In Dune: Awakening you 'physically fly' your ornithopter between servers on an overland map filled with 'hundreds of other players'

 Dune Awakening MMO.
Credit: Funcom

Attention all you Arrakis fanatics (hey, it almost rhymes): we got another big look at Funcom's upcoming survival MMO Dune: Awakening today. First up, our own Joshua Wolens told us he's itching to play it after seeing a demo, despite being neither an MMO guy or a survival game fan.

Then in a 30 minute Dune: Awakening Direct presentation that covered character creation and the MMO's alternate timeline, creative director Joel Bylos took time to explain the nuts and bolts of how the world, maps, and servers will work to provide a "relatively seamless" experience to players as they explore Arrakis.

"It's almost like choosing a server in an MMORPG, but it's a large infrastructure of connected servers," Bylos said. "Most survival games do one map, one server. But we have multiple connected servers running in a single world."

A location called Hagga Basin is your starting point, "a server with a minimum of 40 other players" where you can build a base, scavenge, and craft. If you want to link up with your friends, Dune: Awakening's server browser will show you where they're all playing, Bylos said. Once you're ready for greater challenges and have built your own ornithopter, you can "physically fly" around the world in an "overland map" with a top-down view.

You can see how this overland map looks in the video below. It's a bit reminiscent of the Harkonnen map room scenes in Dune: Part Two, where there's a holographic topological view of Arrakis showing the location and flight paths of various airborne vehicles.

The overland map is another server on its own that "you can meet hundreds of other players on, and allows you to see all the locations in the world," said Bylos. "So you physically fly between locations on the overland map."

It looks interesting, or at least different: I don't recall seeing an overworld map of this kind in an MMO before that you can navigate through to visit new regions as opposed to just clicking an icon of the place you'd like to travel to. It reminds me a little bit of something like Mount & Blade where you're looking down at a representation of yourself and the region you're in as you and your companions physically across the world. I'm not sure if you have any actual encounters in this overland map, however: no interactions are shown in the video, and the UI only shows options for movement and zooming in and out.

Among the locations to visit are a couple of social hubs, like Harko Village and Arrakeen, where you can find bars, vendors, the CHOAM exchange, and have peaceful interactions with other players, which apparently includes dancing at nightclubs. You can also travel across the overland map to reach the Deep Desert for all the truly dangerous stuff like PvP, spice mining, and sandworm encounters. This portion of the world is periodically wiped clean and reconfigured by massive sandstorms, which is intended to create competition between players hunting for spice and other resources.

You can check out the full Dune: Awakening Direct presentation here.