Hello and welcome back to my Defiance Daily Diary! I’m now on day 3 and I think I’ve gotten the hang of this game enough to have a good idea of how it works. All those other MMOs really helped out a lot, it seems.
Before I get started properly, I wanted to go over this little tidbit.
No, it’s not to look at the horrendous texture quality. Those low textures are there because this isn’t somewhere you’re normally meant to get. I took one jump with my ATV that was a little too extreme and wound up in this pit. In most games, winding up in a pit like that equates to worse than death. In MMOs, though, there’s usually a way to get out, whether through inventiveness or admin interaction. This was an inventiveness time. I got back in my ATV, activated the rocket boosters, and launched myself out.
It was awesome and effective, and I must say that it’s refreshing to have boosters on a vehicle in a video game that actually function like thrusters instead of just making your vehicle go faster on the ground.
So, back to what I originally wanted to discuss: what is questing in Defiance like? Well, it’s mostly like this:
Yes, most of the objectives in Defiance will boil down to holding the Interact key (default E), regardless of what you’re actually doing. Hacking turrets, restarting generators, and reviving allies is all done with a 2-5 second press of a single key. The hardest part of actually doing anything is the fight on the way there. I don’t think it’s an unfair complaint to want a bit more interaction in my video games, especially a game like Defiance that’s willing to do a little bit extra to keep everything different and fresh. From main story missions, side missions, and small world quests, the “E” key is likely going to be your best friend.
Breaking up the monotony a bit are the Rampage and Time Trial missions. You can probably already guess what these are from the description. Time Trials put you on a pre-set vehicle and have you drive through a set of rings on the ground to beat a high score and gain extra experience and money in the process. Rampage missions give you a pre-set gun and have you go on, well, a rampage against a horde of small enemies or against a few larger ones. Both of these mission types place your score on a scoreboard ranked against other players who have tried the same mission.
Allow me to discuss some of the most enjoyable missions of Defiance, however: Episode Missions. I would wager to say these tie-in missions have been some of the most impressive parts of the game as a whole.
Episode Missions are, as their title implies, missions that are tied to episodes of the television show Defiance. In what capacity they will influence the events the show remains to be seen, but what I can say is that they provide some of the most interesting story-driven content in the game.
These missions see your character, whomever you may be, joining the main characters of the SyFy show on various missions to collect money or items. Nolan and Irisa (the human man and alien woman, respectively) seem to be hands for hire, bounty hunters, and general ne’er-do-wells, but while they are rough around the edges, they both seem like interesting characters. Nolan in particular seems to be a combination of every movie role Harrison Ford played in the 70s and 80s. Their main motivation seems to be to travel to Antarctica, although why that is exactly isn’t explained. I can only assume it’ll be a major plot point in the show.
The presentation of the Episode Missions is cinematic in every sense. Dynamic camera angles, appropriate musical cues, and well-animated characters all contribute to a sense of high production value, none of which I was expecting in an MMO. These missions, especially the cutscenes, feel like the natural progression of what The Old Republic was trying to accomplish with their cinematic presentation, but Defiance has the advantage of well-done animations and characters that actually show emotion.
What’s not present in Defiance, however, is choices when it comes to the story. This is really not a complaint so much as a general statement, as I wouldn’t really expect to be able to personally influence the major characters from the tie-in TV show. I haven’t yet seen any choices available in the main story missions either, but I would assume there aren’t any to be had there as well. Again, this is not really something that can be considered a negative since this is an MMO and that’s a concession I’m willing to accept. The Old Republic did choices rather well, but most of them managed to be wholly inconsequential anyway at the end of the day.
The final Episode Mission (there are 4-5 total so far with more to be added later, as I understand) had me entering a personal instanced area by way of a portal as seen above. This particular portal led into a rather nice-looking cave where Nolan, Irisa and I were tasked with recovering an item for their employer. The mission was scripted and straightforward, and really felt lacking gameplay-wise compared to the wide-open areas you fight in for most of the combat in Defiance. There were some interesting enemies that required me to target specific locations on their body to do any damage and other enemies that carried shields that forced you to flank them from above or behind to defeat them.
If you’re noticing that Nolan and I have the same clothes on, that’s because one of the rewards from the Episode Missions is outfits for your character to wear. I thought Nolan’s apparel was rather appropriate looking for an adventurous ark hunter like myself, so I donned it as well. I don’t think he minded all that much. Along with outfits, you also receive weapons from doing these missions, and most of them were reasonably powerful or interesting. They certainly weren’t overpowered compared to my other gear, but they fit in nicely with the rest of my arsenal.
This bit of extra content was so impressive to me that I felt the need to spend this entire diary on it. If you play Defiance, I strongly recommend checking out these Episode Missions. I also recommend doing it quickly, because they are optional and time-limited. Based on the information I was given, the Episode Missions rotate along with episodes of the TV show. That being the case, this current batch will be gone by the 15th, which is Monday of next week, so do these while you can!
Thanks for joining me for this time on my Defiance Diary. Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part 4 where I’ll be talking about one of the most awesome group events in the game: Arkfalls.