.M.F.'s sources were... dubious.
If millions of people were sacrificed for the sake of a few hundred's plot, the sudden lack of metalurgic knowledge about kyrium could be a menacing mystery ripe with thousands of years of maturing.
Alain Damasio, The Storyteller
His name should sound familiar to you, since he's the writer of the 5-part online novel introducing Dual Universe's lore, but Alain Damasio's endeavour in video games actually started in 2008 as co-founder and narrative director for Dontnod Entertainement, the studio that made "Remember Me"
He lives in Lyon, France, and has been working for several years now on his next book, "Les Furtifs".
Noble Pirates - C.O.P.S.
C.O.P.S. (Coalition of Pirates & Smugglers) was big, unifying tens of independant pioneers as well as several already smaller established groups under the banner of good-humored piracy and joyful privateering. C.O.P.S. wanted to shun "clowns sitting at the top of their ivory tower" and promote freedom of will above all. Be they cutting-edge villains or devilishly charming rogues, those ragtag captains of fortune fought for their place in the sunlight under the leadership of Kiklix and Lady Astrum.
Sadly, C.O.P.S. disbanded due to bad personal interactions. Hopefully, the spirit of freedom will be reborn.
A Cosmic Composer - Maxime Ferrieu
Versed since 2005 into music composition and sound design, Maxime is the composer of Dual Universe's enthralling game music. Dual Universe isn't Maxime's first brush with video games, though: among others, he has worked on Avalon Lords and Running Gods.
He also composed soundtracks for various museum/ documentary movies, such as a Grotte Chauvet educational video, and short films, like "L3.0".
Maxime has been working for almost 2 years now with Novaquark, finally joining their team as Lead Audio in March 2018, and lives in the Paris, France, area. You can get in touch with him on his personal site.
DU by Kurock - A View of the Dual Universe
"Famous Writer" Kurock gives us a personal and exhaustive description of the game:
is a Continuous [no loading screens]
Single-Shard [everyone plays on the same "server"]
Sandbox [players choose their own goals]
MMORPG [lots of players]
taking place in a vast [at release, starts as one solar system but expands as player tech reaches more advanced levels...like stargates]
fully editable [the ground, the buildings, the ships]
Sci-Fi universe [a dual universe]
focusing on Emergent Gameplay [what players do matters and could change the world]
with player-driven [player made quests and no npcs] in-game economy [run by players], politics [run for players], trade [between players] and warfare [killing players with handheld and ship mounted weapons]
... [and prospecting for resources, mining those resources, manufacturing them into useable elements, building buildings and atmospheric/space faring vehicles, finding game secrets, trading and blowing each other up. Also subscription based because reasons]"
"I haven't played EVE, but I've been leading gaming communities for the last 14 or so years. Generally speaking, most communities or game branches I've seen died out because of boredom, in-fighting, hopelessness, or game death. This includes the big communities of 300-2000+ active members.
Boredom is a simple cause, it builds up over time, much faster if the game is shallow or otherwise uninteresting. For the community I'm in, our ESO and Division branches were examples of the latter, while our Planetside 2 branch has been going for years, passing off leadership if any of us burn out. Large multi-game communities aren't immune either, as they may be unable to find a game that can hold their interest for the long-term; looking at you, DU!
In-fighting can have a number of sources, but most commonly it's an argument between authoritative figures on policy or action, or disruptive individuals not being dealt with. It's uncommon for all of the major players in a community to play nice for years on end, I myself have argued at length with nearly every leadership figure in my community. Arguments and differing opinions are common place, but you'll find the successful communities are all very clear about their direction, and for everything else, they've got their discussions down to a science. It's natural to have varying opinions and styles, good communities foster acceptance and make use of what these people have to offer, but if a member is unable to fit in or their attempts to sway opinion are biased or hostile, appropriate action needs to be taken. Inexperienced leaders are often too hesitant, or in some cases, too aggressive or distasteful in their response, both of which can lead to further in-fighting. It can be ugly, emotionally charged business, which is one of the reasons why I've taken to saying "Systems are easy, people are not".
Hopelessness is a bit of an interesting one, and probably highly relevant for games like EVE, where there are significant investments involved. I'm referring to the widespread sense of loss or depression following failure, or the realization of pointlessness or impossibility, whether or not that's actually the case. It's important for any community to have direction and focus. Smaller goals will likely change as they're met, while larger aspirations might shape the community's identity. When these fall through it can be depressing, it's up to the leaders and core members of the community to pick up the pieces and begin progress towards the next goal. If they fail to do this, the hopelessness will spread and gradually push the members away. From my experience, it's uncommon to find people with the mental fortitude to weather major incidents on their own, as they not only need to tackle their own feelings about the matter, but what all of their friends are saying, and the challenge of finding a new goal and meaning to strive for. I suspect this is what happened to those EVE guilds after the bloodbath, they chose to give up rather than start anew.
Then there's game death. As the influx of new players dies down recruitment becomes more difficult, and over time the old players will pick up and leave. Sometimes you'll see communities disband while they still have active members, but often times loyalty will keep most of them there until the end. This is how my first community died, 5 years of great health followed by 1-2 years of decline, after which I decided to pull the plug.
None of these need be a quick death. Communities with more resilient core groups can linger on for years, perhaps even making a comeback if the game is healthy and circumstances change, but usually they die quietly as the core members leave one by one."
A History of Misbehave - The Unity League
In July 2016, The Slaxx creates the Alliance of Free Worlds. AFW grow to large numbers then stall when The Slaxx appears to go on a break.
In November 2016, MM The Boss assembles Solar Secure to join the Solar Empire as their security forces; they are kicked out following some spamming issues and MM goes to form another, larger organization: The Void Republic, which unfortunately carry with them their founder's reputation for questionable behaviour.
Around the same time, The Slaxx comes back online: AFW are rebranded as the Galactic Commonwealth and resume a steady members growth.
Neither provocations nor fake accounts allegations prevent TVR from gaining members and supports, but MM gains even more enemies, including Astrophil's Cinderfall Syndicate and Cybrex's Band Of Outlaws. Meanwhile, The Slaxx becomes known for diverse harassment moves.
In July 2017, motivated by their common enmity towards CSyn, MM (now known as Ardour) and The Slaxx become associates: TVR as the Galactic Exchange and GC as the Unity League, backbone of the alliance; UL quickly rise themselves into the Dual Universe Organizations Top 5 and are joined by Frogswarm and Confederation of Independent Systems.
Ardour's and The Slaxx's rise to power also intices some of the most proeminent orgs in Dual Universe - including Terran Union and the Solar Empire - to sign the Obsidio Accords, an agreement to put an official embargo on UL and their allies.
On July 20, a Legate-level sabotage job orchestrated by UL alters CSyn's community page and expels various legitimate members, hurting their numbers;
this move is judged as an exploit by Novaquark: for the first time in Dual Universe's history, community managers step in to neutralize the spies, identify the wet job's managers and add the incident to the pending investigation.
On July 26, after several unheeded warnings, both public and private, Novaquark finally resort to deleting UL altogether and revoking The Slaxx's Alpha Team Vanguard membership. The Slaxx's reaction goes beyond mere anger, corroborating his already known mental issues.
Though calmer, Ardour becomes extensively provocative then officialy leaves Dual Universe, right before the termination of GE and his other orgs by Novaquark the following day.
The Alpha Pioneers
When the Novark reaches the periphery of Alioth, Aphelia, the Arkship's artificial intelligence, will partially awake a select number of colonists - a couple thousands or so - and hook them on a virtual-reality training program while leaving them slumbering still within their cold cocoon.
Those "Alpha" pioneers will then be trained and tested in prevision of the real landing on their future homeworld. They will learn all kinds of survival and building techniques while exploring a simulation of Alioth's ecosystem, generated by Aphelia herself from previous probings of the planet by the Arkship's sensors.
Hosted on the Arkship's own mainframe, already busy with the life-support monitoring of hundreds of thousands Earth survivors, this dream-like simulation will most certainly be imperfect and its durable impact on the trainees' mind remains uncertain: after ten thousands years of deep cryogenic sleep, there's no telling how the pioneer's psyche and memory will harmonize with Aphelia's computerized oniric fabrication.
But this test will be closely watched nonetheless, as it will prove paramount to the next stage of the Rebirth initiative: the actual settling on a new homeworld, where the Alphas will then use this previous experience to lead and teach the other colonists on the field.
Ships and Crews
The technical and logistical limitations faced by Pioneers after they wake up on Alioth will put a cap on their first ambitions, until at last some industry - with possible automation - develops from ressource marketing and blueprint sharing. In these early days, ship builders will have to take those limitations into consideration and some social groups will bud accordingly with the subsequent crew requirements.
The Shuttle will man one person, be it a lone starfighter or a travelling civilian; it will require minimum work to assemble and maintain, with a small cargo and a high speed; when armed, most probably with fix-mounted forward-firing weapons, they'll be dubbed "fighters" and will be used in small groups, either in wolfpack tactics or dogfights; those "crews" will be more like gangs.
The Frigate will require a 3-to-5 crew; sturdier than the shuttle, with a larger cargo, it will also be less maneuverable; it will sport independant swivable turret weapons, used by crewmen while the pilot and his co-pilot/repairman drive the vessel into battle.
The Cruiser will use equipages of 5 and plus; divided into sections connected by hallways, it will boast a superior sturdiness and lesser nimbleness than the frigate; its firepower will be multiplied by the number of manned weapon turrets set along its hull and battle repairs will require vigilance and mobility, thus making the crew-to-stations ratio a most important factor: an undermanned ship will be underpowered and unprotected; team spirit will be the key to its operational success and some organizations could even form solely around the manning of a single cruiser.
The logistics of any space vessel of a larger size, such as full-fledged battlehips and heavyweight freighters, let alone capital ships, remain hypothetical for now.
All in all, though, all these concepts will essentially hinge on a wheight-to-power ratio: classes, terminologies, manhandling and doctrines will only bud from there.
O.D.Y. Tactical Configurations
Objective Driveyards is a heavily industry-oriented organization and though the Dual Universe is still a spark within the mind of thousands of cryostased survivors launched in space, they are already working on solid military ship designs. Those blueprints of future creations go along the classic rules of naval tactics and are good examples of the ship classes already outlined in another Topic.
The Valgard is a Fighter with front dual cannons, designed for light ships brawls and turret suppression. On a sidenote, killing turrets on a larger ship, if proven feasible, offers the fascinating perspective of being able to methodically "defang" a vessel prior to boarding or killing it, possibly after crippling its engines.
The Einar is a Frigate bent on speed and nimbleness at the expense of resistance; it aims at neutralizing slower and moderatly-armed targets.
The Deus Irae is a Cruiser, boasting numerous weapon mounts but there again, designed for fast assault and chirurgical strikes.
In contrast, finally, the Forseti Battleship is a slow and sturdy bruiser made for heavy-duty close combat.
The tactical combination of all ship classes' particularities will prove a strongpoint of any combat commander and we can only hope more research will be poured by every industrial organizations into always-new designs.