Ever since it was initially announced a few years ago, Dust 514 has been getting a lot of attention on the PlayStation Network.  This not only because of Eve Online's vast online community, but also because it's free-to-play – an unprecedented feat for a console game.  You have to pay for Microtransactions here and there if you don't feel like waiting for the good stuff, but the sheer fact you can rumble in and do some damage without worrying about being overcharged is something you can take with comfort.

You might be thinking to yourself, “what if you don't fit in to this online universe?”  After all, there are people who have invested hours into a game like this and have become sufficient pros as a result, which could give them an unfair advantage over rookies.  Not to worry, because Dust 514 not only has a proper balance to it when it comes to unlocking things and skilling up, but it's fairly simple to get into as well, especially if you have some tips to help you out.

That's where we come in, as we have some words of wisdom if you're just getting started in Dust 514.  Heed this advice well and you'll level up in no time flat.

The Tutorials Are Your Friend

You know how you start up a game and how some of you get annoyed by little pop-up tutorials that get in the way of the action?  With Dust 514 they actually serve a bit of purpose, so you might want to take a minute to read up on them.  You'll learn more about the heads-up display, how the map works (watch out for red dots if you're riding solo or you could be dead meat) and how the NeoCom works.

It sounds like some shriveled up website, but the NeoCom is actually a menu system that you'll utilize when it comes to managing weapons, equipment and missions.  You'll be able to check in with friends, adjust items on your character, and visit the market, where you'll be able to spend two types of currency- ISK and SP.  The ISK works as your monetary fund and it fills up with each new mission you complete in this world.  Meanwhile, SP are Skill Points that you earn by taking down enemies in each stage, as well as helping out teammates when they're down and completing missions in an orderly fashion.

You shouldn't skimp through the NeoCom nor the tutorials.  Both can provide a wealth of information when it comes to balancing your character and making them a powerhouse out in the field…

Spend Your Points Wisely

Dust 514 is one of those experiences where you can proceed to make your soldier top-notch in whatever category you choose.  If precision's your thing, you'll make them a killer from long distance.  If you prefer short-range combat, there are options for those as well.  The important thing here is that you continuously try things out and see what works for you.

When it comes to spending, feel free to visit the marketplace and try out new Militia Gear and Weapons…but be wise when it comes to skill points.  These are a necessity when it comes to making your character a lean, mean fighting machine, and the wrong choice can easily play out in a bad way when it comes to action.  Look at each category and decide how you want your soldier to excel…then have at it.

You Don't Necessarily Have to Hoof it

Dust 514 has a LOT of terrain to cover, and it'll take you a few minutes at a time if you choose to run around on foot.  In some situations, you have an advantage with this, as enemies can't target individual squad mates as well as a vehicle carrying a bunch of them.  That said, if you prefer a faster range of travel, you should use the Light Assault Vehicle.

Also known in shorter terms as the LAV, this vehicle is available free of charge and all you need to do to get one air-dropped your way is press right on the d-pad.  Boom, you got transport.  Of course, if you prefer something with more weight and armor, you can save up your ISK and invest in something you can really do damage in.

Play Around With Loadouts

Even though you can give your soldiers specific skills in Dust 514, you can change up your loadouts to see how unique they get.  These loadouts can be swapped out anytime you perish in action, and you can also visit Supply Points if you don't feel like sacrificing yourself during a match.  Sometimes you'll need to change tactics when it comes to battling particular enemies, so it never hurts to have a "plan B" on hand.

Hacking is Key

One thing you'll be doing in Dust 514, especially when you want some War Points, is hacking.  With the help of multiple friends (or solo if no one is attacking) you can dial in to many items to make them your own, including turrets, enemy vehicles, respawn locales and supply spots.  The more you overtake, the bigger advantage you have in battle.

Be Prepared to Die

Even if you're a seasoned pro, you're going to get killed quite a bit in Dust 514.  But just understand, it's not because you stink at the game – there are plenty of opportunities to "bite it" here.  Stick with it, and you'll reap the rewards aplenty with ISK and SP to spend galore.  You never really lose your skills or loadouts, so there's no genuine risk to dishearten you.  Now get in there and FIGHT!

Dust 514 is available now for PlayStation Network.