Digging Defiance

April 11, 2013

revolting hellbugs

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.


  1. I’m happy with it so in my `5hrs of game play. I haven’t still figured out much of the UI such as the chat system but it’s been fun in my bite size play sessions

    • Oh gosh, I hear ya. I haven’t managed to figure out much of everything myself! 😛 I’m mostly taking it easy with Defiance, and I’m thinking the learning will come with time 🙂

  2. Stay away from the PvP until after the first patch on the 15th when they’re giving us a way to turn off voice chat. Trust me. LOL At least the Shadowar stuff, when you’re in a group of 30 strangers with live mikes…it isn’t pretty.

    Anyway, if I may riff off your post, I’ve been playing Defiance as a solo game with smart-ish bots. I enjoy shooters but I’m not great at them and they’re not, y’know, seriouz bidness to me. I find Defiance totally nails the sweet spot of being fun to jump into and run around shooting stuff without it making me feel all stressed out, like ‘serious’ shooters can do to me.

    In fact I find the moment-to-moment game play so fun that I regularly repeat quest areas even though I don’t have the quests and so don’t earn any ‘rewards.’ I just find it really fun to help some ranomd people compete a tough quest.

    • LOL, good to know. I’ve already gotten into the habit of muting everyone in my party when I group up to get rid of that echo effect when we’re in teamspeak, I wish they’d made the in-game voice option opt-in instead of automatic.

      And I’m the same way about the quest areas. I stop whenever I see one, no matter how many times I’ve done it already because like you said, it’s just…fun. As a result, I haven’t even made it that far out of the area where we start, LOL.

  3. It took me a little while to get in to it – starting spot after the tutorial infuriated me to the point of a rage-quit (seriously, an enemy spawn point RIGHT at the start??). Five minutes and some chocolate later, I pushed through it and go on with the game enough to enjoy it. 🙂

    • Yeah, your weapons are pretty weak sauce when you first start out, but I don’t remember having too many issues. Maybe you got caught in an arkfall, because those suckers are tough! 😛

      • No, it wasn’t that. I felt like I hadn’t learned much of the controls by the time the tutorial was over – and then the starter spawn point was right next to a mutant spawn area. I’m over it now though. 🙂

  4. I’m presently still having a lot of fun playing Firefall, which scratches my Shooter itch, but I am interested in the Arkfall gameplay, which was the most fun I had while playing the beta, also I’m interested as to how guilds will work.

    And playing w/ friends looks like it’s a lot of fun!

    Looking forward to the TV show’s first episode tonight. 😀

    • Me too! Though I probably won’t get to watch it until tomorrow night, with TSW Mondays. I have the DVR set though!

      And I’ve heard a lot of stuff about Firefall, don’t know if it’ll be my cup of tea though!

  5. I just still wish there were:

    A proper mute button that didn’t also mute text-based chat

    a free camera key so you could look at your character that you spent so much time on making XD

    • The camera thing for sure! That drives me crazy that I can’t take pics of my character from the front unless I’m on my vehicle!

  6. After the latest huge update, the game fixes a lot of issues while introducing more to gripe about. Thing are slowly improving. I am also taking the game sloooowly due to alpha/beta testing it too much. I still get the most fun driving around in the Hauler you get during one mission…I don’t want to give this Baby back to Cass! >wink<


    Dolnor Numbwit
    (Both are my in-game handles)

    • Ah, so that’s why I had that ginormous update to download last night 😉

      I think I did that Hauler quest after that too, LOL. Great fun driving it over mutants, even funnier when you see others drive it into the middle of an arkfall squishing hellbugs, haha!

  7. And now we get to ride around on a Hellbug in Rift 🙂 Trion are fast becoming my favourite developer

    • REALLY?! I’ll have to check that out 😀

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