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 show up and help out on a mission or you may come across a 100+ player competitive match in the middle of a map.
Defiance is an MMO but it’s one unlike any other, though it suffers from some familiar problems in its current state.
Defiance (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC [previewed])
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
|4:00 PM on 04.18.2013|
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...more
|1:00 AM on 04.17.2013|
Here's the first episode of the Defiance TV show
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...more
|4:30 PM on 04.04.2013|
The first two days of Defiance
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...more
|2:00 PM on 03.25.2013|
Gain an unfair advantage with the Defiance scavenger hunt
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...more
|7:00 PM on 03.14.2013|
Next beta event for Defiance is also on consoles
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...more
|8:00 AM on 02.08.2013|
Who wants a code for the Defiance beta?!
[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...more
|1:30 PM on 01.30.2013|
Defiance launches April 2, TV series on April 15
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...more
|8:30 PM on 01.23.2013|
New Defiance trailer and pre-order bonuses detailed
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 ...more
|8:00 PM on 01.09.2013|
Take a look at Defiance the game and the TV show
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...more
|6:30 PM on 01.03.2013|
Trion Worlds opens sign-ups for Defiance beta
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...more
|3:45 PM on 06.14.2013|
Zombie survival title How to Survive was a real gem
In EKO Studios' How to Survive, you'll travel from island to island, monitoring hunger and sleep meters, crafting items from junk you find lying around and, oh yeah, taking down zombies with a bow or machete. The whole u...more
|6:14 PM on 06.12.2013|
The Division has me absolutely giddy right now
Tom Clancy's The Division is to E3 2013 as Watch Dogs was to E3 2012. It's the game at the show that has a ton of buzz around it, as everyone realizes that it's built around a genuinely cool concept. At the same ti...more
|1:40 AM on 06.12.2013|
Scram Kitty is an anti-gravity war against mice in mechs
You thought all that talk about paying attention to indies was just lip service, and that Nintendo wasn't going to follow through on support? You thought wrong! Nintendo is loving the indies at its E3 booth this year! Mario ...more