If you've been following DUST 514 for any reasonable length of time, chances are you will have heard the cries of sadness from many EVE Online players over the fact that DUST 514 will not be appearing on PC at launch. "I don't want to have to buy a PS3!", say some. "Console players smell bad and only know jokes related to my mother!", says others. However, there's another group that actually have some merit to their argument. But who are they? They're the keyboard and mouse users. They claim that the humble keyboard and mouse is mightier than the controller native to today's consoles. So what is the difference between the keyboard and mouse (which I'll shorten to KB/M), and the controller?
The controller is designed with one purpose. Gaming. Modern controllers are built to be simple to pick up by new gamers. Each of the buttons is simply labelled and usually colour coded. They also have a benefit of having every single key easy to reach. Ever tried to reach any of the keys on the right hand side of your keyboard while playing an FPS? It's not easy without taking your hand away from the all important WASD (which for those that don't know, is your movement keys). One other feature they posses that is often overlooked is pressure sensitive buttons and joysticks. These really shine when driving vehicles or trying to walk slowly. With a keyboard it's either stationary or full speed ahead.
What about the keyboard and mouse? They were originally designed for using a computer. However, they have adapted well to games in general. They especially shine in RTS game compared to controllers due to the sheer number of keys you have available for hot keys. But what about for FPS games? An often cited benefit of mice over controllers is the sheer precision they have. This allows you to not only aim quickly , but also accurately aim. In FPS games, this is often the difference between life and death. They usually also feature greater customisability - you can usually (depending on the game) remap anything to anywhere you want.
So which one is better? As far as DUST 514 is concerned, it doesn't matter since you can use either of them. Yes, that's right. After sending away some emails asking for answers to important questions I was informed by CCP that the keyboard and mouse will have full support in DUST 514 on PS3.
But don't pop the champagne just yet. What does this mean for DUST 514? What happens when you throw both the KB/M and the controller into the same arena? Many players will point to a story that Microsoft was going to start a massive project to bring PC and Xbox 360 gamers together in the same game as a major part of the console. The story goes that they decided to shelve the project entirely when it turned out that average PC gamers would soundly beat even the best Xbox 360 players they had available. But where does the story come from? Turns out it's from HP's Rahul Sood (Founder of Voodoo. Just mind the plug for webOS at the end).
But is he right? From Joystiq's experience with Shadowrun back in 2007, he might not be completely right. Shadowrun, for those that don't know, was a game for both the Xbox 360 and PC that allowed you play cross-platform. According to them, the PC and Xbox 360 shared a similar number of victories in their play test sessions, despite the difference in input devices. They say that it comes down to is how the developer builds the game mechanics - the keyboard and the controller were on equal footing because the game play was designed as such.
So in the end what does this mean? It means that CCP needs to give me a beta key so I can test out both control schemes myself, because no other way is going to show me which one is better for DUST 514.
And to those that say "What about the PS Move?" I've never used it so I'll reserve judgement until I have done so. But from what I've heard, it's effectiveness also depends on how well CCP implements it and the particular scheme they use.
Update from CCP_Jian on twitter for those that don't trust our news still:
@EONmagazine and those asking for an "official statement": DUST 514 *will* support keyboard and mouse on PS3
— Brandon Laurino (@CCP_Jian) February 7, 2012