Sunday, June 2, 2013 | 6
I never watched Defiance.I'm not really sure that it matters because Trion started development of their action third-person shooter MMO before they hooked up with the Syfy (see-fee?) title. It makes sense to piggyback a franchise, but Ducktales would have probably been a better option as the game seems to have more adoption than the show (over 1,000,000 registered accounts). Despite the normal formula, I'd like to start by pointing out what I really enjoyed about Defiance (the game).
The combat is fast.MMORPGs have a tendency of underestimating the speed at which neurons fire. Whether in PvP or PvE, you'll be running around, rolling, and shooting for the head because the alternative is a quick painful death. In PvP you can expect to be gunned down by snipers almost instantly if you're not using cover or stealth mechanics. This is a good thing.
If you compare Defiance with the 'norm' in action MMO combat, fights feel more like Unreal Tournament than TERA, and that's a good thing. This brings me to my main point.
In 2013, why does MMO gameplay still suck?Bandwidth and hardware aren't really a barrier anymore, and Defiance proves that you can have single-player(ish) combat in a MMORPG environment. World of Warcraft really only had a slow/boring tab-targeting system because they had to at the time. To wrap your head around how different it really is, watch this clip of me first running over some enemies, then bailing out and machinegunning/rocketing/stealthing and you'll see it's not your typical MMO.
Buy to play is acceptable.If I'm being perfectly honest, I don't mind the B2P model. You pay for the game, which supports development, and they spend that money on making expansions that you can buy if you still like the game when they come out. It's pretty close to the subscription model, and unlike F2P, they aren't tempted to screw you. Any business model that relies on constant improvement of content is fine in my book, however, they do have some micro-transaction elements for the weirdos who get off on having special pajamas. I'll call it a wash because most of the micro stuff is cosmetic... mostly...
Arkfalls are the Rifts of Defiance.Trion really likes world events, and I can honestly say that they're not terrible. Arkfalls give you a way to break up your experiences, and if you get bored you can just look at the map and find out where the closest raid is and go help. The problem with Arkfalls is that they're all super-easy. You will never lose, and that turns what could be a fun gimmick into an annoying gear-grind.
Perhaps when they expand the content, they'll tweak the difficulty and add more challenging raids. Until then, I'm not interested... unless one falls on top of me... then I might shoot around a little.
But the game totally sucks...Don't get me wrong. I love that Defiance really does some stuff differently for the genre. The real problem is that, for anyone with even pedestrian twitch experience, it's incredibly easy. The only real challenge you'll ever face is in PvP, but there isn't enough of a reason to even subject yourself to that aspect of the game. If they launched an open PvP server, Defiance could be the best game ever made, but this instanced and voluntary shit just ain't cutting it for me.
In the end, there really isn't any point.New and old characters don't have a wide gap in power, which is good for co-operation and would be great for competition, but they completely ignore that potential. The game's main function is to tell a story about a show that is average at best, and the lack of tangible achievement, while true to canon, makes it all feel pointless after a while.
You can drive around and kill stuff all over the map from the get-go, but it all feels very disconnected and asocial because, in the end, it is just a run and gun theme-park. If there is ever another free weekend, give it a try, but unless you're totally uncoordinated and horrible at point/shoot combat you'll be bored in a couple of days.
Then again, most of these issues could be fixed, easily.