An MMO player and a console player entered a bar in the week following the launch of Defiance. This is the conversation that took place.
MMO Player: So Defiance, huh? Kind of like Borderlands but online. I like that. I've also been loving the tight gun play. Haven't seen anything like that since Planetside 2. What do you think?
Console Player: Number one, we call that Europe. I don't appreciate the slur. And here on planet side one we're talking video games. But you're right, Defiance is like Borderlands, if Gearbox stripped out all the humor and bright colors.
MMO Player: You're not a fan of it being massively online? When I played, I loved that I could go into a zone and other players could come in and help me, and then the game would scale the difficulty for us.
Console Player: MMO player, buddy, you're missing the point. Sometimes I wanna help dudes and other times I wanna kill dudes. When IKilUlol comes stealing my mobs, it's my god given right to bust a cap. And I can't unless I “PvP.”
MMO Player: Okay, fair enough, but we'll get to that. Let's talk about the world. I enjoyed that it was mysterious. When I landed and saw San Francisco Bay terraformed and inhabited by mutants, I wanted to know more. I was scouring a wiki just to get more story.
Console Player: Sorry, but Defiance's beginning story is just bad. They tell you nothing. Nothing. I spent the first two hours asking where I could find the bald guy, and who wants to do that? And I thought they said we were in San Francisco, but then I saw a lantern mushroom threw that theory out the window.
MMO Player: No wiki?
Console Player: If I have to look at a wiki to know what's going on, the developers are doing something wrong. I mean, right about when I entered Madera and said, “hey, I know that place!” the pieces started to come together. I was all like, “oooooh, terraforming!”
MMO Player: You know, I get that, but what did you think about the way the game handles? You're using a controller, so that UI is fit for you. With a keyboard and mouse, I struggled. Playing the game was fine but getting anywhere in the menus was terrible. I spent ten minutes figuring out how to abandon a quest.
Console Player: You can abandon quests? Anyways, I thought it was perfect. That radial menu worked great and they had VOIP for chat. UI, my friend, was the least issue.
MMO Player: Two words: Port job. And a poor one at that. I mean, this is the company that brought us RIFT. They should know better.
Console Player: Brought us what now?
MMO Player: RIFT. You know, that great fantasy MMO from a couple years ago?
Console Player: Oh, right. There was a poster for that behind Crysis 2 at Gamestop. Sexy box art. Almost bought it then said, “no, porn.”
MMO Player: Anyway, I even tried it with a controller. It worked well for everything but shooting. Now Console Player, I am somewhat of an aficionado with controller shooting, but Defiance's aiming was just terrible. The lock on is miniscule and the controls are floaty. I tried switching but eventually just gave up.
Console Player: You see, I don't have that problem. Would you like to know why? Someone once told me to “L2P.” I pass those words of knowledge on to you. Learn to play. Noob.
MMO Player: Let me ask you this: What did you think of the graphics?
Console Player: Beautiful! Maybe not the most sparkling wonderment I've seen, but certainly shiny!
MMO Player: Next gen hardware my ear! On the PC, Defiance isn't even close to cutting edge. It's not bad, but even the highest settings have poor draw distance and flaky textures. Some of the animations are downright terrible, too.
Console Player: Tell me about it! The running... it's like your character sat on a pinecone and it got stuck. Can I vent about missions for a minute? There are three kinds, main and episode, side missions, and challenges. The main missions aren't bad but damned if they don't lack a point. I mean, forever and a day to find this stupid ark core! Make another one already!
MMO Player: I don't think they can –
Console Player: And side missions! Has there ever been anything more repetitive? Go here, hold a button. Go there, shoot dudes, and hold a button. I'm down with the shooting dudes part but I'm like, “guys, I just held that button, when is my epic cutscene?”
MMO Player: And challenges are leaderboard fodder. Which can be fun. But now you're missing the point. In MMOs, quests go on for a long time. Sometimes they never end because they get you to future patches. And episode missions were actually pretty fun, what with their full voicing, interesting characters, and cool design. My initial favorite was the one outside of Madera where you clear the Hellbugs from the farmer's ranch.
Console Player: You live a sheltered life. I expect bombast! Not some cat-faced girl taking back the truck she just gave me or listening to some under-sexed scientist.
MMO Player: Fair enough. Let's talk group content. The game has lots of co-op missions which seem an awful lot like dungeons to me. I liked how you only need a couple people to begin but then players could jump in and jump out.
Console Player: Here we agree. I loved the co-op missions. There were cutscenes here and there and the game really wasn't afraid to challenge you. My groups helped each other a lot and I only had to yell at three noobs for failing at life. Great gear too.
MMO Player: How about PvP? I enjoyed it but the lack of variety was really disappointing.
Console Player: Right? I mean, two maps and a Shadow Wars that never popped? Not enough. Conceptually, Shadow Wars is great, with its huge battles and open objectives, but if no one signs up it's a bit pointless. When I finally got in, it was a blast. Balance is another issue. I'm reserving judgment until more people “level” up to see how things shake out. For now, shotguns and bunny hopping win the day.
MMO Player: It's getting late, so last topic. Arkfalls.
Console Player: That's the dynamic content, yes? I liked them well enough. Rock falls from the sky, waves of enemies come out, random guy rams into everything with his car. Good stuff. I loved how a boss was the finale and everyone would get ranked against each other. Numero Uno here was number one.
MMO Player: You don't say? I agree. They were fun and I liked how the game pointed them out on your map. Good chatting with you!
The MMO Player returned home to apply, then stop, all DoTs. The console player also returned home and cursed incessantly on Xbox Live.
Christopher Coke / Chris has been an MMO player since the days of MUDs. He's also a console player and may wind up a bald guy some day. Don't hate. Follow him on Twitter @gamebynight or his blog, Game By Night. Hear him on the MMORPG podcast, Game On: ESP Edition every week.
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