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Trion Worlds

Rift photo

Slowly but surely: Rift will become free-to-play in June

I hope you didn't just start subscribing
May 14
// Jordan Devore
Having previously put out a lite version of RIFT, Trion Worlds is now committed to introducing a full-fledged free-to-play model for the MMORPG. They're doing it, and doing it well, it sounds like -- "experience the entire g...

Impressions: Defiance

Apr 18 // Fraser Brown
Defiance (PC [Reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Trion Worlds Publisher: Trion WorldsReleased: April 2, 2013MSRP: $59.99 (No subscription) Defiance is a strange beast. It has the typical framework of a modern MMO, with PvP, PvE, an open environment, loot drops, quests, and co-operative dungeons, but beyond that, it's actually pretty atypical of the genre. For one, it is in no way, shape, or form an RPG. Of course MMOs don't need to be RPGs. If that was the case then MMORPG would not be a term, but let's not kid ourselves here, when one hears that three letter acronym, they sort of expect it to also fall into the aforementioned role-playing category. It's actually a proper shooter, and what I mean by that is it's not a title where one just clicks on an enemy, hits some keys on a hotbar, and then watches as their avatar shoots. It's based on precision and skill, not ability rotations. Defiance continues to eschew traditional MMO design by not really having levels, instead using a power rating. Increasing one's power rating gives a player access to more advanced perks and ability levels and new content, but it does not make them more powerful or increase their hit points. Instead of being given a slew of new abilities every time you "level up", Ark Hunters -- the only class in the game, which isn't really a class at all -- get one main ability, either a sprinting attack, overcharging of one's gun, deploying a holographic decoy, or a cloak, and then a bunch of perks such as doing more damage when crouched or when above a target. Frankly, none of these abilities are particularly interesting, and in the end, no matter which one you choose, your role will be defined more by the weapons you choose, which you can switch on the fly, not your ability to vanish or deploy a bunch of holograms. Gear has been given a similar treatment, and while the large variety of guns increase in exoticness as one gets further through the game, their stats only change incrementally. That is not to say that there's no reason to keep searching for better weapons. You will find guns of the same type that are clearly better than your older one, even if only by a small amount, but more importantly, it might have an additional effect, like incendiary rounds, or it might be an automatic variant of your old manual rifle. Bizarre alien weaponry is a particular highlight. Within the first couple of hours of playing I found myself in possession of a truly disgusting pistol that spat out spores, covering foes in these horrible, flesh-toned bulbous pustules. After firing off a few rounds, they would actually hatch, with foul little creatures bursting out of them and attacking my enemy. Absolutely grotesque, and bloody wonderful.  So, what we're dealing with here is a game where skill, precision, and timing are far more important than gear and "levels," which makes for a refreshing change of pace. Yet despite this commendably novel approach to a genre that's becoming a bit tired, Defiance sticks to some MMO conventions that simply don't make sense given its other features. The quest-based gameplay, for one, is really quite awful. Defiance is an extremely linear title; so linear, in fact, that the entire game essentially follows one single, literal road. Almost every quest or, rather, mission, is right by the long and winding road that snakes its way down the San Francisco Bay area. One doesn't even need to hunt them down, as the moment you can participate in a mission, it's right there on the map. And, if for some reason you didn't notice it, as you drive down the road you'll see a plethora of glowing blue lights which offer up these missions.   To be fair, I might have been a bit too harsh by calling this a tired MMO convention. Too harsh on MMOs, that is. At least your average example of the genre bothers to create quest-givers or occasionally places a quest a wee bit off the beaten track to inspire exploration. Not so in Defiance. You get your missions by radio (but only when you come across the blue light shows), usually from the same tiny number of mind-numbingly dull NPCs, and there is absolutely no impetus for exploration. Not that you'd really want to explore the amazingly bland world Trion has put together. For a planet apparently ravaged by alien terraforming, it's remarkably bereft of interesting scenery. Trees, mountains, and the occasional weird rocky protrusions make up most of the uninspired landscape.   The absence of strict levels or massive disparity in gear quality puts Defiance in a perfect position to send players out into the great unknown to explore the game-space at their own pace and make their own objectives, but instead it's content to be almost like a theme-park ride, pulling Ark Hunters through a long and boring road to the next insipid objective. Oh yes, the objectives. They amount to going into an area and killing things, going into an area and breaking things, or going into an area and clicking on a flashing object. Sometimes Defiance mixes the formula up by tasking players with doing all three of those things. Groundbreaking, to be sure. Occasionally you'll be "gifted" with an obnoxious NPC companion to protect, which is a nice change. The last thing I wanted to do was repeat any of these missions, especially when they all sort of bleed together into one colorless mess of being sent to perform brainless tasks, but repeat them I did. Defiance has a lot of bugs. A ridiculous number, really. But the most irritating for me was its insistence that I had not completed certain objectives even after I was informed that I most certainly had completed them. Logging out and in again would cause all mission progress to be lost, and I'd have to start it all over again, not even knowing if I could complete it. It's just not worth it when the missions are so shallow. A few missions do have a tangible effect on the world, which did at first delight me. The first time this happens is fairly early into the game, and after a challenging battle against a seemingly never-ending horde of angry mutants, the cavalry appeared (seconds too late to help) and took up residence in the liberated area. I felt like I'd had a positive impact on the world, and I could come back at any time and see these soldiers going about their business in a complex that I had freed from the clutches of the mutant horde. Even though I knew countless other players would still be attempting to do the same mission, for me it would remain the same. But there was no follow-through. The NPC troops remained perfectly still and completely silent, not providing me with new missions, shops, or even a bit of minor dialogue, and I'd never have a reason to visit the place again. My victory went back to being superficial. At least I got to shoot a bunch of stupid mutants in their deformed faces, I guess. While we're on the subject of stupid mutants, I'm reminded of another unfortunate genre convention that Defiance sticks to. Enemy AI, something nobody could accuse MMO developers of making particularly noteworthy, doesn't exactly break the mold in Defiance. Normally, mentally subnormal foes wouldn't be worth mentioning when discussing a new game in the genre, but it becomes a lot more unforgivable in a game of skill.  The myriad of horrific mutants and bizarre creatures that make up Defiance's rogues gallery don't work together, react to player tactics, or really do anything other than the same foolish attacks over and over again. However, they are marginally less suicidal than the foes found in Defiance's peers. They can often be found hiding behind cover, and some employ shields that halt player attacks, forcing attackers to circle around them to find their weak spot. There's certainly a nice variety, and most groups will be made up of multiple enemy types, keeping players on their feet as they dodge rockets, grenades, gunfire, and machete wielding maniacs. Mechanically speaking, they are more interesting to fight than your average MMO enemy, but they are just as stupid. Long before this point in most of my reviews, I'd be discussing the story and setting of whatever game I was writing about on that given day. I can find a story in anything, I've even written FTL fan fiction (in my head), and that's a game where the story amounts to being chased by bad dudes. But damn have I been struggling to figure out what to write about the premise of Defiance. The game rarely offers up much context, just expecting you to know what the hell is going on. Thankfully, I recently watched the Syfy pilot of the TV show of the same name, and that's a hell of a lot more informative than the game, even if it has almost nothing to do with its videogame cousin. Before last night, I didn't even know what the fuck an Arkfall was, and it's meant to be what my character has built his career around. I won't beat around the bush, because, frankly, it doesn't deserve a build up. It's the future and an alien race -- actually eight alien races, really -- arrived on Earth about 30 years ago and caused a big ruckus. There was a war, the aliens terraformed the planet, and now there's a tenuous peace between most of the races, but the world is in a right old mess. The aforementioned Arkfalls are large chunks of space detritus that fall to Earth and often contain lots of lovely goodies. Ark Hunters are basically salvagers and scavengers. Though hardly inspired, the show, or at least the pilot, was immensely watchable. There's an interesting set up, a few characters that aren't completely terrible, and it certainly has some potential.  The problem with the show was that I really wished that the game was more like it. Desperately, in fact. The protagonist of the show is, much like all player characters in the game, an Ark Hunter. He's basically a poor man's Han Solo, if Han packed in the smuggling gig and got into salvage. He's an ex-soldier, and certainly isn't gun-shy, but his main concerns appear to be acting casual, making money, and exploring the husks of fallen alien vessels.  Compare that to the Ark Hunters in the game, and you'll soon find yourself wishing you hadn't. You can pick a background and one of two races (Human and Irathi), with more coming in premium DLC (cue the appropriate booing and hissing), but neither have any real bearing in terms of the gameplay or the narrative. You are just a person with a gun who kills other people with guns. Sometimes you kill bugs. Arkfalls are equally disappointing, but are at least more compelling that the standard story and side missions. The one Arkfall that takes place in the pilot is a huge alien vessel that plummets to Earth, surprisingly intact. It's an actual location to be explored, and within it, the protagonist discovers an important alien artifact with immense power. Back in videogame land, Arkfalls are usually chunks of rock. They fall from the sky, and then hundreds of players drive towards them en masse. These are big multiplayer events, with players "working together" to take out tough enemies, such horrible, monstrous Starship Trooper-inspired hellbugs or titanic rampaging mechs for pitiful rewards. The Arkfall events are reminiscent of the Rift events from Trion Worlds' previous MMO, Rift, but bigger and a lot less enjoyable. The first few times, I'll happily admit that I was entertained. They were the first proper multiplayer experiences I had in the game, and I was happy to just be participating in an event with other people. They go on for too long, however, and the rewards, as I've already mentioned, are really meager. There's also no real need for organization. Everybody just runs about shooting the crap out of anything that isn't another player. I'm certain folks would be more inclined to work together if the social features weren't so horribly ineffective. The absence of a proper chatbar is a real problem, and the standard method of communication, voice chat, is hideously broken. Other players are just there. I see them, and sometimes -- if we're on the same mission -- I'll even fight by their side, but I never once got the sense of teamwork that I expect from an MMO.  I just gave up even trying to be social, other than the couple of times I went on Skype and played with a chum. That Defiance utterly fails at one of the key aspects of the genre is a huge mark against it. I've played some pretty terrible MMOs and stuck around just because I found a group of people I enjoyed playing with. I play these games for their cooperative nature, and without that, I have few reasons to stick around.  PvP is hampered by social issues and bugs, just as the PvE aspect is. Shadow War, the open-world PvP conflict mode, would have actually been a great deal of fun if I wasn't continually being shafted by a constant stream of issues, from weird problems when respawning (like being stuck or having to run around sideways) to vehicles not working. I got a lot of disconnections too, and not just in PvP. This hasn't been as prevalent in the last week as it was just after launch, thankfully, but it still happens enough so that it becomes a major pain in my already sensitive arse. As I write this, I realize that Defiance has pissed me off more than I thought. I really wanted to get into it, and due to its uniqueness in a world of increasingly similar MMOs, I desperately wanted it to be something I could see myself playing long after I finished telling you lovely people all about it. But it isn't a game I want to invest more time into. I'm tired of fighting the obtuse menu system that clearly wasn't design for PCs -- I can't image it was really designed for the PS3 either -- and I'm sick of logging out and back in again because of a bug, and most of all, I'm not prepared to play a game that feels empty when I'm surrounded by dozens of other players.  Every time I look at the map and see -- if it isn't broken and revealing nothing at all -- yet another identical mission, or a stupid time trial race, I can't help but wonder what else I could be doing with my time. I could be learning how to sculpt beautiful women, or improving my chess game, or I could simply be playing a videogame that doesn't infuriate me.  So I'm going to stop writing now. I probably have time to buy some clay before the shops close, and I think my creativity is starting to come back now that I know my journey through Defiance is finally at an end. 
Defiance full impressions photo
Please pardon the lazy portmanteau, but Defiance has sapped me of a great deal of my creativity. I'm tired, friends. The new MMO -- that's desperately trying not to be an MMO -- from Trion Worlds has toyed with me for th...

Defiance photo

Here's the first episode of the Defiance TV show

Transmedia synergy!
Apr 17
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
With the release of the Defiance videogame comes the start of the Defiance television show. Apparently the show did pretty good, pulling in a total of 2.7 million viewers for the premiere. That's great to hear, considering I...
Defiance impressions photo
Defiance impressions

The first two days of Defiance

Killin' bugs and ugly dudes
Apr 04
// Fraser Brown
Defiance, Trion Worlds's post-apocalyptic MMO shooter, came out a couple of days ago, and I've been courting it. We've gone on a few dates, but we're still getting to know each other, so it will likely be a couple of weeks un...
Scavenger Hunt photo
Free codes for sharp eyes
This week we're sponsored by Defiance, an MMO by Trion Worlds collaborating with Syfy, whose on-air and in-game worlds both share the same paced story progression.  The TV show and game launch on April 15th, and we've go...

Defiance photo

Next beta event for Defiance is also on consoles

One more beta weekend for Defiance
Mar 14
// Jordan Devore
With two PC beta events down for Trion Worlds' open-world shooter Defiance, there's one more to go, and this time, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 gamers will be able to join in. This last beta phase for the game is scheduled to s...
Rift two year anniversary photo
Rift two year anniversary

Rift celebrates two years with carnival and free weekend

More mounts!
Feb 27
// Joshua Derocher
Rift is celebrating its two-year anniversary in style with an in-game carnival. Players will get to attend the "Carnival of the Ascended" and participate in events to unlock new mounts and masks to wear. This carnival i...

Who wants a code for the Defiance beta?!

Feb 08 // mrandydixon
To join the beta, just do the following: Head on over to our beta giveaway page and click the big red button Hit up the Defiance Beta site and sign up for an account and redeem your code Check your email for instructions from Trion on how to download the game and start playing! Have fun!         ... If you walked away from the beta empty-handed, no fear!  Here's another opportunity: You've found a Defiance Scavenger Hunt code: CNABZX
Defiance Beta Codes photo
Try it out before the April release
[Update: Codes expired! Stay tuned next month -- we may have more :)] Our friends at Trion Worlds have hooked us up with another set of closed beta codes for their upcoming MMO shooter Defiance! If you recall, this game isn't...


Defiance launches April 2, TV series on April 15

Trying to wash the word "transmedia" out of my mouth
Jan 30
// Allistair Pinsof
Defiance -- one-part Trion Worlds MMO, one part SyFy TV series -- will launch in April. A.K.A. a month that investors are really hoping Breaking Bad and Grand Theft Auto V don't share. The standard release for PC, Xbox 360, a...
Defiance photo

New Defiance trailer and pre-order bonuses detailed

Editions, Editions, Editions
Jan 23
// Harry Monogenis
Trion Worlds' upcoming videogame and television show hybrid, Defiance, is almost upon us and I must say that this game has caught my attention. I mean, the fact that whatever transpires in the TV show will affect the online ...

Here are 2,000 codes for the Defiance beta!

Jan 20 // mrandydixon
To join the beta, just do the following: Head on over to our Beta Giveaway page and click the button Then hit up the Defiance Beta site and sign up for an account and redeem your code You'll receive instructions via email on how to download the game and start playing! Have fun!
Defiance Beta photo
Try it out before the April release
[Update: Codes expired! Thanks for playing!] Our friends at Trion Worlds have hooked up Dtoid with 2,000 closed beta codes for their upcoming MMO shooter Defiance! If you recall, this game isn't just based on the upcomin...

Free-to-play FPS photo
Free-to-play FPS

Warface closed beta opens ahead of full launch in spring

For your face
Jan 18
// Jordan Devore
Trion Worlds and Crytek have kicked first-person shooter Warface into gear, announcing that the free-to-play game's servers are now operational for the closed beta. Amusingly, the "social entertainment platform" powering Warf...

Take a look at Defiance the game and the TV show

Transmedia something something
Jan 09
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Trion Worlds has released a little look at the massively mutiplayer co-op action of Defiance. Expect large scale battles, vehicles, and lots of guns in this MMO that also doubles as a TV show. Yes, SyFy is making a TV show t...

Trion Worlds opens sign-ups for Defiance beta

Beta event scheduled for January 18
Jan 03
// Jordan Devore
Trion Worlds has a lot to prove with Defiance, its massively multiplayer online shooter which also happens to be an upcoming television show on SyFy. The studio will be running a brief "Advanced Mission Beta 1" this month, gi...

Going all in: Defiance is Syfy and Trion's biggest gamble

Oct 17 // Allistair Pinsof
Syfy is throwing an unprecedented amount of money at the TV production, building a 51-building studio lot in Toronto. Trion (Rift, End of Nation) is developing its first multi-platform release, a massively multiplayer third-person shooter that attempts many new ideas within the online space. If coming to grips with a new genre isn’t enough for Trion, having to be congruent with the TV series is sure to provide the developer many restless nights. But, right now, it’s time for the easy part: Showing off and discussing the game. “Both of our CEOs have been meeting for quite a while, and they came to the conclusion that this transmedia thing -- that’s what we call it -- could be big on both sides. So, we, from day one, worked with Syfy on how we were going to do this,” Hill says. “We need to find a way to meet both of our needs, but it wasn’t one before the other.” Bringing two mediums together to occupy the same universe is something that has been lightly attempted before with Shiny’s maligned Enter the Matrix, Syfy’s own Red Faction: Origins TV movie, and other projects best forgotten. An MMO needs tons of different stories for quests, but Syfy wants to focus on telling a few intimate stories. A game needs tons of creatures to fight, but a high enemy count doesn’t make for great television -- or, in the very least, affordable television. Both parties are trying to avoid the pitfalls that have plagued similar projects in the past. Visual effects supervisor Gary Hutzel is tasked with one of the more difficult jobs: He needs to make a game look as good as a TV series while not keeping it from playing like a (good) game. There are many things game designers lean on that are counter-productive to designing a TV series, such as using color to indicate visual information to the player. Vivid colors are applied to immerse the player and limit frustration, but these same vivid colors make for unrealistic TV that breaks immersion for viewers. “For me the key element was that Trion was creating an action-adventure game and my job is to make it real,” Hutzel says. “To bring it into the real world and make those characters something that you don’t just add onto but also something that you can come to the show and see ‘Oh yeah, that’s how they would look in real life!’” As a result, Hutzel is working closely with Trion to make compromises on both ends that make sense. If a six-legged creature is too hard to animate in the game, the developers give the creature insect legs instead. In some cases, enemies and characters won’t appear identical. Colors in the game may be more vivid, while the show goes for a more muted presentation. The goal is to avoid confusion and disassociation, while making Defiance work as a game and show. “Early on, I called what I was doing open architecture design for the show,” Hutzel says. “Even if we don’t have an immediate plan for the game, let’s design everything we do for the show so it flows smoothly across development of the game." Although I got the sense that Syfy is leading the fiction of Defiance, unlike most videogame tie-ins, Trion is not playing second fiddle. The MMO-focused San Diego studio has taken some smart precautions to distance itself from the show, such as moving the game’s location to a different city. This allows events in the show to appear in the game at a later date and vice versa. An otherworldly "razor storm" or alien invasion can arrive in the show with an appearance in the game, in the following month. Considering the distance between St. Louis and San Francisco (where the game takes place), the gap in time makes sense and builds immersion. “We want to have these crossovers be impactful. If they sat on top of each other, we would have to make them constant and we can’t make them constant,” Hill says. “We need that buffer space between.” Razor storms and hell bugs are neat, but Defiance is a show about characters. Though MMOs have broad appeal, storytelling isn’t one of the genre’s strengths. Defiance seeks to change this by weaving a story that is complete on its own but also provides players with deeper insight on the history and motivations of characters in the TV series. For example, the opening mission introduces Nolan, a Han Solo type wandering the badlands, who gives the player a rifle and artifact that can be deadly in the wrong hands. When the Syfy series premieres two weeks after the game’s release, players will see Nolan, the show’s main character, deal with the aftermath of this action in the game. The experience is an additive one, not supplementary. “The game is a MMORPG and therefore a basic world. It continues to exist even when we stop shooting. You need one of these worlds to stop so that we can reseed, reboot, and re-synthesize,” Grant Bowler, who plays Nolan, says. “That becomes seamless on your end but on our end it gives us an opportunity to see how events fold and unfold in the game. We re-engineer so it is a congruent universe in the show.” The experience for the cast has been a unique challenge, as well. Before Nolan ever walked onto the St. Louis set, he walked into virtual San Francisco. Or, more accurately, he walked onto a green screen wearing a motion capture suit to make character stances and deliver lines. “That’s a very odd thing for an actor, because I walked in and the mocap guys and Trion guys were like how, “How would your character do this?” Bowler says, with the energy and enthusiasm you'd want from an action hero. “I dunno! We’ve never done it!” If letting Trion take the first step in directing actor performances is not an indication that Syfy is making a gamble, a tour of Syfy’s studio lot for the show serves as clear evidence that the niche cable network is going all-in for Defiance. If not one of the most refreshing sci-fi premises for the network since Battlestar Galatica, it certainly matches its scale and ambitions. The massive set houses most, if not all, locations for the series, with buildings added to before being featured in new episodes. From the oak tree in the middle of a whore house to cargo crate homes stacked outside, every corner of Defiance’s set is brimming with detail, color, and personality. “I think what’s wonderful about the creation of the town is that you see history repeat itself. It’s almost like a mosaic of different time periods and different wars and different cultures all coming together,” actress Stephanie Leonidas, who represents one of seven alien races on the show, says. “In a sense, this town is timeless. For me, it’s almost feudal. There is something extremely dangerous in that and extremely sad and mysterious.” Stop me if you heard this one before: Defiance takes place in a post-apocalyptic America where cities now reflect the Western frontier, resources are scarce, and cars have roll cages. But, here’s where things get interesting: Earth now houses seven different alien species with different motivations and histories. While Earth is drained of resources, it is also under constant threat of terra-morphing machinery that drastically alters the landscape it touches. St. Louis, where the show takes place, may be a wasteland, but Las Vegas is now an island with rich vegetation and dense jungle. And, of course, there are weird, wild beasts for TV stars to run from and gamers to chase. The show’s art and costume department work within the set. David Peterson (Game of Thrones) created three languages for the series, one of which already has 3,000 words. The fiction is so deep that the writers at Trion and Syfy share a private Wiki system so that they can always be on the same page. It took Halo several sequels and novels to build up a mythology so dense, but Trion gets to play within this world from the start. Despite early rumors that players would be able to directly influence the TV series, Syfy’s producers have made a firm stance during the set visit that this will not be the case. However, Hill is confident that Trion will have more freedom to experiment in season two, by including more drastic player choices and highlighting specific characters in story sequences (though, it was unclear if this would be limited to in-game cutscenes). “The TV show is not choose your own adventure […] We know what we are doing in the TV show. This is about creating great satisfying drama,” executive producer Kevin Murphy says, during one of many panels throughout the day. “These two experiences holistically create a larger experience. If you’re a gamer watching the show, you’ll go: “Oh wow! So that’s where that went?” During a cast Q&A session, Gowler says that the game is complete on its own; it can be played without ever watching the show. Another cast member shouts, “Don’t say that!” It gets the biggest audience laugh during the panel. Underneath the laughter is the reality that Syfy and Trion must face soon enough: What happens if one succeeds while the other fails? Will players flock to Defiance amidst the arrival of a new Grand Theft Auto? Will viewers stick with a show, as Game of Thrones and other geek favorites comes back to air? After Toronto’s relentless winter comes and goes, we’ll have some answers to those questions. Whether there are positive results or not, Defiance will likely be remembered as one of gaming and televisions’ most ambitious moments and it couldn’t have happened without the other. At least, initially.
When TV meets MMO photo
One of the spring's biggest shows is also its biggest MMO
[For a glimpse at Defiance (the game) and its new PvP modes, check out our recent preview and return here for a look at the TV series. Also, MEBTWK] “Four years ago, both we and Syfy knew we were going to do this, ...

Preview: Defiance

Oct 17 // Allistair Pinsof
Defiance (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC [previewed])Developer: Trion WorldsPublisher: Trion WorldsRelease: April 2013 Defiance isn’t based on a TV series, it’s part of one. Launching two weeks before the premiere of Syfy’s most expensive production yet, Trion Worlds (Rift, End of Nations) is introducing players to the world of Defiance. In time, the TV series will introduce elements to players, such as hell bug invasions and deadly storms that start in the TV show’s St. Louis setting and slowly make their way to San Francisco, where the game takes place. This creates an interesting dynamic between the two mediums that binds the story of each together. There are also narrative ties that give background information on events and characters in the show, connecting the gaps between episodes and -- if all goes as planned -- seasons. Before I knew of the TV angle, I became familiar with the game from people comparing it to Borderlands. The shoe certainly fits. You’ll traverse a wasteland, shoot random bandits, and collect loot/xp. What’s wrong with that? A Borderlands MMO sounds pretty good to me! Defiance can become pretty hectic as players join up for a mission. Main missions are shared experiences where any player can fulfill objectives for all, while side missions require each player to act. The game balances player count by adding tougher “Elite” enemies and increasing other enemies’ health. The demo felt rather easy but that may have been because I was early in the game. Playing with 15 or so people in a multiplayer match felt great, as did five or so joining me randomly for a mission. Trion is hesitant to talk player count because it’s a sensitive issue that affects not only the server tech but all aspects of the game’s design. I found the spontaneous chaos of players exciting but if that number goes into the triple-digits it could become maddening. Trion is trying to figure out the player count for each space, so players don’t lose sight of what the game’s story and mission objectives. I have mixed feelings about this, mostly because I endorse 400+ player virtual orgies. If it breaks the game, we can at least have a good time doing it! Shooting, throwing grenades, and running feels pretty standard for a third-person shooter but game-changing for an MMO. It's always fun to shoot things, especially in the context of an MMO. Like Borderlands, you’ll acquire tons of weapons and loot that modifies your shield, grenades, and other equipment. There are also active and passive abilities to unlock. The demo I played featured cloaking, rage, sprint, and decoy abilities -- some made more sense in a competitive setting than others. Another key aspect are vehicles which you can summon with the touch of a button at any time. More vehicles will be earned and unlocked over the course of the game, making the large landscapes of an MMO a playground instead of an obstacle. For the first time, Trion showed off its Shadow War multiplayer mode that creates a “Capture the Nodes”-type game in the middle of an area. At any time, other players can observe, join, or ignore these matches. They can be a stupendous spectacle or a quick distraction, depending if you add the match to your queue or not. There are also arena-based matches, but Shadow War seems like a much more original idea. It’s pretty hilarious to be in an intense firefight while some other clan drives by on their ATVs, rushing to the next story mission. One area that Defiance doesn’t shine is in visuals. Though Trion didn’t show off much of the game’s world, what I was shown is decidedly darker and lamer than what I saw on the set of the television series. The fiction is a rich one that pulls from a lot of history and culture, but the game area and missions shown looked as generic as can be. This is Borderlands before the iconic cel-shading art direction was applied. Defiance is rough around the edges and a bit ugly and, with six months until launch, Trion face a challenge in getting it on par with the TV series. On the other hand, the game is fun -- something I don’t often (ever?) say about MMO games. The shooting, player dynamic, innovative interaction with the TV series, and RPG elements make for a unique MMO that I’m willing to give a shot when it releases in April. I just hope that the game manages to capture some of the detail, color, and personality of the TV show.   ... What could this be? F3LZLK
Massive co-op is massive photo
Trion's refreshing take on PvP and co-op may just be what MMOs need
The wasteland of Fallout may be impressive in terms of scale and detail, but I always feel a bit lonely in it. Defiance is such a world, but it’s one constantly shared with other players. At any time, your clan may s...

Preview: End of Nations is still free, and still fun

Sep 14 // Abel Girmay
End of Nations (PC) Developer: Petroglyph Games Publisher: Trion Worlds Release: Fall 2012 For the uninitiated, I'll run through the basics. End of Nations is a free-to-play MMORTS from some of the minds behind the Command & Conquer series. Like any MMO, the world here is persistent with players picking factions before jumping into seasonal campaigns. While a seasonal campaign was mostly hinted at when I saw the game last year, the system is pretty much fleshed out now. Basically, campaigns will be approximately month-long events where players will battle for control over the persistent world map. At the end of each season, the campaign will end and the maps will reset, with rewards and bonuses handed out to players on the winning faction. The seasonal campaigns also provides a more natural way to introduce new unit types, patches, and other forms of post-launch support. End of Nations plays around with established RTS conventions. The biggest change many of you have heard of by now is the absence of any sort of base building. All units that you bring into battle are determined by preset loadouts, called companies. An extra mechanic that Petroglyph has added to this feature is the ability to swap out entire companies mid-game. We got to play around with this feature on Nations' smallest 1v1 map. Playing "Last Man Standing," the objective was to simply survive the onslaught of AI-controlled enemies. With a middle barrier separating your units from directly combating your opponents', the competitive element comes in when you manage to gather enough resources on your half of the map, and send small mercenary units to sabotage your opponent. Being able to switch companies was particularly useful in this match, as my tank-heavy company was starting to fall apart against enemy air units. That being said, there are some countermeasures in place to prevent the system from being abused. For one, I lost my entire setup across the map, as my new company would only spawn at my starting landing pad. This wasn't too great a sacrifice on the small map I was playing on, but it's definitely a sacrifice worth considering when you're playing on the larger maps. Also, there is a delay between when your previous company disappears and your new one spawns. Other than that, we briefly played a 4v4 game of Domination, which plays similarly to other control-point game modes. There are three capture points on the map that award points for the amount of time you hold them, with the winner being declared when a team hits the score cap. Again, it plays how you would expect a game of Domination to play, but there are twists introduced with respect to the map design. The map we tried, called Resource Hog, was a resource-littered map, except many could only be reached by specific unit types. This really plays into how you coordinate with your teammates. Do you want to have a dedicated resource gatherer, or split the duties? Or maybe you want to wing it and swap out your companies if you don't have the right units to reach a certain area. In any case, you can't let them fall into enemy hands, as resources are the precious currency that fuels your super weapons, such as napalm and the dreaded nuke. It's a great time for free-to-play games. Just at this past PAX Prime, you couldn't walk for five minutes without seeing a bevy of impressive free-to-play titles. And as one of the few standouts of its subgenre, End of Nations is well poised to see its original promise pan out.

When I first saw End of Nations last year, I was one part intrigued, one part skeptical, and all together hoping that the promise of a massively multiplayer real-time strategy game would pan out. Since then, we at Destructoid...


Rift: Storm Legion dated, pre-order bonuses detailed

Includes early dungeon access and a cape
Sep 05
// Jordan Devore
Trion Worlds has announced that Rift's first expansion, Storm Legion, will be launching on the same day in North America and Europe: November 13, 2012. I'm not playing the game, and frankly, I don't know how many of you are ...

Defiance developer diary explains what the game is about

Aug 09
// Brett Zeidler
Trion Worlds has released a new developer diary where they talk all about what makes their upcoming shooter MMO Defiance tick. Jayson shed quite a bit of light on the game at Comic-Con last month, but Trion went into the fin...

Trion Worlds announces Gamescom plans

Aug 07
// Fraser Brown
It looks like Trion Worlds' has a fair amount to show off at Gamescom, which is impending. During the conference, which takes place in Cologne between the 16th and 19th, Trion will be showing "Storm Legion" for Rift to consum...

Get clued up on Rift's Storm Legion

Aug 01
// Fraser Brown
Trion Worlds has released a bunch of new lore for their upcoming Rift expansion, "Storm Legion". Infinity Gates, God Engines, Blood Storms, it all sounds like nonsense to me. I suppose there are only so many things you can ca...

Trion wants you to come back to Rift for a few days

Jul 26
// Fraser Brown
MMOs are like needy ex-lovers. Not content to fondly remember the good times and simply move on, they always want you to come back. In this case the ex is Rift. Trion are inviting old players, who have at least one level 20 c...

Ten things to know about Defiance

Jul 16 // Jayson Napolitano
[embed]231396:44411[/embed] #1: The Story Defiance has a truly fascinating story. Several alien species, upon discovering that their home systems were going to be destroyed, built ships known as arks and put representatives of their respective species on board along with some of their native flora and fauna. They ended up at Earth, not realizing we were already here, and proceeded to set up colonization rights in exchange for technology. This of course pissed a lot of people off who had to be relocated. Soon thereafter, the in-orbit arks were sabotaged and destroyed, causing their debris to rain down onto Earth with their terra-morphing machinery intact, causing radical changes to the surface of the planet and leading to generalized chaos and war. The game and television show take place 40 years later on a drastically different Earth where governments and primary communications have been destroyed. #2: The Setting While the television show takes place in St. Louis, the game takes place in San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area. Both cities are frontier cities where a valuable alien mineral called golenite has been discovered, and people are traveling to these areas to stake a claim. The terra-morphing machinery found within the arks has turned portions of the city completely alien, while some are still intact and others are half-alien, half-human hybrids. You’ll explore wilderness and cityscapes, and will come across familiar sites including the Golden Gate Bridge which is now blown up, contorted, and un-crossable. According to Beliaeff, “We want that Planet of the Apes moment. San Francisco has so many landmarks that we wanted people to say, ‘Oh God, this really is Earth, and a lot has changed.’” #3: The Music Bear McCreary, known mostly for his work in television on shows including Battlestar Galactica and The Walking Dead, is composing music for both the game and television show. That puts him in a pretty unique position to bring continuity across the two properties as most game projects based on television shows get different composers. McCreary is working hard to create unique themes for the various alien races as well as reference material from Earth’s musical history, including the 1980s through the 2000s. We’re told that there will be a lot of dramatic orchestral score for the television show while the game may feature more action-oriented themes. Also of note is the fact that McCreary’s unique position as the composer for both the show and game has turned him into somewhat of an expert resource for both teams. “If a member of this race was to pick up an instrument and start playing, what might it look like?” is a question that’s been brought to him several times, so he’s had to work with the team’s full-time mythology coordinator to develop unique instruments for the world’s various races that may even be mocked up and used in the television show. Maybe he ought to file a few patents for these instruments while he's at it! #4: A Complete Story Out of the Box An entire storyline will be available out of the box, although there will be places for the team to plug in events that occur in the show into the game. There will also be regular content updates and possible expansion sets. Zone events (described below) use a modular plug-and-socket model to easily manage events throughout the game world. #5: Intuitive Controls The game plays and feels a lot like Halo. I was able to pick up an Xbox 360 controller and figure it out within 15 seconds, so I will also say that the controls are super intuitive. Using this controller configuration, the right trigger shoots, the left trigger zooms, the right shoulder throws grenades, and the left activities abilities. Pressing the right analog stick down performs a melee attack, and various other buttons are used to jump, crouch, and reload. #6: Lots of Ways to Get Around The game takes place in a large persistent world where players assume the role of a mercenary. The primary hubs where people will meet were described as “mainly outposts where characters can interact and trade.” When asked just how large the world would be given that it only encompasses sections of Northern California, we were told that they’re still working on that, but players will be able to use an ATV to cover more distance, and there will be a travel option to go between major locations (but “not too many, as we want you to interact with the world”). They’re also considering allowing players to spawn into the game next to their friends to immediately get into the action as opposed to having to coordinate a meeting spot. #7: No Political System While there isn’t a planned political system where players can group together and battle with one another for control of certain zones, there are factions that players can align themselves with for quests and notoriety. It seems as though the goal is for Defiance to be more collaborative than competitive. #8: Dynamic Event System (Ark Falls) Pieces of the arks mentioned above are still in orbit with things living within them. These pieces randomly enter orbit and crash down onto the Earth, changing the environment due to the terra-morphing machinery. If players choose to partake in these events which involved killing a bunch of hellbug creatures in the demo we played, special minerals and technology can be obtained. While small ark falls will occur throughout the entire game world, larger, zone-wide ark falls will also be featured using their plug-and-socket model. #9: No Strict Class System The game doesn’t feature a strict class system, but rather allows players to customize their character however they wish. One ability can be equipped at a time, but players can level up any ability he or she chooses, although it will be impossible to achieve the maximum level for all abilities, leaving players to prioritize what kind of character they’d like to play. In groups, it’s beneficial to have each member choose a different ability. These abilities also have an impact on the weapons that can be equipped which include sniper rifles, shotguns, and a beam weapon with an area effect attack and a secondary healing function, effectively making these players a medic class. #10: Enemies and Loot The hellbug creatures that have been featured heavily in promotional materials for the game are actually a mutation and not something that was brought to Earth by the alien races. They were actually small foreign bacteria that mutated and became these hideous creatures. We encountered them frequently during the ark fall events because apparently the minerals contained within the arks are something that the hellbugs thrive on, so they aggressively defend the precious resource both by directly attacking players and by building defensive structures. One such structure has weak points located all around its body that players have to focus their fire on, emphasizing the first-person shooting in the game. Other enemies include cyborg miners and another alien race that acts as a constant threat in both the game and television show that provides somewhat of a rallying point for all of the other races to join together against. When I asked about drops, and what the hellbugs in particular may drop, we were told, “Hellbugs eat everything, so they do drop guns.” There will be rare drops from sub-bosses that appear randomly in the game world as well as in quests and four-player instances, and they will feature different visual appearances so players know they’re important. We asked about PVP, and while we were told it will be in the game, Trion isn’t ready to talk about it until gamescom. -------------------- I had a lot of fun learning about and experiencing the world of Defiance, but are you sold on this hybrid television show/videogame and its first-person shooting gameplay within an MMO world?
Truly fascinating
Defiance is SyFy and Trion Worlds’ venture that breaks new ground by simultaneously developing a television series and videogame within the same universe, and even sharing a few characters between the two. We were only ...


Closed beta event for End of Nations set for July 20

Jul 03
// Jordan Devore
The first closed beta event for End of Nations will take place starting on Friday, July 20th at 12:01am Eastern and last through Sunday, July 22nd at 11:59pm Eastern. That ought to give you plenty of time to sign yourself up...

E3: Gorgeous free-to-play shooting all over your Warface

Jun 10 // Ryan Perez
A blatant reason why Warface is so great looking exists: It's being developed with CryEngine 3. It's arguably the most technically advanced engine to date, so that says something for a game that will actually cost you nothing to experience. A lot of the CryEngine 3's trickery can be seen in the game: HDR lighting, real-time weapon customization, displacement mapping, etc. You may be wondering why this even matters. Well, plenty of people still exist who seem to have a bias against anything free to play; they instantly associate games under this model as cheap or low quality. Also, plenty of gamers still judge the quality of a game (at least at first) by its visuals, alone. With that said, if you're one of those people, and need better graphics than Warface to be convinced that F2P games can be worth your time, then I'm sorry to say that you're screwed. This is about as good as they can look right now, and anything better can just be considered the natural graphical progression of the medium. Sorry, bub. Some gamers don't always judge games based on their looks, though, but rather the quality of the experience they provide. (We tend to also call these gamers "humans.") Still, a general stigma remains around F2P games as having poor production values and low development times. Well, I hate to ruin their preconceptions as well, but even Warface busts that theory. The game is just as strong of a shooter as those you find in retail stores, and even does some great things with the genre that got me smiling and saying, "That's pretty cool." The shooting is quick, tight and precise; I just want to get that out of the way right now. Players can pull off some decent moves, such as long slides behind objects -- or towards others to rack up a nice melee kill -- as well as boosting and pulling teammates up to high ground. For a game that's based solely on multiplayer, I had to conjure up all my past MP experiences to critique it and, quite honestly, it held up very nicely. What made it even better was that, instead of it merely being MP in the player-versus-player sense, the game will also feature daily alternated co-op missions for teams to complete for in-game currency. Essentially, four others and I faced off against the game's AI to reach specific checkpoints. It wasn't until later in the game that we realized how much smarter it would have been for one of us to have played at a medic, however. Thankfully, Warface lets players purchase "coins" to resurrect themselves and get back into the action. These are available in co-op only, though -- wouldn't want to make things too unfair against others. I loved this PVE mode, as it sets this game apart from the others who only provide a PVP experience. One of my favorite features that Warface offered was its clever way it implemented RPG elements. Like most other shooters these days, the game provides several weapons and gear to unlock via stacking kills and leveling up. The difference here is that Warface not only requires that you choose one of three categories per match to level up (weapons, armor, equipment), but the items you unlock on those categories are randomly selected. Why is that cool? Because now you're almost guaranteed to not have to grind your way to the max level in order to get that one gun you've been looking forward to. Remember your favorite weapon being attained at level 15 in one CoD, yet attained at level 60 in the sequel? Yeah, no more of that crap. To sum things up, Warface looks like a solid -- and pretty! -- shooter that not only provides some decent alternatives to gameplay, but it also costs you nothing to try. Many are saying that this E3 was the "year of the bow," but I say free shit was more prevalent ... and I'm not talking about all the T-shirts. This is one of the best times to be a gamer, because, when you really look at it, we have more opportunities to play on a budget than ever. Prepare to download your copy of Warface on PCs later this year.

To say that a lot of free-to-play games were at the show this year would be an understatement. Though they weren't all of the same genre, I saw a holy God crap-ton of F2P titles everywhere. This model is spreading like a wild...

E3: End of Nations combines the old in new ways

Jun 08 // Allistair Pinsof
Along with ridiculously large maps (28 vs. 28), End of Nations will feature 2-on-2 maps that play drastically differently. These maps incorporate the AI-controlled brainless troops found in DOTA and other MOBA games to add some friction to smaller matches. So even when you play with only four players, End of Nations will still be hectic and tense. Want something more relaxed and slow? Look elsewhere.Despite the heightened sense of speed and units on the field, End of Nations does many novel things to ease players into the game. For instance, hovering over units will immediately tell you everything about them, including whom they are likely to win and lose battles with. No more need to have a spreadsheet in front of you to learn the rock-paper-scissors logic of battle.  Another nice feature are the Elite Companies that serve as a starter pack for new players. Choosing your unit loadout (there is no base building) can be a daunting task, given the options available in End of Nations. So, for the first few maps, you’d better served by using one of these pre-set units that are designed to work together. For example, the Blitz company are a fast group of German infantry that can quickly infiltrate enemy lines and capture resource points. Conversely, Liberation Front are a group of rebellious French-Canadians with powerful, long-range tanks that rely on scout units for reconnaissance. Whatever your play style may be, there will be a company that meets your preferred approach. Once you feel comfortable working with these starter groups, you can start building your own unit loadout.Though End of Nations will be free-to-play, units can only be earned, not bought. You can spend your money on bacon skins for your tanks, though, if that appeals to you. This, along with all the things mentioned above, has me hopeful that End of Nations will do for the RTS what Tribes Ascend did for the free-to-play FPS.

You had me at RTS, but lost me at MMORTS. What’s that? You’re made by ex-Westwood Studios members and heavily inspired by Relic Studios’ output? Okay, you have my attentions again, End of Nations. End of ...

E3: Storm Legion gives Rift more land, more adventures

Jun 06 // Allistair Pinsof
The demo took place in a new dungeon with an eye-catching Steampunk aesthetic. The walls were lined with cogs and pendulums, surrounded by elegant, detailed texture work. There is a lot of depth in these environments that make the game stand out amongst other games in the genre. This new focus on discovering lost, ancient technology is a nice twist for those who feel a bit tired of Rift's established world. Another impressive addition is a new set of boss encounters with colossuses, which sound exactly like you imagine. In an effort to have more 80+ player raids outdoors, Storm Legion offers a couple instances with these towering juggernauts that are as tall as a 20-story building. These things are absolutely massive. Seeing them approach you, having their foot take up your entire screen is really something I haven't seen in an MMORPG before. The way these battles play out are also unique to the genre. There is a lot of timing-based attacks in these fights. If you time a hit against the colossus correctly, you'll gain speed and damage boosts. As their armor gets destroyed, more boosts fall to the ground that can be picked up for further bonuses. After dealing a couple serious blows to this beast, he takes off and smashes through a wall, unveiling a new area for players in the instance to explore. Storm Legion seems to be doing a lot of unique things not only in the world of Rift but in the larger genre it is a part of. With ten additional levels to gain, new mounts, and a whole lot of interesting, new content, this appears to be the perfect shot in the arm for Rift's player base. Come and get your MMO heroin in Q4 2012

15 months and nine major patches later, Trion Worlds is looking to expand the real estate of Rift. With the addition of two new continents, Dusken and Brevane, the player space of the popular MMORPG has been tripled. Trion Wo...


Rift expansion Storm Legion adds two continents and more

Jun 01
// Jordan Devore
To accompany this morning's trailer for Rift: Storm Legion, we've got more details on this next major step for Trion World's MMO. Due out later this fall, Storm Legion will add two new continents, an expansion of the Ascended...

End of Nations gets a color commentary treatment

Jun 01
// Conrad Zimmerman
A new trailer for Petrogylph Games' End of Nations has been released this morning, which features gameplay footage from a battle over an Austrailian uranium mine, accompanied by a pair of commentators performing in the ...

Defiance trailer blurs lines between TV and game mediums

Jun 01
// Conrad Zimmerman
TRION World's Defiance is a rather bold idea, pairing a television show with a massively multiplayer online game on the promise of players being able to impact the whole of the story through their actions. The game's E3...

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