Tuesday, 29 January 2013

DUST514: A fumble-fingered noobie returns!

I spent the weekend staying with a friend who has just got back into DUST. He's in one of the top corps in the world, is consistently top scorer every match and is generally awesome. His corp is so good I can't even think about joining him there. Still I had a great time fumbling my way around and even - gasp! - murdering people occasionally in straight fights.

Travel to exotic places, meet interesting people and kill them!

Some background: I'm terrible at shooters. Not terrible in the way that some Eve alliances use it as insulating propaganda masking solid but unexceptional competence. Really terrible - I skipped that whole part of my education. The PS3 I bought a few months back to play DUST on is the first console I've owned.

I'm very cackhanded with the controller. I have to look at it to see where the buttons I should press are and sometimes forget which button does what. I even manage to forget which button makes it shoot despite its being intuitively designed so that the trigger on the controller is the button where you put what in real life would be your trigger finger.

Despite that I managed to shoot a few people. My worse stats were around 0 kills 10 deaths but my best which I repeated a few times was around 5 kills/5 deaths.

Now it is possible to use a mouse and keyboard and no doubt I'll switch to that and never look back in due course. A simple plug and play mouse and keyboard are apparently fine.

What surprised me was how much fun I had despite being rubbish.

The highlight of the weekend was a game we invented called Bonk! To play Bonk! simply summon an armoured car, find people to run over and as you run them over say out loud: "Bonk!" It's hugely fun! In one match he ran 14 people over. No sooner than one bad guy would smear himself across our windscreen than another would foolishly step out into the middle of the road and try shooting. It was glorious although he wasn't able to repeat such a marvellous performance in later attempts.

For most of the weekend we alternated, taking turns on his PS3. I tried out a little of everything, having gone in with the idea that the relatively immobile gameplay style of the sniper would suit my inept PS3 skills.

Sniping didn't really work for me. When you snipe you're trying to pick off very tiny dots a long way away. Plus it's quite easy when you don't know the maps to pick what you think is a great spot then realise after a boring 5 minutes that you're guarding the back end of nowhere and you'll never have people turn up and let you shoot them. Plus I did a lot of bumping into bad guys at close range while looking for a suitable perch which was always a free kill to them.

I tried medic. On the face of it medic should be good - it should be easier to shoot your thingy at people who aren't killing you than ones who are. In practice repairing people is really hard as they run away from you all the time, focusing on your patient gets you killed when your patient runs into a big gang of bad guys and the revive option is an exercise in frustration as you spend 30 seconds moving over to a person only to have them release and respawn just as you get close. No one expects to get revives in a match which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I tried pistol. Apparently it's quite effective if you shoot someone in the head. I never killed anyone with a pistol. For those of us at the stage where getting the gun pointed at the bad guy at all is a major achievement specific body locations fall into the category of You've Gotta Be Kidding. Next!

I tried heavy machine gun and heavy armour. Now that's a playstyle that's much easier for me. The gun has a nice big circle so if you're pointing at the bad guy you don't need to be perfect to hit. And the armour is just survivable enough that some even fights where they shoot you for the same time as you shoot them turn out as a win for you.

So that's the one I'll be sticking with.

After the weekend I came home and started what turned out to be the download from hell. Initial estimate was 1110 minutes. Like most downloads that's just for one part of a multi-part process. In the end it took over 24 hours to get into game which appalled me but which is apparently standard for a console download.

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