Updated Fri, Feb 22, 2013 by Ralphedelominius
Ever since Defiance was first announced, there have been a lot of mixed signals about exactly what Trion has been building. At first the emphasis was placed heavily on a rich player-versus-environment experience, and one that could notably be experienced on both consoles and PC.
As time went on, we were given a fleeting glimpse of what that portion of the game entails, complete with plenty of bug squashing action around an arkfall (Defiance’s answer to RIFT’s rifts). Our hands-on time during E3 last year left us with a few key building blocks to mull over and decide what the proportions being tossed into the Defiance blender would be in the launch product:
Said bugs tried to crawl up our character’s nose, and I got the distinct urge to equip my giant enchanted two-handed sword to begin tanking them… only this is a shooter so that wasn’t really an option. Instead, I was given violent flashbacks to the backwards kiting and funky strafing combat you had to get used to while fighting with a blaster in Star Wars Galaxies.
While having player characters function like giant mob magnets works fairly well in fantasy, or more melee-centric games, it is far less fun or effective in shooters where you expect the bulk of combat to take place at range. (There’s a reason why most fantasy MMOs have things like snares, or ranged pet classes to account for the mob magnet phenomenon.)
Flash forward a few months to PAX Prime, and suddenly Defiance became a different game. Maybe the summer heat caused the game to undergo some bizarro molting process--we’re really not sure what sparked the major changes over the course of a few months--but the massive, open PvE game we thought Defiance was had somehow transformed into a “shooter first, with whatever MMO hooks that make it in for launch being cherries on top.”
While we knew from the outset that Defiance is a shooter, what we didn’t expect is that Halo-esque multiplayer would end up being the main focus of the game. That was the sum total of what was shown and talked about during PAX, and if you’re one of the awesome people who took the time to read through my admittedly heavily biased preview article from the event, you’ll know I wasn’t really all that impressed.
The Defiance recipe needed to be adjusted a fair bit given the somewhat radical turn of events, and now looks something more like this:
The Halo franchise was used as a point of reference repeatedly during PAX, so depending on what you think of those titles that will either be a good or a bad thing. I’ve never been a fan, personally, but as the saying goes, five million Elvis fans can’t be wrong…
If all goes well this weekend, thousands of gamers will be going through Defiance withdrawl by this time next week, eager for their next sugary game play fix. Despite my tendency to squint with one eyebrow raised every time I’ve seen the game up to this point, I remain quite eager to finally see exactly what this game is all about. Hopefully you’ll be among those joining me this weekend, but either way I’ll be issuing my full report from the front lines once the beta event wraps up.