As stated in the first of our four part series, we’ll be giving you all some insight into Trion Worlds’ Defiance, the EGO skills available to players, and some basic beginning builds you might start the game with when it launches in April. This series will not only give you a basic background of each main skill, but will hopefully also reveal a bit more about how progression in Defiance is handled. Defiance is a classless game, and players are free to build their character however they want, with limitations only being how many skills and perks you can have active at any given time. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about how progression works in Defiance. Some of this will be rehashed from last week, so skip to the skill description if you’re familiar with Defiance.
Ark Hunter Progression
In Defiance, players assume the role of an Ark Hunter, essentially a gun for hire, bent on reclaiming alien Arks for fame, profit, and of course... more profit. For those that may not know, character development is not the same “pick a class and go” action you’re used to in many MMOs. Instead, Defiance uses a classless system that instead has you pick a main skill to use (and you can learn all four) and then flesh them out with perks as you progress through the game. At character creation you’ll pick an Origin, which gives you a basic starting look and a little character back-story, but you don’t pick a class. As a shooter, there aren’t really strict roles to fill. Everyone is going to be shooting something, in some fashion or another.
It’s important to note that once you start playing the game? You can change your build, create your own, and share with others as you go. It’s going to be up to you to choose your favorite EGO skill and what perks synergize best with your chosen weapons and gear. As you play the game, you don’t gain “levels” as you’d normally know them, though you will progress in terms of how many EGO skill points you have, and earn better gear as well. All of this contributes to your overall ranking, which begins at 10 and scales up as you dive into the content and earn perks and items.
Since each player can choose whatever progression path in the game’s EGO (skill) tree they like (there are four beginning skills to pick from at launch), they’ll eventually wind up spreading points across the board as they play through the game world. EGO Skills have about a 30 second recharge rate, but this can be shortened by picking appropriate perks in the skill tree as well.
This week, we’ll focus on the thinking player’s skill: Decoy. It’s for the tricksy of you out there, those who prefer to fool their opponents, and take them out when they’re not paying attention.
EGO Skill: Decoy
Decoy’s one of the game’s more interesting utility skills. There are only four main skills, so you’d hope that they were all unique, but Cloak and Blur may be self-explanatory (we’ll cover them later). Decoy literally sends out a mirror image of you to distract enemies, drawing their fire. It’s a defensive sort of skill and one of the best ones to use early on in the game because of this (especially if you like to roll solo). On top of that wonderful distracting functionality, you can also press the EGO skill button again to automatically teleport to where your decoy is standing. If you send him running out to a wall, and then go running all over the map, you can port back to that cover with the push of a button if you do so before the timer runs out on the decoy. He only has so much health though, and your enemies weedle that down pretty quickly in a tense fight.
Perks are the “supplemental fiber” to an Ark Hunter’s diet. Your EGO skills determine what you literally do on the battlefield, but Perks serve to make what you do more extraordinary. As you gain experience in the world, you’ll unlock points to spend across the EGO tree. There are synergies and it’ll behoove you to eventually unlock all four main EGO skills so you can mix and match perks across the tree. Here are some sample perks that are unlocked when you choose Decoy as your main EGO skill.
Feedback: This perk is a handy one, for those who are always ducking in and out of cover. When your shield fully recharges, for a few seconds it’ll reflect 10% or more of the damage you receive back at your attacker. Find some cover, let the shield recharge, and pop back out to freely go after your foes.
Rear Guard: This is precisely as it sounds. With this perk purchased and equipped, your Ark Hunter will take far less damage from behind, which really does come in handy for survival. Increased ranks further reduce the damage taken. I highly suggest this perk to everyone, even those who might not be keen on Decoy itself. You’d just have to spend one point to unlock Decoy, and then another to get Rear Guard.
Self-Medicated: This is yet another survival-based perk, as are a lot of the early ones up around Decoy in the EGO tree. Equipping it means your self-revive recharges much faster than without. If you are downed in the field, you’ll have a limited amount of time to be revived by others before having to respawn. Or, if it’s cooled down, you can self-revive once every few minutes. This perk and its subsequent ranks mean you can do so far more often than other folks. Worth the points if you die a lot!
These are just three of the early perks, and as you can see in the screens above, there are dozens to unlock and add to your character. You can only slot so many at one time, and only one EGO skill at a time to boot, but the mixing and matching if each is going to be where the fun happens. Next week, we’ll take a look at Cloak, which turns you into a Klingon Warship... well, sort of.
What do you think of Decoy? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.
Bill Murphy / Bill Murphy is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.