Defiance Weapons and Salvaging Guide

If you're confused by the weapons and salvaging system in Defiance, you're in good company. We've sorted out some of the basic principles of weapons and crafting to help get you on your way to hunting arkfall like a fully-kitted pro.
You’re playing the new Defiance game, and you’re confused about how weapons work and how to use the crafting system. You’re not alone. In fact, we were confused, too, which is why we took the time to figure things out for you. This guide will take you through some of the basic principles of weapons and crafting, and get you on your way to hunting arkfall like a fully-kitted pro.

ARMS 101 – Intro to Weaponology

In Defiance, you’re not restricted to (or from) anything; the game has no classes, so every weapon type is available. There are some basic things you need to be aware of in order to make better use of all those available weapons, however. To begin with, there are a ton of weapon types:

Defiance Weapons and Salvaging Guide

A good selection of weapons is the hallmark of an experienced Ark Hunter… Or a newb with a pre-order.

  • Advanced Weapon – Various weapons that can be picked up for limited use in some missions.
  • Assault Rifle – Medium to long range weapon with a high rate of fire. Fire in short bursts for maximum effect.
  • Bio-Magnetic Gun – Has two modes, one for killing energy by draining it from enemies, and another that redirects that energy to friendly players in the form of healing.
  • Bolt Action Sniper Rifle – Reach out and touch someone round by round with this weapon at extreme range.
  • Charge Sniper Rifle – Another weapon for extreme ranges, but holding down the trigger charges up the shot for more damage.
  • Combat Shotgun – Short-ranged semi-automatic boom-stick of death.
  • Detonator – There seem to be a few things that fall under this category. Probably should have just called them, “Crap That Goes Boom.”
  • Grenade Launcher – The standard n00b tube, though it is handy for when the wimps won’t come out from behind that cover.
  • Grenade – Known as the Pineapple Express since World War II, a grenade is a great way to clear a room before entering.
  • Guided Rocket Launcher – Exactly what it sounds like, fire a rocket and guide it in to the target.
  • Infector – Remember those Alien movies? Infect your target and watch Junior burst forth in spectacular fashion.
  • Light Machine Gun – Medium range weapons with large magazines for when volume counts for more than accuracy.
  • Manual Sniper Rifle – I’m not sure why this is separate. There are both semi-auto and bolt-action rifles under this heading.
  • Pistol – Short on range, but great for taking down that single target. I’m actually wanting to try these with cloak. I think it could work well.
  • Pump Shotgun – Close range weapon that’s sort of the middle of the pack with shotguns. Good speed, magazine capacity, and damage.
  • Rocket Launcher – Back-blast area all clear! Point and click self-propelled carnage, just be sure you’ve got them faced the right way.
  • Sawed-off Shotgun – Extreme close range weapon with limited magazine, but these guys are death in the hand. I call mine Thumper.
  • Semi-Auto Sniper Rifle – Extreme range, but not quite as accurate or as high damage per shot as their bolt-action cousins. They’re great for providing cover as friends move forward.
  • Shotgun – Not sure why this is a separate type; it contains some of the other types, but not all of them.
  • Spread Rocket Launcher – Fires a number of rockets at a time to rain damage over a large area at long range.
  • Sub-Machine Gun – The ultimate run-and-gun weapon, these are only good at close range, but rapid rates of fire and good magazine capacity make them popular.

Ammo Science

Additionally, though you can resupply ammo from any one of several unlimited supply points, while you’re in missions you’ll have to make do with what drops. In each of the two weapons slots in your loadout, it’s best to equip weapons that work on different ammo types. As you loot ammo from fallen enemies, it’ll refill some of either type. Assault Rifles, Light Machine Guns, and Heavy Machine Guns all use the same ammo, so try not to use more than one of the three at a time.

Defiance Weapons and Salvaging Guide

The fire icon on the right shows that this sniper rifle will do additional fire damage, but no slots means it can’t be upgraded at all (not the four dashes, ----, to the right of the icon).

Also, ammo can come with various bonuses to apply differing damage types and effects. Those types are:
  • Corrosive – Acid damage over time
  • Incendiary – Fire damage over time
  • Siphon – Siphons health from enemy over time
  • Radiation – Damages shields and makes enemy more susceptible to damage
  • Electrical – Stuns some enemies and disables the HUD of other Ark Hunters in PvP
  • Biological – Slows the movements of enemies

Pro-Tip: Some weapons have an ammo-type applied to them natively, but others require the weapon be modified.

Head to page two for the details on salvaging in Defiance.

Understanding Salvaging

There is no crafting per se in Defiance, but there is a salvaging and weapon modification system. It’s like that old commercial: in Defiance, you don’t make the weapons you use; you make the weapons you use better. To support that feature, some weapons are modifiable, but not all of them.

Defiance Weapons and Salvaging Guide

There are several options you have access to in the salvage menu, but not all of them will be available for a given item.

If you find a weapon that can be modified, it’ll typically come with one mod slot already in it, but you can add more in the Salvage Matrix. Access the Matrix and spend Ark Resources to randomly add mod slots to your weapon. There appears to be one catch, however. You can only add mod slots on a weapon once your ego rating is over 100. Slots that can be added are:

  • Barrel
  • Magazine
  • Sight
  • Stock

One thing that isn’t obvious, which may frustrate you as you try to equip mods, is that each mod you pick up is for a specific type of weapon. (The stats for the module will tell you what that weapon type is.) As you saw above, there are a ton of weapon types, and since mods drop at random, there’s a good chance you’ll spend a lot of time hunting mods for your specific weapons.

Defiance Weapons and Salvaging Guide

TThis sniper rifle has a sight modification slot on it. More can be added in the Salvage Matrix with enough Ark Resources.

The other two things that’ll prevent you from adding a mod to a weapon are EGO rating requirements and having that open slot on the weapon. You gain EGO rating by playing the game, and it’s a sort of general indicator of your power. Gear and mods are restricted to players being over certain ratings. Also, as we discussed, weapons don’t always have the slot you need, so spend Ark Resources in the Salvage Matrix and add modification slots to your weapon. (Just be sure your EGO rating is over 100, or you won’t get the option.)

Not all items can be salvaged. To start, go to the Salvage/Modules screen, hit the Select an Item button and pick an item. Once the item is selected, any possible actions will show up below it.

  • Breakdown to Resources – Break the gear down into Ark Resources
  • Attach Mods – Add mods from your inventory to a weapon
  • Remove Mods – Remove mods from a weapon and destroys them, but leaves the empty mod-slot on the weapon
  • Retrieve Mods – Keeps the mod, but destroys the gun
  • Add Mod Slots – Add a random mod slot to a weapon

Salvaged weapons yield Ark Resources needed for adding additional random mod slots to modifiable weapons. Mods can then be added or removed as desired to customize the weapon.

Now that you’ve got a handle on the basics, you want to know more. Once more into the weeds, dear friends, once more!

ARMS 363 – Advanced Weapon Theory

In the general tips guide, we talked a little about skills for various weapon types, but it’s a little more complicated than that. You can also gain experience in each individual weapon as well. As you use that VBI TACC Auto-Shotgun, it accumulates its own experience, while also increasing your experience in the Combat Shotgun category.

Defiance Weapons and Salvaging Guide

Every weapon sub-type has bonuses that can be gained if used enough.

In this example, the Combat Shotgun skill/category can level up a few times, granting a small 2% bonus to falloff damage at rank two. Those bonuses are set, and will be the same for everyone, every time you get enough experience to unlock that level in the skill. The specific VBI TACC Auto-Shotgun has its own experience bar and once that fills up, it’ll add a random stat boost to the weapon.

While the category bonus is fixed, the bonus for maxing out experience on the specific weapon is random. There has been some talk about resetting weapons so that the player can level it up again. The idea is that you level weapons up hoping to randomly get the specific bonus you’re after, but that’s not a function in the game currently.

Defiance Weapons and Salvaging Guide

Some weapons get a random bonus anyway. This one came with a x1.15 Melee Damage bonus, but it’ll get another random bonus when the experience bar fills up.


As you start getting closer to the end-game, there are going to be some more advanced features you’ll want to pay attention to. One of those features is “synergy.” Think of it like armor sets in other MMOs, but they’re part of weapons and mods in Defiance.

Some weapons come with a synergy applied to them already, but to complete the set and get the bonuses, you’ll need to find mods for the weapon that also have the same synergy. If the weapon or mod has it, you’ll see something under the experience bar for the weapon like:

Synergy: Suvivalist
[2] +2% damage to targets with full health and shields

The number in brackets means you need two items with that synergy for that effect to apply. So either the weapon has a synergy already, or you equip two mods with the Survivalist synergy. Seems simple, but here’s the catch: synergies are random, and appear randomly on mods. You know how hard it is to find the exact mod you’re looking for with the right bonus and that’s made for the weapon you want it on?

Yeah… now wait until you’re hunting for that specific mod with the right synergy on it.

Go Defy Something

So, that’s about it. I hope you’ve found this short guide on weapons and the modification system helpful. Defiance can be pretty tough to figure out when you first get in because it’s a slight departure from the standard MMORPG formula. If you’re new to the game and looking for more information to get started, check out my Tips for the New Player article.

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