All right, here’s the straight dope from a person who admittedly feels much more at home in traditional MMORPGs with a sword and shield in my hand, rather than staring down the sight of a futuristic firearm. It’s no secret that I’m not the biggest fan of shooters, so I won’t deny I was a little bewildered myself when people asked me how or why I ever got into a game like Defiance. So over the past week, I’ve been playing and making an effort in trying to figure this out, and I think I’ve got a few ideas.
The first is that there is plenty enough “MMO-ness” in Defiance to make me feel right at home, despite the third-person shooter perspective. It does feel a little surreal to be talking in voice chat and mulling over topics like the benefits of a assault rifle over that of say, a pistol or a sub-machine gun, and running around with a few of my friends last night, there’s a definite co-op shooter feel to the experience.
Still, the essence behind the gameplay leaves me no doubt whatsoever that I’m playing an MMO. The reason why “Rift with guns!” has become a popular tongue-in-cheek tagline thrown around by MMO gamers playing Defiance is because…well, is that because in many ways it’s a pretty fair and accurate assessment. Just as I’ve always chased planar invasion events in Rift, I readily chase arkfall events in Defiance with just as much gusto. The mechanics behind these dynamic occurrences are much the same, sometimes appearing quite randomly and in many cases only manageable with a ton of other people.
And they’re just so, so fun. I think I may even prefer doing arkfalls in Defiance more than I do planar incursions in Rift — the unpredictable movement of enemies and not to mention actually being required to aim at your targets makes the fight more hectic and exciting and simply better. Like in all public MMO dynamic events, you get the feeling like you and the others around you are involved in something BIG.
The other reason why I think I took to Defiance is because of Trion’s decision to include a hefty PvE component. PvP has never really been my forte or my preference, in both traditional MMORPGs or shooters, which is a big part of why I tended to stay away from games like Global Agenda and Planetside 2 that heavily feature team-based competitions or mercenary-style gameplay. No doubt Defiance has PvP aspects to offer as well, but thus far I haven’t had a chance to experience any of it; never had a reason to yet, as PvE content has been plenty enough to keep me occupied.
As a third-person MMO shooter, Defiance will probably find itself ever caught in the middle. However — and this is just my opinion — it does seem to me like there’s just a bit more “MMO” than “shooter” in this mix. I have a feeling that those who are more faithfully inclined towards shooters will find it more difficult to like the game, or may even spurn it; but on the other hand, those like myself who are more inclined towards MMOs might find it easier.
I don’t know if this has helped others like me who are “not into shooters” but are on the fence considering trying out Defiance, but I’ll be sure to keep updating on my thoughts as I put more time into the game in the coming weeks. Regardless, one thing I’m sure of is that Defiance has made the best out of its hybrid nature and has proven itself to be a tremendously entertaining pastime.