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Survival MMO Dune: Awakening wants to 'pull people away from competing and fighting over bases' and have them battle over spice instead

 Sci-fi character from Dune.
Sci-fi character from Dune.

Earlier this month we learned a bit more about survival MMO Dune: Awakening's base-building system—namely, that to claim a piece of Arrakis for yourself, you have to pay the emperor for it. Yep, even 20,000 years in the future on an alien planet, you've still gotta pay taxes.

Last week at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, we learned even more about Dune: Awakening's player bases. While base invasions by other players is a feature in a lot of multiplayer games like Rust, Ark, and DayZ, Funcom wants to encourage players to clash in other ways.

"One of the approaches with PvP we wanted to take in Dune was to pull people away from competing and fighting over bases and destroying each other's things," said Bylos, "and instead have them competing over resources in the world at locations."

Those resources will most often be spice (also called melange), the drug that's the most precious resource in the entire galaxy. "Spice blows" will occur as world events in Dune: Awakening, visible to players around the map as a huge geyser of spice erupts from the sand like a volcano. During the race to harvest these spice blows, or while trying to transport their haul, is where Funcom would like players to battle, rather than raiding each other's home bases.

"We think PvP works best when people are vying over resources, or trying to return resources to base, and fighting over something that's not as personal as your base," said Scott Junior, executive producer of Dune: Awakening. "So, that's what we're trying to do here."

We don't want to attract the people that want to kick over your sandcastle.

Which isn't to say bases can't ever be invaded. "There is a way to do it," Junior said. Players use a device called a sub-fief console to claim land and establish their base, and that console has a shield. "If you generate the shield, then players can't interact with you," said Junior. "Like Joel said, we don't want to attract the people that want to kick over your sandcastle."

If your shield depletes or you turn it off, your base will be vulnerable, not just to other players but to damage from events like sandstorms. And as you advance through the game and move deeper into the world, you may reach a point where you want to participate in base raids against other players.

"In the starting map, base raids will be pretty much non-existent," Junior said. "However in the later stages, which are more of a PvP type thing, there will be scenarios where something like that can happen. However, the player basically has to opt into it in order for that to happen."