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4 facts that show that there are real Dune nerds behind the new survival MMO

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Just in time for the cinema release of Dune Part 2, the first gameplay of the new survival MMO Dune: Awakening can be seen. We were able to speak to the developers at Funcom and have 5 things for you that every Dune fan should know about the game.

On March 4th, developer Funcom released one Direct to Dune: Awakening. There was new information about the survival MMO, even if nothing was announced about a potential release date.

Funcom also invited MeinMMO to watch the Direct earlier. We had the opportunity to ask the game's creative director Joel Bylos and Funcom's senior PR manager Natascha Röösli questions about the game.

Here we have answers for you to four questions about the game that are exciting for fans of the Dune films and books. You can read everything that is known about the gameplay so far and the information we brought you from the event in our special: Just in time for the hit film Dune Part 2: The first gameplay is here, but we'll reveal more

You can see the current gameplay trailer here:

Dune: Awakening shows gameplay for the survival MMO for the first time

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4 questions and 4 answers for Dune fans about Dune: Awakening

Can I ride sandworms in the game?

It was only hinted at in the first of the two new Dune films. In the second we finally see it in action: the Fremen, the natives of the desert planet Arrakis, can ride the giant sandworms and look extremely cool doing it.

Sandworms also exist in Dune: Awakening: They are a constant, if mostly invisible, threat in the desert. Only escaping into the air or onto stony terrain will save you and your equipment such as spice harvesters. If you spot them in time.

Dune: Awakening Sandworm
The sandworms in Dune are also at the start in the MMO. Don't worry, you must always be on your guard.

Unfortunately, you can't ride the worms in Dune: Awakening. At least not yet. In conversation with Natascha Röösli, she stated that the team would actually be very happy to implement the mechanic:

This (sandworm riding) is very difficult to get right. And because we really want to have that in the game, we're working towards it. But at the moment we don't know when that will happen. (…) We just want to be proud of a mechanic we built into the game. Especially when it's something as important as sandworm riding. We want to do this really well, and we want the player to say, “OK, this is fantastic.

Of course, it's a shame that such an essential part of Dune probably won't make it into the game for release. Basically, it's a good thing if mechanics aren't forced into a devil-may-care approach and then implemented poorly.

But it's not always evening yet: the developers themselves seem to really want to have sandworm rides. If they find the right approach, they'll probably add the mechanics as soon as they can.

How much of the official Dune lore is in the game?

Dune is much more than just the first book and its film adaptations. Frank Herbert alone published six novels and wrote one short story. There is also the Dune encyclopedia and the works of Herbert's son Brian Herbert along with sci-fi author Kevin J. Anderson. But the encyclopedia in particular provides a huge amount of insight into the history of the Dune universe and how it works.

One of the particularly obscure facts is, for example, that the Technologywhich is used in Dune, is in many cases operated by highly specialized animals and insects:

In the light-giving ones Glow Globes, which are mentioned on almost every page of the books but never explained, are small, brightly glowing worms. According to the encyclopedia, the wings of the ornithopter, which is also known from the films, are powered by specially bred scallops.

Dune: Awakening Ornithopter
Ornithopters are a dime a dozen on Arrakis. In the game, however, they are driven with traditional mechanics. Not with highly specialized scallops.

When asked whether the crafting in Dune: Awakening also takes the animals used in the technology into account, Joel Bylos had to grin: That was in the Dune Encyclopedia, and part of the thing we agreed on is that the Dune Encyclopedia isn't really canon. We also spoke to the Herbert Estate about it. So we pushed that aside a little bit. We focused on the mechanical side of building the machines.

Natascha Röösli later stated that they really work very closely with the Herbert Estate. If they wanted to do something in the game differently than what is established in the official lore, they also receive support from Brian Herbert himself, who continued his father's books.

But she also says: If something isn't in the game, it's usually because the mechanics are too complex. Or we can't really implement it in a way that does justice to it.

The team behind Dune: Awakening seems to be making every effort to stay as close to the lore as possible. But due to technical limitations, not everything will make it into the final game.

How important is your own guild in the political endgame?

As in any good MMO, in Dune: Awakening you can create guilds that can each join one of two factions. Together you build bases, explore the desert and harvest spice.

What is Spice?

Spice is a drug that is essential for space travel in the Dune universe and is also used as currency. Anyone who takes Spice over a long period of time will get the bright blue eyes that the Fremen have in the Dune films, for example.

Specifically, Spice is used outside of Arrakis by the Navigators' Guild: By taking the drug, they gain almost clairvoyant abilities, which they use to determine safe courses for spaceships.

The background to this is that thousands of years before the story surrounding Paul Atreides, humanity banned all computer-like technology. Accordingly, specially trained people must take on tasks such as highly complex space navigation.

Once you have secured your survival and always have enough water at your disposal, the end game begins for you. You can either concentrate on trading and crafting or show political ambitions.

Creative Director Joel Bylos explained in a Q&A with journalists that politics are important in the endgame friendlier than in Eve Online, but above all with clear direction: The so-called Landsraat, an intergalactic association of the great houses, gives you orders. If you fulfill these, you win votes for your faction.

The catch? According to Joel Bylos, you have to find out the Landsraat's goals and objectives through espionage missions among members of the great houses. In addition: Each guild can join one of two factions, which equally try to fulfill the orders of the governor. Given the limited resources, this quickly brings you into conflict with your fellow players.

But if you play your cards right and complete mission after mission with your guild, you will gain more and more influence. This way you can work your way up from a band of nobodies to the status of one of the smaller houses subordinate to the big houses.

Where on the Dune timeline does Dune: Awakening take place?

During the press event, to which MeinMMO was also invited, Joel Bylos announced that Dune: Awakening takes place in an alternative version of the so-called War of the Assassins.

The Assassin's War, as described in the books and the additional material, begins around the year 10,187 – around 4 years before the desert war around Paul Atreides known from the first book and the film adaptations.

During these four years, tensions arise between the big houses, which end in several targeted assassination attempts. Arrakis is still in the firm hands of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. House Atreides, already led by Duke Leto Atreides (Paul's father), still remains on its home planet.

Dune title
During the events of Dune: Awakening, Paul experiences his own first adventures and even foils an assassination attempt.

The trigger for the war is the death of a member of the Moritani house. Since he died on the planet Ecaz from a disease that was widespread there, his father takes revenge on the Ecaz family that rules there. Ultimately, House Harkonnen and House Moritani stand on one side, while House Atreides supports House Moritani.

However, the main part of the conflict does not take place on Arrakis, but takes place on various planets in the universe. In the last year of the war, however, it was discovered that Baron Vladimir Harkonnen had created secret stocks of spice that he did not sell in normal trade. This is one of the triggers for the recall of the Atreides to Arrakis, as you see in the first Dune movie.

Dune: Awakening takes place during these four years of turmoil between the houses. According to creative director Joel Bylos, the previous history of the Dune universe was slightly different:

An important decision was made in the book and film universe that would have made the MMO on Arrakis impossible. For the game, the devs rewrote the story so that this decision was different.

Unfortunately, the devs remained tight-lipped about the decision itself. Therefore, we cannot say at this point what exactly is different than in the book and film universe. What is certain, however, is that the team is following the books and films as closely as possible.

What decision do you think the devs made differently for Dune: Awakening? Or do you not care as long as you can become the next Spice Overlord on Arrakis? Write it to us in the comments.

A fifth exciting point is that the game is very much based on the look of the films. How close you can read here: New survival MMO Dune: Awakening relies on closeness to the films and has big shoes to follow

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