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 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??'.
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.