CCP are approaching the culmination of their ambitious cross-platform/cross-game EVE/Dust 514 experiment. Following some scheduled downtime, Dust 514's Playstation 3 userbase will be taking a battleship to Tranquility, EVE's central server.
What does this mean for existing EVE players? CCP's Nullarbor explains the switch in a community update . "DUST mercenaries can belong to existing EVE corporations if you're willing to accept their applications. Similarly you will see corporations started by DUST mercenaries recruiting EVE pilots to join up with them. You can share corporation chat including voice chat and invite them into custom channels or private conversations."
Of course, this isn't just a social visit. While CCP's decision to make Dust a PS3 exclusive is downright bizarre, at least you'll get the chance to order them about the place. "We are also introducing the first component of higher level gameplay as part of Faction Warfare. DUST mercenaries can accept contracts offered by the NPC Faction Warfare miltias and fight to attack or defend them in the form of corporation battles."
Naturally there's a risk/reward element to this, with the potential to lose a collateral payment of ISK. The benefit is control of a district of Faction Warfare space. As Nullarbor notes, "the more districts a militia has control over the fewer victory points will be required for EVE Faction Warfare pilots to take ownership of the system."
To tip the balance of battle, Orbital Bombardments will also be enabled. These use the blueprints already available in EVE's markets, and can be used to rain down fire on the little men below. Probably while cackling. One Reddit user has already captured the Orbital Bombardments at work.
Not the most exciting video, admittedly, but getting live from-the-ground updates of your artillery barrage does sound cool as hell.
Dust 514 is currently in closed beta, so don't expect a huge flood of new players. As the game progresses towards launch, it'll be interesting to see how this plays into EVE's economic meta-game, and the audacious stories it sometimes creates.