Archive for the ‘Defiance’ Category


Happy 4th Blogiversary To Me

January 8, 2014

4 bday

Holy crap, as of yesterday this blog is four years old! Time really flies, doesn’t it? It feels more like three, though that might be because I completely forgot my blogiversary last year. Would have forgotten this year too, truth be told, if Rowan (who will be celebrating his own blogiversary very soon as well) hadn’t reminded me. I am just bad with birthdays.

Anyway, since my blog’s anniversary is in January, technically this post could also serve as a look back at 2013. Once again, this blog didn’t see as much activity in the last year as I would have liked. In my defense though, it was a busy year in terms of real life, and quite honestly, it was a pretty tame one for MMOs. Tame…but definitely not lame.

I only participated in the launches of mainly two games — Defiance and Neverwinter — and both released during the first part of the year (though in the latter’s case, an um, open-beta-that-really-wasn’t-a-beta).


Instead, I spent the last year revisiting a lot of old favorites. World of Warcraft, of course, is as ever the dependable standby. I would play a couple months, take another couple months off, then do it all over again. I know I can always count on it being there whenever I feel like a romp through Azeroth.


Star Trek Online saw some play too because of their new expansion. I rolled a Romulan, got to have some fun with the duty officer mini-game, and got roped into doing dailies for their summer event. This was the year I truly came to develop an appreciation for a free-to-play STO.


A few months ago, I also surprised myself by resubbing to Star Wars: The Old Republic. This was thanks to the revitalization of our guild, which included a faction change to refocus our efforts on the Empire side. SWTOR saw an expansion too, and I’m still hopping in now and then getting in my Galactic Starfighter battles. They’re a lot more fun once you get a hang of the controls and start upgrading your ship.


And finally, there’s The Secret World. TSW Mondays are still going strong, and in terms of social events, it’s probably Mercy Gaming’s greatest success. I don’t think anyone would have believed it a year and a half ago, but it’s true that our weekly group has steadily grown since Secret Mondays first started. To the usual gang, thanks for making this such a great year in TSW.


Other highlights of the year that aren’t really related to gaming (and in fact, they actually took away from my gaming time, but I wouldn’t change that for the world!) include some of my new hobbies:

1) Pathfinder! I have reason to look forward to Sunday nights now that my friends and I hold weekly games over Fantasy Grounds 2 and Teamspeak.

2) Miniature painting! I’ve always wanted to get into this, and this year I finally took the plunge!

3) Podcasting! Recording Battle Bards with my co-hosts Syp and Syl has been such fun this year.

4) Book blogging! I’ve always read voraciously, and this year I went one step further and started a book blog with a couple of my friends. It has been amazing.

And of course, nothing beats spending time with my family. My little girl is almost two now, and every day she fills my life with surprises and delight. My husband and I don’t get to play video games as much anymore, spending a couple hours a night in our MMOs only after we’ve put the baby to bed. When she’s awake, we don’t want to miss a moment with her!

Finally, to my readers, I want to thank you for another fantastic year. 2014 looks to be another great one with a couple big MMOs on the horizon. I haven’t mentioned these games a lot on my blog the past year, mostly because I’ve resolved to keep my excitement in check going forward, but I’d like to go on record to say that I am very much looking forward to BOTH Wildstar and The Elder Scrolls Online.



I have no doubt I’ll be gracing this blog with my thoughts on both sometime in the future. And perhaps more! Thanks again, and I’m definitely looking forward to another year of blogging. Ciao!


All My Games Are “Casual”

May 6, 2013

NW horse

Here are the MMOs I’m currently playing:

  • quite a bit of Neverwinter
  • some World of Warcraft
  • a little Defiance
  • weekly dose of The Secret World
  • a light smattering of Rift

I used to tell myself I’m a horrible juggler and that trying to play a whole bunch of games at once never works out. Indeed, given the choice I’d prefer to be able to give an MMO my full attention, do things like reach level cap, explore the entire world, finish “everything” before moving on. The “hardcore completionist” way of doing things has always been a better match for my own personality and play style.

But since the year started, game time for me has pretty much been reduced to about 2-3 hours a night on weekdays and I’ve long come to the realization that doing “The One Game” thing isn’t going to fly anymore, especially with so many new releases that look so fun and amazing, and many older titles I still want to stick with. So…unless I win the lottery or learn how to bend time: A limited gaming schedule + MUST PLAY ALL TEH GAMEZ = everything I play must become “casual”.

The great thing is the majority of MMOs on my list now are subscription-less, and are completely adaptable to my current schedule. TSW Mondays are enough for me to do grab enough AP/SP to advance each week, and I’ve always thought Defiance is the perfect game to jump in and out of if you only have an hour or less of free time. Even in WoW, the one MMO in which I’m participating in even a semblance of an endgame, is now a lot more suitable for the more casual player; through LFR I’m still able to raid and not have the encounter take up my whole night.

It does mean I don’t get to play as much of one game as I’d like each week, but on the other hand I get to experience everything I want to — remember how I almost gave Neverwinter a pass, and looking back now I see what a shame that would have been. I’m glad I didn’t; it’s been a lot of fun so far. Cramming it into an already full gaming schedule felt like a crazy thing to do, but it was totally worth it.


Defiance The Show: Some Quick (And Spoiler-Free) Thoughts

April 17, 2013


I was finally able to watch the pilot episode of the TV show Defiance last night, and I have to say, I haven’t felt this excited about a program on SyFy in a long time. I mean, for a futuristic dystopian-type series on cable, it’s about as good as you can ask for.  And man is it refreshing to finally see something on this channel that I could really grow to like, because in recent years I’ve been this close to giving up on good old “Siffy”.

Right from the start, I was drawn into the story — and it helped that I already felt connected to the characters Josh Nolan and Irisa, since the three of us had some good fun shooting up mutants in game together last weekend. In a way, it was like seeing an old friend again, like, “Hey, wasn’t I was reviving your downed ass just last Saturday? Dammit, you were supposed to be covering me, Nolan! Why couldn’t you have been more like Irisa and stayed behind cover?”

But I digress. My point is, even though these two characters are no longer around in the game, they are the show’s main focus. And here I am, already a steadfast member of their fan club (and I have the outfits in-game to prove it).

Anyway, by all accounts, it seems the show’s premiere drew generally positive reviews and opinions. Well, here I am adding my vote to the YES pile. I gotta say I liked what I saw. Literally too, as in the show was an hour and a half of pure eye candy. The colorful sets, gorgeous costumes and make-up and the CGI were simply incredible, and they did a superb job of drawing you into that world.

Which kind of makes me worried, actually. So many of my favorite TV shows that aren’t around anymore have been done in by mounting costs, and I sure hope the team can keep up with the expenses of such high production values (I mean, from the looks of it, their custom contact lenses budget must have accounted for a hefty dent alone). But I’m sure in the end it was all worth it, because visually, Defiance was astounding! If you saw the final battle scene, you’d know exactly what I mean. I swear I just want to watch that part over and over and over.

The plot did take a while to ramp up, but given it was the pilot and that they had a two-hour slot to fill, in the end they did a good job of setting things up. The supporting characters were interesting and made for some good laughs. Even though the show just premiered and I know it’s still too early to tell where it’ll go, I can’t say I was disappointed. I definitely enjoyed the first episode, and I hope for the show’s continued success.


Defiance: Time-Limited Episode Missions

April 14, 2013

episode mission

Thanks to catching the tail-end of a twitter conversation a few days ago, I was reminded to complete all the current Episode Missions in Defiance.

Good thing too, since they won’t be around in-game after the 15th. Because of Trion and SyFy’s collaboration on this cross-media project, the timeline content in both the game and show have to mesh and be in sync — so it would follow logically that at least some of the content will be time-limited. The two particular NPCs involved in the current quests, for example, will be gone after the first episode of the show airs Monday night, since it wouldn’t make sense for them to be in the San Francisco Bay area anymore. So, it’s bye bye for now, Nolan and Irisa!

On the one hand, these are exactly the kind of dynamic world changes I would expect to participate in on a cross-media undertaking such as this; part of the draw for me was being able to see events in the show affect the game, and hopefully vice versa. Of course, this will mean working more diligently to keep track of these connections and do content like episode missions on time, but I’m also fairly certain stuff like that won’t be popping up every week, allowing me ample opportunities to catch up. Speaking of which, last night’s polishing off of the episode missions wasn’t bad at all, taking me no more than two hours to complete, especially since I did them in a group with my husband and a guildie.

There are four of this type of quests in all, designated by a star-inside-a-square symbol on the map, and easily accessible to new players as far as I know. All of us had already done A Little Competition earlier in the week, so we hit up the next mission The Searchers, which appeared the first in a chain. This was followed up by The Heist (which contains a solo portion) and The Departed. That these missions are special are obvious right from the start, with longer and more elaborate cutscenes, as well as more challenging enemies and cooler-looking instances. They’re also fun as hell.

So be sure to hit them up; there’s still plenty of time before tomorrow night. You get some decent rewards out of it too, including a couple of outfits and an amazing purple-quality assault rifle. Not only is that my weapon-of-choice, I’m also now proudly sporting a spiffy fur-collared mauve jacket (also known as the official uniform of “We Love Irisa” fan club!)


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.


First Days Of Defiance

April 5, 2013


Ever since Defiance officially went live on Tuesday, I’ve been playing Trion’s new MMO third-person shooter every night for approximately 1-2 hours each session. Granted, that’s probably optimal for me, given my hopes that this game can become a fun and casual pastime on the side. Still, I’m sure I’ll need a lot more time with it before I’m comfortable with forming more solid opinions.

However, I’m happy to say that so far all my experiences have generally been positive. Even spending just mere minutes with the live version erased a lot of my previous misgivings, given that I was in the alpha and the beta…and let’s just say it hasn’t always been pretty. In light of some of the more persisting issues, I even occasionally had my doubts about my pre-order.

For one thing, I’ve always wondered to myself, “Can you imagine how stupidly fun this game would be when grouping with friends?” I envisioned a lot of running together as a squad with my guild, but alas I was never able to get the friend and group invite working for me properly during testing. So you can imagine my excitement and relief when I fired up the live client on Tuesday night to find the grouping system working flawlessly.

That one thing probably increased my love for Defiance tenfold. I mean, how surprising that a broken grouping system in an online multiplayer game can completely cripple your enjoyment! Who’d have thunk it, right?! 

Sure, you don’t absolutely need to group in Defiance, but I definitely experienced a whole different layer of gameplay dynamics after a few hours running with my husband. There’s an added immersion you just don’t get when playing alone or out-of-communication with others; playing the game is so much more interactive when I find myself planning out attacks with someone else, whether it’s splitting up the work during missions or laying down cover fire when the other player is interacting with a quest object (or running like hell for his life).

Last night, I even had the chance to participate in one of those big Arkfall events. Now, ain’t that a whole different kind of animal. It’s very similar to the rift events in Rift that happen very randomly and without warning. One moment, a small group of us were just la-di-da shooting away, and then all of a sudden you’re swept up in a massive crowd like a wave and flaming hellcrabs are jumping at you trying to eat your face and your poor mouse is just gripped in your sweaty shaking hand while you’re desperately firing that assault rifle like it’s nobody’s business and…it’s just one big mess. The good kind of big mess.

That’s the thing. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Defiance, other than it’s rather fun and addicting. But if there’s one aspect that really surprised me about the game, it’s how quickly I took to it. I’ll admit I’m not the biggest fan of shooters, I honestly never thought I would get into a game like this. That I did and got hooked onto it so quickly speaks volumes about it, I think.