Up until now, all footage and information about Dual Universe has mostly focused on the way the game is structured and what players can do in it together — but now developer Novaquark is revealing details on what players can do in it to each other, and I got to see the PvP in action and get answers to a few of my questions.
Dual Universe PvP Multiplayer Screenshots
Comprehending the scale of combat in Dual Universe is difficult since it’s not enough to just explain how space combat works or show what spaceships shooting lasers looks like. We’ve all seen that before, so the context here is key.
These aren’t ships that players grinded out money for to buy, or grinded out resources to craft from a menu. These ships, including the massive space stations and multi-person carriers, were all built from scratch by players. Entire cities — from the ground up — are built by players. And it’s all seamless.
During the demo I saw some combat moments and highlights including massive freighters stationed by several people in real-time, as well as needing to physically get up and run through the ship to perform repairs. In a lot of ways, the collaborative starship crew is reminiscent of a pirate crew in Sea of Thieves, but (presumably) with a lot more variables.A lot of that sounds hyperbolic, so to keep things grounded just remember that the Open Beta period still hasn’t launched yet. This means it’s all still mostly theoretical in Closed Alpha since there are only around 20,000 players total at the moment. Whether or not this is all as seamless and smooth once more people are online remains to be seen.
Gameplay also looks a bit slow to me. After dogfighting in games like EVE: Valkyrie and Elite Dangerous, along with Star Wars Squadrons coming soon, the scream of a TIE Fighter, the quick banking around debris, and explosive weapons rocketing across space are what I think of. The PvP gameplay in Dual Universe, by comparison, feels unfinished – which, to be fair, it is.
Most ships seem to coast through space at a leisurely pace and don’t zip around very quickly. Intuitively this makes sense because, from a technical perspective, it’s likely extremely difficult to accommodate for all of that on a server designed to host so many people at the same time. But from a player perspective, it’s not as exciting to look at as many other space combat games.Due to how Dual Universe is structured as a true sandbox, though, PvP is more of a means to an end than an activity people are likely to participate in frequently. If someone has something you want or is hogging an area or resource you’d like access to, then launching an attack makes sense.
Or maybe they attacked you or your friends so the goal is payback. But there is significant risk associated with attacking another player. You don’t just respawn with all your gear back at a base somewhere. Every ship represents hours of work so there is a lot at stake.
Similar to games like EVE Online, there is real potential here for enormous space battles with hundreds or maybe even thousands of players in one area engaged in huge fight — but it’s all organic. You don’t queue for PvP, it just happens in the world as a result of putting humans together. We naturally fight each other; it’s inevitable.
Novaquark isn’t talking about other forms of PvP yet, such as on-foot combat or ground-based vehicles, but once everything is on display it could make for something really special. Whether or not Dual Universe can deliver on its lofty promises remains to be seen, but you shouldn’t have to wait too much longer to get a taste since the Open Beta launches on August 27th, with a full launch planned for next year.
David Jagneaux is a freelance writer for IGN. Talk RPGs with him on Twitter at @David_Jagneaux.