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A new survival MMO for Dune is coming: Now there is a first gameplay trailer

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For a long time it was quiet about Dune: Awakening. For the release of the movie Dune Part 2, the Funcom team released a Dune: Awakening Direct with new gameplay videos and insights into the creation of the survival MMO.

Dune: Awakening will be a survival MMO and is currently in development at Funcom. The game is based on the Dune universe, which you might currently know from the cinema, but also from the books.

Just in time for the current theatrical release of Dune Part 2, which adapts the second half of the first Dune novel, the development team around creative director Joel Bylos released a Dune: Awakening direct.

Funcom also invited MeinMMO to see Dune Direct in advance. This allowed us to take a closer look at the gameplay and analyze the trailer. MeinMMO also had the chance to ask the development team questions about the game. We have included the answers here.

There was a lot of information about the production of the game, but also the first gameplay in the trailer. You can watch this here:

Dune: Awakening – Survive Arrakis Trailer

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Setting and Survival – This is what awaits you in Dune: Awakening

What kind of world does the game take place in? Dune: Awakening takes place on the planet Arrakis, the main setting of the two Dune films by Denis Villeneuve and the corresponding book. The desert planet is absolutely inhospitable – the life that thrives there is highly specialized.

But even though there are far more hospitable planets, people face the deadly challenge with vigor: the drug is available on Arrakis Spice, in German spice or melange. This mind-expanding drug is essential to ensure the survival of people in the Dune universe.

Accordingly, people take on even the toughest challenges to obtain Spice. Arrakis' burning sun makes survival without a protective suit impossible, huge sandstorms turn over acres of the landscape and monstrous worms threaten the spice harvest.

Additionally, every power mining spice on Arrakis fights with the locals. The so-called Fremen mostly stay to themselves. Survival on Arrakis is in their blood and they are at least suspicious, if not hostile, of their occupiers.

The deeper you venture into the desert, the better the loot gets. But survival becomes more difficult. In addition, the entire desert zone is PvP – according to the developers, Arrakis should keep you on your toes with its many challenges.

It's not just the surface of Arrakis that's deadly. The iconic worms from Dune lurk hidden in the sand.

Where are you in Arraki's food chain? At least at the very bottom at the beginning. Your first task is simply to survive. To do this, as is known from other survival games, you have to manage resources and defy the deadly environment.

On Arrakis this primarily means fighting for water, shade, equipment and spice. However, the latter is not essential for your survival – it becomes more important in the mid and end game.

You have a variety of options for obtaining water. Springs, water bottles in the loot but also other living beings can provide you with water. According to creative director Joel Bylos, you can also use other people – including your fellow players – as sources of water, as in the film Dune Part 2.

For your fellow players, you are simply a resource that needs to be mined when things get tough.

From the beginning to the endgame: Survival becomes a plotter

What does the gameplay loop look like? Your first task is to get water, shade and equipment. The next step is to make your survival easier.

You can buy and sell raw materials from traders. But you will find most of them between the dunes of the desert planet.

In addition to crafting materials, you also need blueprints that you can loot or buy. These serve as instructions with which you can unlock item recipes and then craft them. These can be components for your bases, armor, weapons or transporters – think of the dragonfly-like ornithopters from the films.

In Dune: Awakening you don't hop on the back of an animal, but rather craft sand bikes or the iconic ornithopters.

The major cities on Arrakis are protected areas where you can build your permanent bases. However, you can also set it up outside in the desert. The deeper you go into the desert, the better the loot becomes and the more important it is to have a constant supply of basic resources.

The deeper you are in the desert, the rougher the tone becomes: On the one hand, other players await you here with whom you fight for spice, schemes and raw materials. On the other hand, you always have to be on the lookout for the huge sandworms – speed and a high degree of attentiveness are absolutely important, otherwise you will quickly become worm food.

But so that you don't walk through the same desert again and again, there are Coriolis storms. These forces of nature are said to regularly sweep through the entire desert and completely change the layout of the map. You are only safe in the cities, because your desert bases can also survive the storms very well.

After every storm there are other things to discover: For example, you can loot spaceship wrecks that will disappear under the dunes during the next storm. Spice fields, ruins and other points that need to be visited are distributed differently in the world after each storm and bring fresh loot.

After every sandstorm the world looks different.

So once you have met your basic needs, you will set off again and again into the inhospitable desert to feast on its diverse gifts.

A special mechanic comes into play: you can create diagrams of your bases yourself. So if a base breaks during a storm, you can quickly rebuild it somewhere else using a pre-made diagram.

Incidentally, Creative Director Joel Bylos explained in a Q&A about the game that this function is not just intended as a gameplay mechanic: The development team has seen that players create great buildings. In Conan Exiles, for example, someone built a replica of the Taj Mahal. In Dune: Awakening you can now save your bases as a scheme and sell them to other players

What should the endgame look like? Anyone who ventures into the endgame should not be limited to just one linear path. In Dune: Awakening, once your basic survival needs are met, you have a variety of options. But they continue to send you all into the desert.

If you want, you can dedicate yourself to the spice harvest, for example. Spice is the most sought-after raw material in the galaxy and there are always enough buyers. Unfortunately, there are not enough deposits: so you will always be competing with other players for the few deposits.

If you don't want to become a spice baron, you can specialize in crafting. The deeper you go into the desert, the better the loot. The chances that you will find new, not yet widespread crafting recipes continue to increase.

This is important because in Dune: Awakening items can only exist or be crafted at the same time to a limited extent. So if you have the blueprint for a rare item, you can craft it and sell it on to your fellow players at a high price.

If you're finally really advanced, you should even be able to get involved in the high politics around Arrakis. However, exactly what this will look like is not yet clear at this point.

Character creation and interaction – PvP or cooperation?

How do you develop your character? Unfortunately, it is not yet known what exactly the character editor will look like. However, during the Q&A with Joel Bylos, he stated that at the beginning you choose skills that your character has already mastered.

You can learn new skills from masters located all over the world. Some of them are easy to find. Others are hidden. This gives you the chance to gain benefits by exploring the world.

Your character also levels up. However, weapons and armor are not tied to your level. So you can simply rob other players or let them equip you. In fact, according to Bylos, that's exactly what the development team is hoping for: Advanced players could help newcomers, but also have cannon fodder in the battles for the spice fields.

You can actually tell your progress by the complexity of your base and the items you can craft. And that the original survival aspect of the game is increasingly taking a back seat.

Play together or against each other? Dune: Awakening gives you the freedom to choose whether you want to play with or against the other players: you can supply each other with equipment and even build bases together. If you set up a scheme, your fellow players can add the resources and complete the construction.

Don't forget to save your bases as a schema. Otherwise you'll start from 0 after the next sandstorm.

You can also set up guilds that pursue common goals and, if they are large enough, can also secure political power. However, since not every guild pursues the same goals, conflicts are inevitable. An example:

Guild A should bring back 10,000 units of Spice. But Guild B needs the spice for their faction. But after the last storm there may only be a few mining fields to fight over.

The entire desert should also become a PvP area. In addition to the always lurking sandworms and storms, you also always have to be on guard against other players. As written above, you are also a good source of the most important commodity on Arrakis: water.

Dune: Awakening sounds good – now it just has to get good

The survival MMO actually sounds very interesting. Above all, the idea that the well-known survival loop can be replaced by political and economic intrigue over time sounds exciting.

However, with the current state of information, I can't yet imagine exactly how these can work together. It sounds like big ambitions that first have to be implemented.

In fact, the dev team seems to be aware of this. Although they are now showing the first gameplay and the first closed betas are running, they are not yet at a point where they want to set a release date. You would want to take the time to program a good game.

Dune: Part Two – German trailer for the sequel to the sci-fi epic

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According to their colleagues on site, the development team is very passionate about the game and the Dune universe. Joel Bylo's eyes also literally light up when he talks about situations in the closed beta: The participants recently had a race with one of the giant sandworms.

After watching the two films, I'm personally itching to explore the world of Dune myself. Dune: Awakening seems to give me exactly that. After playing a few survival games lately, I have to admit that I'm very interested in the endgame options in the areas of politics and trade. If everything turns out the way the devs planned.

Dune: Awakening can be really good. The team has the ambition and background to publish a very good survival MMO. We keep our fingers crossed that everything works out as they hope.

But it's probably still a while away from the release. But if you want to get a taste of the Dune epic now, you should definitely see Dune Part 2 in the cinema. MeinMMO editor-in-chief Leya Jankowski even says: If you don't go to the cinema for this sci-fi epic, you're missing out on film history

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