#198 My Proper First Impressions of the Defiance beta

Preface: I wrote this post after being a part of Defiance’s second beta test weekend but I could not publish the post on my blog because the game was under a Non-Disclosure Agreement. I have been holding on to this post until it was safe to talk about what I experienced. This weekend, with Defiance’s third beta test weekend underway, I was informed that the Defiance team has lifted the NDA on their product, so without further ado here is my first impressions  of Trion World’s newest game.

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Over the weekend (February 8th – 10th)  a blizzard decided to pay a visit to my corner of the world, and while I was snowed in on my college campus I decided to participate in the beta test weekend of the game Defiance.

Defiance is a Trion World game that I heard whispers of the concept and core mechanics of the game on the internet years ago when it was just in the beginning stages. Defiance is a First person shooter MMO that is not only going to be a game with cross-platform capabilities for the XBOX, PS3 , but also the PC. This gets me psyched since there is a Defiance television show that will be running at the same time with actions from the game that will affect the development of the T.V series.

I did not believe the rumors of a game that could transcend between the video game media into television, until I sat in on a PAX EAST 2012 panel called, “The Future of Online Gaming” where I and hundreds of other players got to see the first game footage of this game. We heard the announcement that the SYFY channel has picked up the show and will be airing in 2013 and I also missed my chance to ask my question to Defiance team member, Rob Hill (which you can hear at  49:16)

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Mr Hill if you are reading this my question /was/is, “What was your first epic moment in an MMO and how did you try to recreate that epic feeling in your game?”

I left that panel with one of their cool T-shirts and the hopes of one day playing that game. Fast-forward eleven months where I received my beta invitation and since this blog was started because of a beta key from another MMO I thought this would be the best place to relay my adventures of Defiance.

First I would like to note that this beta trial went infinitely better than my Guild Wars 2 beta weekend for the sole reason that I could actually connect to the server.

Starting off on a high not Trion Worlds

Starting off on a high not Trion Worlds

The idea of a massively multiplayer first person shooter is not a new to the gaming world. Team Fortress 2, Super Monday Night Combat and Halo can all be technically fit into this category but this is the first shooter game that I heard of that puts all the players in one world with PvE objectives.

The Defiance universe take place in 2037, twenty-four years after an alien race called the Votans arrived to Earth after fleeing from their dying solar system. Between the first contact and where the series starts off the human race have been constantly struggling with the dilemma of finding a place on the planet to house the sudden surplus population. The problem results in riots, unstable political talks, wars, and an accidental activation of one of the Votan’s terraforming devices that turns the Earth into an Alien-hybrid planet with a truce between the two forces formed in St. Louis.

The idea of talking about where to put a displaced race, which is numbered in the millions is a topic that I promise not to politically analyze today, check back later this week. (This was referring to my Be MOP #183 when I was at Harvard’s National Model United Nations conference)

All that back story is in on the website (which can be found here) and assumed television show, in the beta there is almost no reference to the two decades of history, instead the game starts off as a military mission to reclaim some of the Votan technology that fell from the sky. You are an Ark hunter, a Freelance agent hired by a private company working with the military, to protect the head scientist – and your boss – while he examines the machines. As luck would have it the airship gets attacked by the natives and in the confusion your boss’s escape pod gets lost and you start the game helping the army set up the base, exploring the land, and giving aid to anyone who needs it.

The graphics and looks reminds me of a Borderlands series mixed with League of Legends which is a welcome change compared to the gritty brown of other shooters.

The graphics and looks reminds me of a Borderlands series mixed with League of Legends which is a welcome change compared to the gritty brown of other shooters.

For the gameplay itself, the best way to describe it is as a shooter with spells and grenades. You soon find a plethora of guns and ammo lying around. From the start you start off with four basic spells, Blur (sprint), Cloak (invisibility), Decoy (doppelgänger), and Overdrive (enrage), which you can switch between at any time and with each level up you can choose passive talents that will benefit you when you have those spells selected.

Defiance 2013-02-09 15-09-59-44

As for movement and control, I wish that I played enough shooter games to talk about the movement and feel of moving around, taking cover and the responsiveness of the various guns but I can’t. What I will say about the shooting aspect is that I, a new player to the game and genera,  can easily pick up all of the guns, aim, and, completely destroy all of the enemies that stood in my way so take that as you will.

As for the mood and feeling of the game the whole zone feels desired but in a good way. The areas gave me a feeling of a city that have been ravaged by war and left for dead, the cars are completely rusted, the roads are cracked and there is not a single building that does not have holes in the walls. It is amazing that the game gives you a mount early on because the map is just massive! just look at it:

the entire map can’t even fit onto the screen, that mark is the farthest I got to over two days of playing and there is still so much more to go.

the entire map can’t even fit onto the screen, that mark is the farthest I got to over two days of playing and there is still so much more to go.

I’m not stressing this enough that almost everyone is out to get you there are mutants, renegade military groups and hellbugs all view you as hostile and will not hesitate to fill you with bullets. The only helpful NPCs are the crew of the crashed airship and most of the time they are either under attack or asking you for help.

As for the community of the game. I do not know if it was intentional but the players seem to follow the theme of deserted-ness with absolutely nobody communication to the other players furthering the mood that it is every man for themselves. The questing system mimics this too with no official, formal groups it’s just people passively helping each other out simply because they shared the same objective.

As much as I would love to play more, the weekend and the beta trail had to end leaving me with this mighty long post (even after cutting out a lot more stuff in the game) and the simple question this time with two parts, will I buy the game when it comes out and will I watch the T.V show when it airs? And to both I will say yes, but depending.

As a college student there are some barriers to entry with games and T.V shows that I have to overcome for one it’s my wallet when the game comes out I will buy it if I have money in the checking account, which it will be the first AAA game that I have bought at full price and on day one (except for that other game of course). As for the television show if I can find a slot when the dorm’s community television is available and I don’t have classes or college club events then I will gladly go out of my way to watch the show on the T.V.

Until then I can only hope that I get accepted into the next beta testing event (which I did) and see more of the game when I’m at PAX EAST.

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The game is projected to be released April 2nd for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 at the price of $59.99 for the standard digital edition and $99.99 for the Deluxe digital copy (http://defiance.com/en/pre-order/digital-editions/)

The Defiance television show will premiere April 15th on the Syfy channel at 9:00 pm Eastern

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Be MOP focuses on the Mists of Pandaria expansion of World of Warcraft with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the game’s life cycle. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “#198 My Proper First Impressions of the Defiance beta

  1. Anonymous

    Should be money -in- the checking account! Ya forgot a word 😀

  2. I’m really looking forward to the television series and will definitely have to save up to get the game. It all looks awesome and a “new” type of game for me to try out.

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