A bit of background here – I must have played World of Warcraft for a good 3+ years before I finally hung up my gear and decided to venture out into the daylight again. I’m sure that if I was so inclined, I could install it, load up my old character, and pick up where I left off without a hitch. I’d probably even get sucked right back into the addiction.
There’s problem #1 with Defiance. It’s not addicting. There’s really nothing to make me want to log in and play, as at its core it is a very basic shooter in the post-apocalyptic style of the Fallout or Borderlands series but without any of the real meat that can get me to reinstall any Fallout or Borderlands title and play it through to the end again. I’ve compiled a short list of what I think can and should be done to improve Defiance for me.
1. Upgrades, upgrades, upgrades! In WOW, Fallout or Borderlands, half the fun of playing is upgrading your weapons and armor every 5 minutes. Sure, it might sound frustrating – but not nearly as frustrating as completing a handful of missions in Defiance only to collect a bunch of crap that’s no better than what I have been using for the past 300 levels. Sure, there’s the mod system which allows the player to customize the weapons on hand when there are available slots for upgrade – but even then, the mods are rarely earth shattering. Woohoo, new scope, .10% increase in accuracy. There’s no armor in defiance, you can customize your look but beyond that all you have are a fairly limited selection of shields that vary in capacity, recharge rate, recharge delay, etc… Want to customize your look? Break out the greenbacks.
2. Skill tree? Who needs a skill tree? Sure, reaching higher EGO levels allow you to unlock various perks but they only take effect if you equip the perk. Better yet, you can only equip a limited number of perks. What a load of crap. Sure, it puts a higher emphasis on making the most of your loadouts, but who wants to back out to a menu and swap loadouts in the middle of a firefight?
3. Speaking of loadouts – get rid of them. The menu system in the game is at best cumbersome, at worst completely daft. Sure, I bet a bunch of development meetings were held but from the way it works I’d guess the leaning tower of hot pockets got more attention. You’re locked in to using two weapons in any loadout. In any game of this nature, I like to have a good shotgun, a machine gun, and a sniper rifle on hand at the same time which allows me to quickly adapt to any situation. There’s no quick adapting in this game. You go in with the wrong loadout, or the right loadout and run out of ammo, forget about it. If you’re lucky you can find a semi-safe place to hide and swap loadouts, but in the mean time you’re still getting hammered from all sides. How about 3-4 weapons on hand – no need to swap loadouts and you can keep firing instead of hoping a PDA can protect you from a bullet.
4. Loot. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by other post-apocolyptic shooters, but one of the things that encourages anyone to explore these unique and highly detailed open worlds is scavenging. You don’t scavenge in defiance. You kill, get stuff, and if you’re really lucky through some miracle get a weapon that’s worth using. The numerous ammo crates scattered across the landscape are nice, but why bother checking out a random site if all I’m gonna get are the same plug and play NPC’s with the same crap drops? Woah, 10 scrip. Woah, a white weapon. Big deal. Give a player more reasons to explore beyond the ridiculously repetitive side missions.
5. Vehicles. The vehicles in this game are a nice touch, but regardless of how they look, they’re all crap. How about the ability to modify them? Rims? Armor? Paint? Mounted weapons? Sure its fun to drive in to a crowd of baddies and try to take a few out before jumping out and hoping that you’ve got the right loadout to keep you from getting fragged 2 seconds later… but how about a fender mounted weapon to have some more fun thinning the herd? Why can’t we sell them? Now that I’ve got my orange Challenger, whats the point of having a half dozen quads in my inventory? Let me sell the things.
6. Vendors. Woohoo, I’ve got 20k script on hand and no place to spend it because all of the vendors sell crap. Sure, there are the faction vendors I can access by completing races or completing other competitive tasks – but even then – crap.
7. Lockboxes are a joke as well. The whole lockbox thing is that if you have enough resources or buy enough bits with real money – you can access the lockbox and get some random weapons, shields, etc… Thing is, these lockboxes all issue crap. You’re lucky if you get a purple, best you’ll get it blue. I’ve heard rumors that you might even see a top-tier orange but as an experiment one night I dropped $20 on bits and bought several tier 4 lockboxes. That entitled me to several random pieces of crap.
Now I’m sure that there are folks who absolutely love this game, and at the start, I was one of them. Every time I login though, I spend less time in game before I logout and play something else that cost me less and provides more satisfaction and replay value. The show the game is based on is actually pretty good IMHO but not enough to keep me playing. I’m glad that they aren’t charging to play the game beyond the initial purchase price because unless some significant changes are made there’s no way in hell this game becomes another virtual ghost-town in the shadow of numerous other titles that aren’t even MMO but are easily worth the price of admission several times over.