I keep getting emails from the MMO sandbox-slash-builder Dual Universe and every time I get an email I go to the site to look at the project. Every time I visit the site I hover over the button that would net me an entry-level package and access to their current Alpha test. Every time I hover over the button I get annoyed at the project for some reason. DU looks pretty awesome, allowing players to have a Landmark-like experience — but in space. It promises some really deep player-run economies with intense corporate meta-gaming like EVE Online — but…eh…also in space. And they’re going to have open PvP, with “safe zones” catering to those who want to farm space potatoes, I guess.

“This is Spud-One, requesting permission to dock”

[Record scratch] Maybe that’s the sticking point. I’m up to my medulla oblongata in Star Citizen right now, which doesn’t talk a lot about player economics like DU, nor does it offer the ability for players to actually design and build space ships, stations, and ground vehicles and buildings like DU, but it does have open PvP, and I seem to be kind of fine with that. Of course, I am in a 200-person corporation in SC, which seems like a logical tack to take in DU should I opt into that game as well. But whereas I’ve been with SC since the beginning, I’m coming into DU late, and feel like joining up with a group is like jumping into a foreign film in the middle of the plot and someone forgot to turn on the subtitles. Add to that the idea that I might spend a lot of time harvesting and refining just so I could make a cool ship or a swanky base, only to have it steamrolled by the “we’re just RPing Galactic Assholes!” contingent. I don’t know what kind of restitution — if any — exists or is planned for this game, but even the potential for such a scenario puts me off.

Would YOU want to have to rebuild all of this?

Also, DU promises to be a monthly subscription game. Right now I’m kind of done with monthly subscription games, not because I don’t think there aren’t any worth the price, but because I have other interests these days that I would rather that $15 go to each month. I’m not hurting for diversions, and I feel that if I were to get in on the alpha phase of DU, I’d be obligated to get back on that hamster wheel of monthly subscriptions.

They are also window-based alpha tests, so buying into the testing right now would be a ticket to Waitsville. The next test is scheduled for when I’ll be away, so I’d then have to wait for the next next window and…that’s just not enough substance for the price of admission right now.

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