Defiance New Player Guide

Trion Worlds unleashed Defiance today. Getting started as an ark hunter can be a little daunting. Fortunately, our new player guide is here to smooth the learning curve.
Trion Worlds is trying to break digital ground with their new game and television series, Defiance. As a gamer, this is something I want to support because the more borders we kick down in the industry more this magnificently unique pastime of ours benefits. Trion Worlds is becoming known for knocking on their share of borders, though sometimes more successfully than others. Whether Defiance ends up being a success for them remains to be seen. I like a lot of what I’ve seen of the game so far, but there are a few hurdles that could drive away new players. Before you rage quit take a quick read through these newbie tips. You may find that a little knowledge makes the game more enjoyable than you expected.

Understanding the UI

If Defiance has any problem, it’s the insanely complicated UI. This thing had to have been developed by cocaine-fueled Pols, because it could only make sense to the same minds that managed to unravel the mystery of the Enigma Machine. This UI is a beast, and appears to be some hybrid of a console-interface. Whatever the genesis, crazy is what it is now. Here are some important things you’ll need to know to get around:

  • Exiting the Game – When just getting out of Defiance is all you want to do, hit Esc, hold down the space bar, and you’ll see the exit button in the top right-hand corner of the screen. You can also type /exit or /quit in chat.
  • Deleting Items – Not every inventory screen has the delete option. Type I to enter your inventory, select an item that is not currently equipped, and the delete button shows up in the bottom right corner of the screen. Remember, not every inventory screen has the delete option. (I said it again to see if it made more sense the second time. It didn’t.)
  • Equip Perks – Perks aren’t enabled automatically. You have to equip them on the Loadout screen (L), and initially you can only use one at a time. As you level up, you gain the ability to equip more at once, but more on perks in a bit.
Defiance New Player Guide

Not that you’ll be looking for it very quickly, but the exit button can be a pain to find.

Starting and Leveling

Now that you know how to navigate the UI, there are a few things you need to know as you start your experience in Defiance. First, it’s not obvious when you start your new character, but “Origin” doesn’t make any difference. It only determines what weapons you start with. Once you’re in the game, you can pick up and use any weapon you like, and there are no restrictions on gaining EGO abilities.

Because Defiance is a system without classes, there are also no restrictions on which weapons you can use. You can pick-up and wield any you find as long as you have the inventory space for them. There are reasons to pick a weapon and stick with it, however. Weapons are associated with skills, and those skills can be leveled up to grant stat bonuses. Keep an eye on your weapon skills, and when one reaches max level, try using another for a while.

There is safety in numbers, and leveling tends to go faster as well. You don’t have to even be in a group. Just running missions and killing stuff in the same general area as other players will net you more experience and better loot. While many missions can be completed solo, and there are tons of side missions that don’t need to be completed at all, it’s often worth your time to stop and join in if you see a group of players working to complete a mission you had planned to skip.

Defiance New Player Guide

In Defiance, hunting around other players isn’t just less dangerous, it’s more rewarding too.

EGO Sum ens Omnipotens

The EGO is where you start really defining how you play the game. It’s accessed by hitting the K key on your keyboard. In the EGO menu, you can spend points on new abilities, perks, or upgrade already unlocked versions of either. Everything has multiple levels, with each level increasing the functionality of the ability or bonuses of the perk.

You will start off the first time by selecting whatever you want your first ability to be. Then, as you level up, you get points to purchase more. You only have access to a single ability at a time and a limited number of perks, so choose wisely. You can purchase another ability to open up another section of the EGO grid, but you can also work your way there through perks. Each perk or ability you unlock opens up future access to any locked perks around it.

Here’s a handy EGO Calculator to help you see what each of the perks are and plan the route you want to take. To get you started, the four available abilities are:

  • Blur – Allows you to run faster, dodge better, and gives a pretty big boost to melee attacks against shields.
  • Cloak – Makes you invisible, obviously. Also recharges your shields if they’ve become damaged.
  • Decoy – Creates several holographic copies of yourself to distract enemies. Using the power again causes you to swap places with one of the decoys.
  • Overcharge – Weapons do more damage, have reduced recoil, and reload instantly.


Salvage gets its own section because there’s more to it. (We’ll go over it briefly here, but refer to our soon-to-be-posted crafting guide for a more detailed overview.)

It’s a pretty basic process, but not all items can be salvaged early on, so don’t get frustrated. To salvage, you open the Loadout screen and then select the Modifications tab at the top. Select the item you want to salvage and then choose to “Breakdown to Resources.” This gives you the Ark Resources you need to add modification slots to weapons.

Mod slots come in four flavors: Barrel, Magazine, Sight, and Stock. Mods are also restricted by the type of weapon they can be used on. The mistake I made during beta was not understanding that fact and keeping loads of mods that I’d never use rather than recycling them into Ark Resources. Also, realize that not every weapon can have mods, so that awesome green sniper rifle may not be as good as it first appears.

Read the tool-tip for each mod and make sure you want to hold on to it. Selling or salvaging mods will save you some inventory space and since you typically want to hold a few types of weapons in your inventory, space starts getting precious pretty quickly.


There are some interesting mechanics in Defiance that separate it from other games in the genre. Trion Worlds obviously sat down and put some thought into how to keep players having fun, while still upholding the feel of their story. Understanding some of those mechanics can make your life a lot easier… or at least prolong it a little.

  • Ammo Points – On the map they look a little like a greyish diamond with a slash down the middle. You have limited ammo, but these are inexhaustible points to reload from. Take advantage of them every time you see them.
  •  Revive and Be Revived – In Defiance, dying isn’t the end of the line. You have a period where you can drag yourself around and be healed by any friendly player. If you go down, try to drag yourself clear or to a high-traffic area like a road. Return the favor and revive other fallen players when you can. After all, the more folks playing in an area, the safer it is.
  • Drops – Anything you can see on the ground is yours. Drops are random for anyone who damaged a mob, so do a little to everything. It’s a good way to pick up extra ammo and gear, and because it’s a random chance for anyone who touched the mob, you’re helping, not stealing.
  • Stop, Drop and Roll – Use the ALT key to dodge incoming attacks or remove debuffs. Rolling around on the ground will put out fires and get rid of other adverse effects. Several attacks are slow enough to dodge as well, so remember where your ALT key is, and use it.
  • Intel Menu – One of the coolest features in Defiance is the Intel menu where you can find more information on areas and mobs. The best part is the Video section where you can find really good information on new mobs you’re encountering and what you need to know about them.
Defiance New Player Guide

Good intel is the foundation of any successful operation. Besides, it also makes life less frustrating.


Early in the game, you’ll get access to an ATV, which will make travel much faster. There’s a lot of travel early in the game, so it’s a good thing. Here are some tips for getting around in Defiance.

  • Fast Travel – When you need to get there fast, the Fast Travel option is accessed via the map. Double-click any blue icon to travel there.
  • Waypoints - Opening up the map, you can right-click anywhere you want to go and the game will not only waypoint it for you, but give you little blue icons to follow to get there along the shortest road.
  • Vehicles – Excuse me while I whip this out… sorry, couldn’t help it. Vehicles are equipped in the loadout screen, and summoned/spawned by hitting “V” on your keyboard. You can run over mobs and kill them, but it’s considered rude in Defiance because it prevents the mob from dropping anything when it dies.
  • Fall Damage – There is none, so parkour to your heart’s content. One of my favorite activities is seeing how far I can jump my little Growler ATV.
  • Ark Falls – Be on the lookout for Ark Fall events. They’re random and can happen anywhere. Bits of ships falling out of orbit and slamming into the ground, these events are a good way to find arktech, and it attracts mobs for the slaughter.

Defiance New Player Guide

No fall damage and cool physics makes for a pretty entertaining diversion from the normal MMO grind.

Support Innovation

Just take a look at the game or the show. I’m not here to advertise for Trion Worlds or anything, but I am a fan of folks who will push the envelope a little and try something new. The whole cross-media thing they’re trying here is something that could really change the direction of the industry going forward, and I think that’s something we should support. For me, the game has been fairly fun as well. It’s a hybrid sort of MMO, and Defiance really strives to be something different.

Unfortunately, that striving has made a rather complicated mess of the game mechanics for what’s should be a fairly straight-forward game. But don’t let that complexity get in the way. Stay tuned to Ten Ton Hammer as we continue to dissect the game and help it make sense to you. Until then, allow me to leave you with a powerful phrase of great wisdom as some consolation to your soul in this time of need: Allons-y!

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