For the past few weeks or so I have been playing Defiance. As a refresher, Defiance was a subscription-based, TV show tie-in shooter that has since gone F2P. The game plays and handles a lot like an over-the-shoulder Borderlands, in the sense that waves of enemies appear and are dispatched with a large assortment of random weapons.

In crowds, enemies become armor-plated bullet sponges.

In crowds, enemies become armor-plated bullet sponges.

At this point, I think the show is more popular than the game, and that is too bad. Defiance has story quests that are voice-acted and pretty-well put together. You get a vehicle almost immediately after character creation. There are a number of “arkfalls” at any given time, which are dynamic random events which tend to congregate players around specific points on the map. There are a bunch of (repeatable) side-quests which involve racing, sniping, and other such things.

That said, the biggest problem with Defiance is a more fundamental one: the game is only fun with a fun weapon.

Loot in Defiance is random, just like in Borderlands. There are a number of rarities and status effects and such, but the actual number of gun types are pretty well defined. In the course of my ~20 hours of play, my favorite loadout involves a machine gun that pretty much empties a full 75-bullet clip in three seconds and a shotgun that shoots grenades. I was having a lot of fun running around with these weapons when I got them, but as I have scaled higher in “EGO Rating” (roundabout levels) enemy health has scaled such that my favorite weapons are no longer viable. You can upgrade old weapons to near your EGO Rating, but you can only do so once. And I have since outleveled them again.

In the meantime, I am at the mercy of RNG dropping a higher-level version of the guns I enjoy, or really any weapon that is serviceable. There is somewhat of a push to make all of the weapons viable, but there isn’t much you can do to, say, pistols to make them fun to use. Even with super-high damage and a fast fire rate, you would likely be better off with a LMG with 10x the magazine size. Rocket Launchers face the same sort of issue with faster, higher magazine grenade launchers outputting more DPS overall while giving you a buffer in case you miss your shot.

To say nothing about, you know, a shotgun that shoots grenades with 12-14 rounds in a clip and a 250 shell capacity vs the smaller explosive round.

Oh, Von Bach, never change.

Oh, Von Bach, never change.

In any case, I’m not entirely sure how much longer I will be playing Defiance. As mentioned, the story scenes are actually quite amusing in the sarcastic banter sense, and I’m interested in seeing where it goes. The weapon issue though… it does make it difficult sometimes to slog through waves of enemies with crappy weapons to get there.

Posted on March 2, 2015, in Impressions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I quite enjoyed Defiance when it came out but moved to other things. I did play once last week though and did my first indoor Arkfall thing. Unsuccessfully. :(

    I didn’t so much mind the randomness to the loot at the time, and I’d salvage all the white drops I got anyway, and most of the greens. I’d have to actually search the patch notes, which I am disinclined to do at the moment, but fuzzy memory makes me think they changed something while I was gone to make “levels matter” more than they used to. Unfortunate change, in my opinion, if that’s true. I’ll have to look into it when I get more time. I do think they were onto a good idea with Defiance even if some aspects of the execution weren’t entirely successful. My only real gripe was the position of the camera, which could cause you to appear to be shooting at your target when in fact you were shooting the object you’re taking cover next to. That and waaaay too much recoil. But I play shooters, and I kinda got the impression the devs at Trion didn’t so much.


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