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MMO Big Game Hunter

I am often guilty of writing off a game before giving it its dues. In this blog I plan to 'put myself out there' and play some of the MMO's I passed up, to really see if they captivate my hunger as a gamer.

Author: Tsumoro

Defiance: Day 2

Posted by Tsumoro Tuesday April 9 2013 at 8:59AM
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So today I said I would talk a little bit about "Combat, Questing and Dungeons" and I will do my darnest to stay on freaking topic!

 

Combat

Combat in Defiance is exactly how you would imagine a Third Person Shooter to be, it plays just like Gears of War or Mass Effect with regards to it's combats. Of course, it does have it's slight differences and is not over burderned with mechanics such as a cover system or a jump over cover system that is found in those two prior games mentioned. 

You shoot, you move, you crouch, you roll to avoid damage from missiles and grenades and you jump ungodly high. That is about as deep the movement system goes, but, it does not need to go any deeper. 

I suppose you could argue that a cover mechanic would add more depth, but for an MMO to where lots of people are unscreen at the same time, covering and dealing with cover based enemies would just slow down the action.

The cover mechanics from ME or Gears are suitable because it is, for the most part a progressive game in the sense that you have a challenge to over come before pressing onwards with the story. Nothing respawns or repops. They are essentially battle encounters to which you are given tools to overcome the task at hand. 

In Defiance, you have the same tasks, but you would find it very frustrating to be in a gun fight whilst in cover only to find the enemies behind you that you killed earlier suddenly spawn and pincer you. 

Defiance tries to keep the action focused and current with the task at hand and to keep things fresh and enjoyable it throws a mix of enemies at you to overcome. Do you stand far away with a sniper as you deal with rocket launcher mobs then quickly switch to a shotgun as mutants chase you from the rear looking to get friendly with your organs or do you simply go in LMG style and lobbing explosives at everything that looks at you cock-eyed? These are not deep choices, but you will be faced with, and often with scenarios and missions to which many other players are doing. This makes the mission somewhat competitive in nature as you try and best the other player whilst not being a jerk about things.

The might for example go in guns blazing dealing with heavy armoured mobs as you snipe from a distance to help them out, or you  might go in together Left for Dead style and mow down anything that moves. It's your choice and up to you to utilise the abilities and weapons you find most enjoyable. 

 

Whilst we are here we should talk about monster spawning, for i actually enjoy the method used which is pretty much how Borderlands do it. Things don't just suddenly 'appear' but rather come from Monster Boxes which have relevance to the area you are in. 

Mutants might all unload from an armoured APC or absail down from flying choppers. Bandits come up from the ground in mole people like drill vehicles to onslaught you. This might not sound very interesting, but it is enjoyable to have some sort of visual experience that informs you just where these enemies are coming from. Far better than just hanging around, waiting for something to suddenly appear out of thin air. 

 

Now, let's talk about the tools of the trade...

 

Firstly you have two gun slots, to which you can swap between by either pressing Q or using the middle mouse button (which is what I use). This allows you to make a weapon set that will suit how you like to play. At later levels you require load outs which allow you to make builds to help better benefit yourself on certain situations or even others in a group. For example you can get some nice BMG's which allow you to replenish friendly shields, giving you a sort of 'healer' vibe in the game. 

Next, you receive a slot of shielding (simular to Borderlands) to which is your buffer before death system. When the shields go down, its time to hide. So far, I have only found a few different types, all acting a little bit differently from each other, although not vastly different. You get shields that have a lot of power, but a much slower regain. you get shields where a few pops and its gone but recharges devily quick. Unlike Borderlands I have not 'yet' found shields that give you additional perks. 

 

Grenades, you do not buy grenades in this game or restock, it is essentially a piece of gear that you equip that has a cooldown placed upon it. There appears to be a few types, but as of yet nothing drastically differen't much like the shielding. They are, however very useful for bottle necking mobs and laying down some nice explosive damage. In fact, there are perks which benefit the grenade lover.

 

Mods are also present in the game, although the same lack of diversity is apparent, often or not you will encounter guns which all ready have mods installed to which you can remove and replace with your own. However, you cannot install whatever you want to them, you have to equip a specific mod type for your gun and for the mod slot that is open. You cannot equip a magazine mod in a scope slot. Makes sense, but due to the lack of diversity it makes modding your guns seem not very viable and takes away an element of personality and love behind them. 

 

Abilities, you get one 'Focus' ability which plonks you down on the skill tree system. When you level up your EGO you get EGO points to either unlock new perks or upgrade exisiting ones. Now, you can only unlock certain perks, they have to be right next to exisiting unlocked perks and you must be of the appropiate EGO level to utilise them.  You start of with one perk slot and unlock more as you gain in power. 

Essentially they provide abilities and attributes which enhance the playstyle you have picked, much like the perk system in Fallout 3. they can also be changed whenever you please which makes making viable builds interesting when experimenting with weapons. 

However, this does feel rather shallow and sometimes you will feel no more powerful than you did before. 

 

Comabt in this game is indeed fun, but it could of been so much more intimate and personal which is what you expect from an MMO based game. You want to be able to set yourself apart from other people. To have something very unique to your loadout and playstyle and although there is a large assortment of tools, it is nowhere near as diverse and fun of games such as borderlands. 

The game is still in it's infancy presently and I am hoping that they will listen to player feedback on this and create some fun, bizarre tools. After all I want to be playing a game, go about a mission with someone and see them fire their gun and go 'WTF was that??'.

 

Questing

 

With questing, Defiance has played it safe. They have a little something for everyone in it. Not, that I feel there is much they could do with it, nor do I see room for any form of innovation. I imagine they did not want to risk it, considering there is not many FPS/TPS MMO's out there they most likely stuck to MMO tropes that people would immediately recognise. 

In honest, I have no problem what-so-ever wtih the questing. This is a FPS/TPS game and with my time online I expect to go around and kill stuff. Though the game might have RPG elements to it, it is still a shooter based game and essentially you are not playing a 'role' per se in a world where someone needs an apple pie delivered. It is, a harsh world with lots of bad people out there who need a bullet to the head. Sign me up!

 

The community to this game, from the negative stuff I have read have annoyed me somewhat. For these are people that are bored and tired of the MMO staple and tropes that come with it. Yet, they jump on a new game and because it doesn't contain the staples and topes of the MMO they played last they say it sucks. 

But as tropes go, questing in this game is pretty much the same as you would find in World of Warcraft. You have a quest giver, you go and do something, you are rewarded. Very seldom however do you need to return to whence you came in order to receive the reward. You can literally fan out, and knock of quests one after another. 

However, Defiance does bring many things to the table, because at the end of the day their job is to keep you playing and invested in the product and as such there are a few questing types. 

  • Side missions, these are essentially 'Quests' that you would see from games like RIFT or WoW. 
  • Main Mission, essentially the story focused mission to which is personal to the game itself. The main mission is only relevant to the characters actions involving yourself. This is essentially like a SWTOR story based mission. 
  • Episode Mission, brief in it's completion these missions tie into the characters of the television series coming late April. These mission will also expand to include the actions and characters of the television show. 
  • Trials and challanges, around the map there are fun distraction that occupy your time. Anything from racing vehicles, killing mobs in a certain amount of time etc. they are, for the most part, pleasant distractions. 
  • Dynamic Events, the world has many NPC's all going about their day without your intervention. Of course, they do get into trouble. These events are essentially the repeating dynamic illusions that GW2 uses. To which you can opt in and help if you please, or leave the hell alone. Again, they are there to distract you, to keep your journey fresh. 
  • Pursuits, these are goals and achievements to which it states 'Season one' so assume that the series is going to go on for a little bit. These are little nuggets you complete over time, either accidently or purposely for the feeling of completion. 
  • Ark Falls, these are again dynamic events that take place in the world at random locations. They have minor and major versions. I have done presently hell bug, Raider and mutant minors and only hell bug major. They are essentially RIFT MMO based events added into this game. They reward you with gear for completing the major ones and keys for the minors. 
So as you can see, there is something for everyone with enough variation to tie you over for a little while at least!
 
 
Personally I really enjoy the quests and I love the characters in the world. They have personality and the only other game I have played to where I enjoyed the characters as much as I do here is The Secret World. 
 
Of course, people will still dislike the quests, and it's their right to do so. But its about utilising your time correctly and having fun!
 
 
 
Dungeons
 
These are very very fun and very quick to get into. They  have a queue based system that they use to which you sign up, wait to be informed and then join. Of course, in this game there are no 'roles' such as DPS, Tank and Healer, each person is self sufficent with the common goal of success in mind. As such, people for the most part are helpful and will lift you up when you are down they don;t just leave you there to rot.
 
Now, dungeons are not unlocked by EGO level, they are actually unlocked through your progression with the story mission itself. I have personally only unlocked 2 dungeons and I have no idea how many there is.
 
This can be quite annoying, considering the vastness of things to do, your EGO goes up all the time, but if you a dungeon crawler, like I am then it is annoying to have to wait such a long time between dungeons or rush through the content in order to get to the stuff you want to do. 
 
I understand the need to do it as they have as the dungeons do actually tie in to the plot of the main story. But I feel that some dungeons unrelated to the story and instead based on your EGO would of been some fun additions. 
 
Dungeons in this game take you to a map, to which you move from the start point to the end point. They are linear in their approach but they do offer variety and enjoyment. 
 
the first dungeons pits you against mutants in an underground bunker. People have been captured and are being harvested from theit adrenaline to help bolster the mutants life spans. As such, they are not too keen on Ark Hunters coming in to disrupt their plans. 
 
This map was not too much of a challenge, it had mutants that were ranged, some melee, the heavy blue bruisers with mini-gun/grenade launchers and the very rare blur based mob. the boss itself was just a rehash of the blue bruisers, but the lore and reasoning behind going into the dungeon itself and what you learn in there is quite compelling. It also has a means to escape the cutscenes if that is your wish, which everyone typically does after watching it the once. 
 
The second dungeon however was very differen't to the first one, not only are you pitted against the raiders. You begin to learn that there is some sort of cult going on here. This takes you through sections that are vehicle combat as well as treating you to two bosses, up by one of the previous dungeon. 
 
 
These dungeons as I have said are very fun, they are quick to get into and they reward you with keys which help you buy lock boxes. A bit grindy I know but the mobs inside them do also drop some nice rewards. It is as is any other dungeon experience in an MMO, you gear up or get tokens to potentially gear up. Either way they are fun to undertake and at only 30 mins (roughly) to complete they are nice things to dabble into from time to time. 

Defiance. Is it worth it?

Posted by Tsumoro Monday April 8 2013 at 11:36PM
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Welcome, 

 

This is essentially my little nugget of information about the game and my experiences about it really aimed towards people sitting on the fence on the game. Now, I should say I am not looking to convince you to play this game or not. That is 'your' choice, all I can do is talk about the game from my own perspective and my own enjoyment and if you like to get involved that is a choice only you can make. 

 

Do I think the game is worth the purchase?

This is subjective as I have no idea what kinda game you'll enjoy. But, I am a lover of RPG's, of MMO's and of FPS, TPS based games. Meaning I love games like Final Fantasy, Baldur's Gate, World of Warcraft, The Secret World, Bioshock Infinite, Borderlands 2, Mass Effect, Gears of War and Resident Evil. Those games are the first things that come to my mind when I think about all those genres. Not to say they are the best in their field, but when I scratch the old grey matter, they are the first games I immediately think of. 

Now the reasoin behind the listing is because I am trying to get you to identify to my 'tastes' so when I say 'I enjoy this game' you have some idea as to what kinda games I enjoy. Chances are, if you enjoy all the games I do, you might very much enjoy this one. 

 

The other aspect in any game purchase I find is 'value'. Does this game have 'value' behind it. I measure this in time, for everyones concept behind 'money' value is differen't. A man/woman earning 100k a year will have a differen't value behind it than say someone earning 20k a year. 

Now, the two last games I played (before this one) was Tomb Raider for the PS3 which cost me around £40 and lasted me around 10 hours of play. Now, I loved that game and I found it very enjoyable. The next was Biochock Infinite which I also enjoyed and lasted me around the same amount of time to which I bought for aroun £35 on the PC. 

Defiance has cost me £34 and I have invested over 20 hours into it thus far with a strong desire to keep playing. As value goes, that is good in my books. Others, might not agree but I would say that would be the crowd that either do not enjoy this type of game, or specifically had expectations of the game being more, or differen't than they initially expected. The same was for me when I first Mass Effect 1 on the Xbox 360 which I had only bought because it was a Bioware based game. I literally played 15 mins of that game and turned it off going 'This sucks!'. 

This was because my expectations of the game was differen't to how the actual game was. It was several months later until I picked it back up again being bored on a rainy day and after giving it a real chance I began to really love the game and it's world. 

What I am getting at is, if the game is not to your expectations, have a breather, come back to it and play the game as it was intended and you might find yourself better enriched because of it. 

 

In conclusion, I consider this game to be 'good' value as I measure it by how long I enjoy myself and considering I have played this game for a good length, longer than most AAA titles out there it would be wrong for me to say it isn't. 

 

Character Creation

 

There are two races to pick from, the humans and the immigrated aliens, both have simular appearences to them. Both of which have a male and female variation. I am going to be honest here, there isn't a vast system for character control. You can make a character to fit your needs, but there is very little variation or options to really set yourself apart from everyone else. 

It is quite dissapointing to be honest, considering this has an MMO element to it with vast amounts of players on the screen at one time especially during ARKS with very little difference between you all. There really is no labour of love for your characters out there. 

You also get to pick your 'class' at the character creation system but it makes no real difference in the long run considering you can use anything you wish to use and the tutorial allows you to pick your main focus. The only difference I have seen it make is the starting weapons you have at the outset, which I suppose I can kinda understand. 

Overall I feel massive improvements to the character creation system could be made and I believe there will be over time with the DLC based content that comes out as more playable races become available. 

 

Tutorial

All games kinda need them these days, especially when dealing with something new. Now, as I mentioned above you pick a class which changes your starting gear (appearence) as well as the weapons you start with. I received a sniper on one and a shotgun on another (plus a pistol). 

Although I think it's pointless it does make sense if you are a specific type of player. If you are a sniper at heart it makes sense to start you off there, if you are an LMG kinda person then you are equipped to play in that manner. 

Now the monsters in it are dumb as bricks, low aggro threat range and poor AI. Some people will get annoyed at the AI here, typically those from an FPS background. But, if you treat the monster here as the compairison of starting zones in MMORPGs you will have some tolerance for it. Essentially it's good as some new players to TPS or FPS do not feel overwhelmed by lots of thigns going off all at once and are given suitable breathers to take in the information being given. 

 

It is also through these starting missions you are given a 'focus' a starting ability which is either Overload (a damage buff which lasts a short period of time), Decoy which makes enemies attack the mirror image as you either whittle them down or make a swift get away, Cloak which is a stealth based tactic, good for combat and escaping and finally Blur which makes you a harder target to hit and also increases your melee damage. Not, that you'll do much melee in honest unless some of those fun melee toys you get your mits on later become perm weapon fixtures at later dates. 

Once you have received your focus you will earn points which can be used to unlock and upgrade perks on a skill tree to which you can equip to enhance your playstyle, but more on this later. 

 

The tutorial also has you meet the first NPC Cass, and brings you to the main base camp which after just a few short missions afterwards rewards you a vehicle for travelling the large map to get around. 

 

Negatives

 

During my very early beginnings of the game I encounter NO crashes what-so-ever. I experienced no lag, I experienced no interuptions. This was on the PC mind you, I understand those on the consoles have had a much rougher deal which I imagine that is in part of how the consoles serves are built and how information is gathered and relayed. I am not an expert, but there are constant daily updates on the main website that clue you in better. 

I have also experienced no texture popping (thank the lord as that always annoys me) but I have experienced some strange stuff which has been mainly graphical. 

- Corpses float (rare)

- Vehicles seem to change colour or sometimes wont 'start' meaning they simply do not drive. Meaning having to get out, re-summon a few times to get working. Oddly does not affect runners, mainly stuff like Dodges and other larger vehicles. 

- Minor clipping

- Some graphic bugs involving part members, such as showing them rolling off their vehciles when they are actually driving (rare)

- CHAT (common) the chat functions do not work as intended at this moment in time. It is, for the most part still early days and I have not found want or need to use it as everything group based, like dungeons are queued. Presently, for the people I have played with there is no 'real' economy yet established but I imagine when its working economy can start to grow which I imagine will be the major use of the chat function. 

- No clan based benefits other than having you represent that clans name below your own. Hopefully more features on these will change in time. 

 

User Interfaces (this is a negative but deserves its own section)

There are so many issues with this that it's not funny. Not that its 'broke' in any regards, its just not very user friendly and it could use some MASSIVE stream-lining. 

Now I understand that the concept behind this system was to help aid those on consoles as all three versions were released together. I can understand that. It also makes sense that it is far more cost effective to have one system across the board. I can only hope that they find a means to be able to customize it to benefit the old fashioned keyboard and mouse PC players such as myself. 

 

Now, if you are a semi-intelligent and attentive person you will see that the user interface DOES spell out everything you need to know. However, it is sometimes like looking at a puzzle working out where the pieces are you need and what they actually do. There is no guides in game that help demonstrate the options and their relevance and use to yourself. Such as the salvage system. 

Many people I believe will also get a bit thrown for a loop on the 'hold space bare' for the options wheel to be able to get the button to exit the game, or to get into some of the other options which others might think simply do not exist. 

It just seems to take a long time (far longer than needed) to get to the relevant areas that you need, should you know you need them or not and requires you having to select, un-select or even going back and forward between pages. It just feels so untidy and needs some greater love put behind it to make it feel more personal and organised. 

It should, in an ideal world be a means to help 'explain' things to you. Like, what do certain gun types mean, how does it play? What does it consider a Bloom to be? How does this benefit me? It does leave a lot to experimentation in trying to unwravel it's internal mysteries. 

 

I can only hope in the months to come it is re-evaluated to allow console and PC users the means to change things, to spend say 30 mins setting up the UI in the way you wish to use it and make it far more presentable and accessable. Something it just doesn't achieve presently. 

 

 

Well, it's getting late my end. Near 4am and I am dog tired which you most likely could tell by my writing. If anyone has anything specific to ask i'll try and answer the questions. If not, I shall continue tomorrow talking about...

Combat, Questing and Dungeons. 

 

Good night all!

Introductions...

Posted by Tsumoro Monday April 1 2013 at 3:37PM
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Introductions are always in order, especially when addressing a person, or persons whom I have never met before. It is just a matter of politeness and something I feel is often missed in current MMO's. I recall when I used to log into an MMO and I would be allowed to 'roleplay' a little bit with these new band of heroes I had just met, coming up with a fantastic back story and passed adventures I had undertook and this was something before the introduction of roleplay based servers. 

Perhaps, before we get too far ahead of my ramblings I will simply say that my name is Tsumoro and it is my pleasure in our meeting and I wish to share, i fnot just a little my experience with MMO's over the years and what has brought me to here today. 

 

A Foreword 

I created the name, the persona of Tsumoro near 15 years ago, at that time I was also at the loving age of 15 and my passion for RPG's took me to the next level of the internet with a quaint Korean themed game called "Nexus: Kingdom of the Winds". This is where I moved from the somewhat square confounds I had found myself in with the lonesome journies I undertook in roleplaying and became fully intergrated with this virtual community. 

 Nexus, was a game that was completely player driven. It was a game that had a great sense of community and player interactions. There were no auction houses, only those looking to barter and spend their time within the markets. 

All classes had sub-paths, the warriors had the Barbarians, the Do, the Chongun and the Chung Ryong. All of these paths except for the Chung Ryong were player run classes, with quests, missions and tasks handed out by guides. Who instructed you all the way from being an initiate to the very possibilities of you becoming a guide yourself, even the elder. 

I honestly cannot stress enough HOW player driven this game was and I loved every freaking moment of it. Alas of course everything has its time and with the growing amount of MMO's out there the people of Nexus and all that live within it remain it seems to a dedicated few. 

Myself, I left when World of Warcraft came on to the scene. A gift at the time by my girlfriend (whom later regretted it) to which I allowed to completely dominate my time. From simple questing all the way to 40 man led raids in Molten Core. 

It was a bit of an adjustment for me, to go from a game wheres peoples names and the very language they spoke where that of pure poetry or Dicken-esque in their pauper like mannerisms to a game where the only roleplay I seemed to get was from a dwarf on the tram who insisted I was the lady of his dreams and wanted to 'cyber' with me. The fact that I was indeed a man in reality did not deter this beared fellow, it merely spurred him on with greater fervor. 

Since then I would say my roleplaying lust has calmed down a bit, but my thirst for community and immersion to these worlds I am to be invested into continues and I have been, for the most part over the years seem to be disapointed on more than one occasion. So much so, that I have retreated backwards from the PC to the dusty tomes of DnD based Campaigns

 

What is this Blog about?

I have played a lot of MMO's in my time and I would say that I have dropped as many as I have played. Sometimes I don't feel like I have been very fair in my decisions, perhaps not giving the games their dues. But, that is what this blog will be for.

I plan to document my journies whilst re-visiting games I once dropped to see whether I do enjoy them or if I was right to leave. Now, I do plan to be fair with this and I shall play the games from the start all the way until the finish (the end game so to speak) even if I am simply not enjoying myself and bored out of my wits, at the very least, you'll see if documented here. 

 

Anyhow that is it for one post from me and I look forward to interacting with you all :)

 

Tsumoro

 

 

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