EVE Online's free-to-play PlayStation 3 persistent-world multiplayer shooter counterpart, DUST 514, is officially launching on — wait for it — May 14. Clever, CCP.
Since I'm a former EVE player, I spent some time in the Dust 514 beta, but I left it unimpressed. The shooting mechanics were wonky (sniper rifles were only good for relatively close-range work), goals weren't well articulated, team communication was a chore, the in game shops and itemization were poorly explained, and I didn't enjoy the startup sequences (not unlike stopping at a hangar in EVE). All in all I found Dust 514 to be a poor shooter compared to the state of the marketplace.
For contrast, I tried Hawken.. and am in love. For a beta game the mechanics are spot-on, the combat is fun and well-paced, and everything feels the way a shooting game should feel. Controls were snappy and responsive, lag was non-existent, and the people playing were having a great deal of fun.
When I think back to how my last run at Dust 514's games ended in a string of disconnections and server problems, I find I'm not giddy for its global release. I hope they've improved it since I saw it last, but I'm worried that CCP is treading too far from their core competency.