Dune Awakening Q&A PAX East 2024

At PAX East 2024, we met with Funcom to preview their upcoming game Dune Awakening. During the Dune Awakening preview, Funcom showed off multiple gameplay elements from building a base/speeder to tackling combat within the world and avoiding the deadly Sandworm. If you want to read more about the video presentation, you can click here. After the presentation, we got to speak with Natascha from Funcom and ask about what we can expect from the game. Here are those questions and answers.

Dune Awakening Q&A

How Many Players Per Server

So MMO has sort of been tossed around, is it a single server? How many people per server? Are players locked to a server?

Funcom – You do choose a server when you first make your character. We have a blog coming out that explains our server structure as well. We are doing something completely new by mixing the survival server-aspect and MMO server approach. So we’ve seen the area that we are playing in mostly the Hagga Basin, the survival map, that we have first that you start off with; that is going to be 40 to 100 people in that area. Then we have the social house that will have hundreds of players in there from different servers that will be thrown in there. Then we have the Deep Desert, which is even bigger. The map is 9x the size of Conan Exiles; there will be hundreds of players from all kinds of servers that can play with or against in those areas.

Character Design = Story Ending?

Is there an overarching story and is there customization options, such as race, that affect the story?

Funcom – So there is an important main story quest, it is not based on how you look at the beginning, it is very much in line with the lore. You can look like an Atreides but be someone else. The look of your character doesn’t impact that but the decisions that you make throughout the game and the decisions you make through the main story quests will impact that and which faction you are going to align yourself to.

Private Servers?

Will the game have private servers if you want to play with your community or select individuals?

Funcom – So we are looking into that but because of the server structure that we have, as I explained earlier, it is a little bit more tricky on how that will happen but we are looking into it. Because we know that it is important for content creators to be able to play with their community, so we will have a solution for this.

Party/Guild Size?

When it comes to parties, how many people can you have in a party or guild?

Funcom – We have a party and group system. At the moment, we haven’t set a cap on how big guilds can be right now. It will mostly be a normal MMO size.

How PVP Works

PVP Focus, so we talked about mixing PVP with PVE in the three areas, what are the PVP zones within, and how do they work?

Funcom – In order to answer that question, I will need to explain our approach to PVP. We are not big fans of kicking over your sandcastle approach to PVP. Kicking is fun to do but it is generally not fun to be received. Our PVP is not focused on raiding your base, it’s not like taking things from you in that regard; we aren’t taking things that you are attached to because generally, that’s not fun or fair. PVP is generally not fair where it is not 1 vs 1 but rather 1 vs many; if someone has the opportunity they will take it. Our PVP is not about base raiding, it is about finding world objectives and resources; it is way more strategic and tactical.

So for example at Hagga Basin, you don’t have PVP there. Your base is always protected as long as you have power. The social hubs are also normally protected as well. The Deep Desert is the main PVP area that you opt into. You can build your base there as well if you want to but even with a shield, the Coriolis storm that will take down your shield and destroy your base. It means there’s always a risk vs reward. That map is wiped every week; the Coriolis Storm will wipe everything that is in there but it will tell you in advance so that you can get to safety; it can completely reshape the landscape. New points of interest and new areas and resources you will have to map out again.

Content Locked in PVP?

How much of the content/gameplay loops will be locked into that PVP area?

Funcom – It is mostly the end-game content. When you start doing the political aspect of the game trying to get into the favor of the factions or interrupting the political systems. As a solo player, you can always explore the end-game content. For example, the spice harvesting you can do as a solo player; it will not be as efficient but you can still try to do that on your own. You can fly in, lower the crawler, and then get spice. You can go into the PVP areas and try to assassinate people. Sneak into a big fight or you can steal someone’s spice harvest with your transporter. Another option for solo players is to survey the desert to create your own maps; by creating cards you can sell the cards on the exchange to the big guilds that want the information to gather resources.

Dune Awakening Sandstorm & Spice

Solo Player vs PVP

It seems like there is a fair amount of content in the Deep Desert, as a solo player how much of the end game deals with PVP?

Funcom – I mean there is always the Ecolabs (dungeons), the shipwrecks have PVP, but the political endgame is very much focused on the Deep Desert but you don’t have to opt into PVP.

Death Penalties

What happens if you are assassinated? Do you drop it or what happens?

Funcom – We can talk about death penalties in general. If someone kills you, you will drop the things on your body and they can loot you. If you die to NPCs or the Sandstorm, you will lose some of your things; you will drop some of your coins, Solari, and resources, and your equipment will take some damage. However, you don’t want to die to a Sandworm because they will swallow you whole and everything that’s on your body or in the area you will lose, including your vehicle. That was a frustrating point for some of our beta testers; so that’s why we introduced a copy tool for vehicles so you can have a backup of the design in case you are dying so you are not stranded out in the Deep Desert. We needed to make the Sandworm a bit threatening.

Dune Awakening Sand Worm

Sandworm Effects

Will the Sandworm destroy your base or will your base be safe?

Funcom – They will absolutely destroy your base if you build it on the Deep Desert Sand. They will not like it if you have complex machinery in your base; they will show you who is the boss of the planet. If you build them on the rocky areas, they will be completely safe.

Ride the Sandworm

Is there a way to ride the Sandworms?

Funcom – Not yet but there will be. The thing is, it is a very iconic moment and we wanted to make sure that we give that experience justice and not that it is a glorified mount; that is not really what they are about. So we wanted to have a good mechanic and make it something rewarding. It will not be ready at launch most likely.

Repeat Dungeons

As you are exploring will there be repeat dungeons as you play through the story?

Funcom – No there will be normal cinematics that will set up the world as it is loading.

Dune Awakening Skill Tree

Gaining/Changing Skills

As you get new mentors, will you be adding on to your skills overall or will you lose some as you learn new ones? Do you have a set skill tree?

Funcom – As you get new mentors and complete their missions, you unlock new skill trees that will be always available. As you bond with them and get enough favor, they will teach you skills

Skill Points & Leveling

Earlier we talked about there are different ways to make the speeders whether fast and loud vs soft and quiet. Will you eventually get enough skill points to unlock everything or will stuff be locked out?

Funcom – That was something we were discussing. I personally am in favor of having a set amount of skill points and you only have that amount so you have to pick and choose what you want carefully; don’t want a Jack of All Trades. Right now, we have a lot of skill points so you can theoretically unlock everything but it will take you a long time and it won’t be efficient either. With the technology, we have unique schematics in the game that you can find through exploration. You can be a solo player and find the unique schematic and be the only one who can craft that item on the server.

In-Game Currency for Real Life Value

Since it is an MMO, there is currency but is there going to be any potential for trading in-game currency for real-life value? If you are the only one who can craft a certain schematic, you can market it. How do you balance or limit that?

Funcom – That particular part we want to be in-game only. At the moment, we are not going the real-life money route.

Punishment for Selling?

Say somebody is selling their ability to craft a unique schematic for real-life money, will there be a punishment issued or how will that be handled?

Funcom – That is something we will have to think about. We wouldn’t encourage it but how do you figure out if that’s the real player arranging the deals or someone pretending to be them? That is something we will have to think about/discuss.

Dune Awakening Co-op Bike

Changing Servers

Will you be stuck in a specific server cluster or will you be able to change?

Funcom – At the moment, there is a discussion about if they can change server clusters freely.

Controller Support

For the players who don’t like playing with a keyboard and mouse, is there controller support?

Funcom – Yes, we started developing with the controller first then modified the controls for the keyboard and mouse.

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Hardcore gaming enthusiast, cosplayer, streamer, Tall Anime lover (6ft 9), and a die-hard competitor. I have been a Pop-Culture Journalist since 2011 specializing in shooters, Pokemon, and RPGs.

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